Friday, April 11, 2008

Beef! What's it having for dinner?

This is why you should limit your online time. I started out reading an email asking me for a favor (completely unrelated to food in any way). And the next thing you know, I'm clicking in to this story. The video is by the subject of the article. I've disjointedly quoted the articl below:

The early 20th Century was, in retrospect, a golden era for food-production animals. Cows grazed on grass, traipsing the bucolic pastures of family-owned farms. Chickens strutted about the barnyard, pecking contentedly at their mostly corn-based meals (the lucky clucker might occasionally happen upon a worm). The arrival of factory farming in the Twenties increased production, widened availability, and reduced the price of fowl. It also represented the beginning of the end for family ranching.

When fast foods arrived in the early Sixties, the clamor for beef and poultry spiked, and so did demand. Industrial facilities with highly automated production methods were required to meet these new needs.

Enormous feedlots needed massive quantities of high-protein rations that could fatten and speed growth at the lowest possible cost. Expansive slaughterhouses had to find an inexpensive way to dispose of waste.

Mitchell found an FDA registration form listing 26 categories of feeds — including one for "Recycled Animal Waste Products" — and sought information about the companies producing it, "assuming it would be public information — or obtainable by a Freedom of Information Act request." He was astonished when Shannon Jordre, a liaison between the FDA and the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), told him the agency would not release this data because "it had been classified as a homeland security issue."

Real stuff like a 1984 "manual" put out by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations called Feed from Animal Wastes, which details precisely how to process manure into dinner for farm animals. "This is the actual recipe book," beams Mitchell, holding aloft the 214-page publication as if it were the Holy Grail. "Martha Stewart gone mad."

It is indeed Martha-esque, the way just a few simple ingredients can be turned into 171 nifty serving ideas. Surprise your bovines with a scrumptious tropical blend of chicken feces and pineapple cannery run-off! Gastronomic flourishes notwithstanding, the cookbook concedes,"Animal wastes may not be equal in all ways to the feeds they replace."

What we don't know can hurt us. The USDA calculates that during summer months, up to 50 percent of feedlot cattle carry E. coli, which translates to an average plant processing 150 to 200 infected cows every hour (though not all are strains of O157:H7, which is the killer).

Ironically it is because of the BSE (Mad Cow) scare that fecal matter is being used more to feed animals. Public fears about the disease the same year prodded the FDA to ban many of the meat industry's previous bargain breakfasts — like brain tissue, spinal cords, and euthanized cats and dogs, millions of which were annually purchased from shelters to be ground into feed.

Things work in a cycle: The use of antibiotics in food-production animals speeds up development of drug-resistant bacteria in humans. So antibiotics used on people, aimed at curing illnesses caused by eating contaminated meat, become ineffective because of antibiotics used on animals to prevent them from becoming contaminated.

Now if you havent had lunch yet, read the whole article(or maybe you should read before lunch).

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Missouri House Passes Legislation to Crack Down on Illegal Immigration

This from a State House press release:

Jefferson City, MO- The Missouri House gave final approval this week to an omnibus anti-illegal immigration bill that would help stem the tide of illegal immigrants coming into the state. Rep. Bob Onder, R-Lake St. Louis, who serves as Vice Chair of the Immigration Committee, was the lead sponsor of the legislation (HB 1549, 1771, 1395 & 2366) that combines several bills originally sponsored by Reps. Gary Dusenberg, R-Blue Springs; Kenny Jones, R-California; and Mark Parkinson, R-St. Charles.

"It's fair to say one of our top priorities this session is creating effective policies and tools to help our state deal with the overwhelming number of illegal immigrants within our borders," said Rep. Onder. "The legislation we approved will provide law enforcement with the tools and training necessary to effectively combat this problem and also makes it clear Missouri will not tolerate turning a blind eye to the activities of unlawful aliens. We've sent a strong message with the passage of the legislation and I am confident our colleagues in the Senate will move quickly to approve it as well."

One provision of the legislation that was originally sponsored by Rep. Dusenberg would outlaw "sanctuary cities" that follow practices that protect illegal immigrants. Specifically, it prohibits local governments from adopting policies limiting the ability of local officials to communicate with the federal government about potential immigration violations.

"There are many cities in this nation that have adopted a policy that does not comply with federal immigration law and they in effect have become safe havens for illegal immigrants," said Rep. Dusenberg. "With our bill we are making it clear that no city in Missouri will become a sanctuary city and we will not accept policies that allow illegal activities to go unchecked."

Other provisions of the bill would provide new tools and training for law enforcement officers to combat illegal immigration. One originally sponsored by Rep. Onder would allow the Superintendent of the State Highway Patrol to designate some members of the patrol to be trained in enforcing federal immigration laws. Another that was originally sponsored by Rep. Kenny Jones would require law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of any person incarcerated for a crime.

"Last year the governor directed the Missouri Highway Patrol to begin checking the immigration status of those they arrest and since that time they have turned over more than 150 illegal immigrants to federal authorities," said Rep. Jones "This policy is proven to be effective in combating the problem of illegal immigration and enacting it into law is the right thing to do."

"While we ask our troopers to take on this task of stemming the tide of illegal immigrants it's also important we give them the training they need to be effective," Rep. Onder said. "We have only 48 Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officials in this state and they simply cannot cover all areas of the state. By training our own law enforcement officials we give them some much-needed assistance in dealing with problems associated with illegal immigration."

The bill takes an additional step to combat the problem of illegal immigration by creating penalties for anyone who assists an illegal alien in obtaining a driver's license. Individuals who assist an illegal alien in obtaining a license would be guilty of a class A misdemeanor.

"The right to obtain a driver's license is reserved for legal residents of our state and we will not allow individuals who circumvent the law to go unpunished," said Rep. Mark Parkinson, who sponsored the original bill containing the penalty provision. "We must take every step to protect the process of obtaining a driver's license and not allow those who are here illegally to access a privilege reserved only for citizens of this nation."

Also, the legislation would require the commercial driver's license written test to only be given in English and would prohibit translators from being allowed for applicants who take the test.

House Bill 1549 now moves to the Senate for consideration.