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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Follow Up - Big Ag _We Need Protections Not Republican Stonewalling.

There was a lot of interest in yesterday's story about the USDA and Antibiotic use in our foods and Republican efforts to stonewall any legitimate discussion of its dangers.

One commentator said:
This is no different then the mess BP got us all into because of cutting corners to save money. These greedy corporations always put profit over public safety. Super Market chains don't want to spend the extra money to buy drug free beef and poultry. They don't give a shit about the stupid consumers they profit off of.

Big Ag is a story which I have been following sometime and shows why we need a strong federal policy to protect the consumer - not Republican efforts to protect Big Ag.  Don't believe me?

Check out some of my earlier stories.  In a story about the safety of our Meat I discussed:

In the focus on E. coli and salmonella, meat contaminated by heavy metals, veterinary drugs and pesticides has been slipping through the bureaucratic cracks.
With all of the reports regarding E. coli and salmonella and now this, is it really save to buy or eat ground meat which you don't personally have ground by a butcher?
The routes by which veterinary drugs make it into human food trace a disturbing portrait of how large dairy farms operate. Sick dairy cows are given medications to help them recover, but if it appears an animal will die, it's often sold to a slaughterhouse as quickly as possible, in time to kill it before it dies. That way, "[the dairy farmer] can recoup some of his investment in the animal," according to the report.
In such cases, medications may be consumed along with the meat. Such drugs include Ivermectin (which can act as a neurotoxin in humans), Flunixin (which can damage kidneys), and penicillin (which can cause life-threatening allergic reactions in some people).
The meat from sick dairy cattle is low-grade, and is usually turned into burger and sold to the sorts of buyers who stretch their dollars furthest, like fast food chains and school lunch programs. But veterinary drugs are also finding their way into an upper echelon of meat: veal.
The milk produced by medicated dairy cows is barred from sale to human consumers -- a sensible rule, given the dangers suggested above. Unfortunately, no law prevents this "waste milk" from being fed to veal calves, the meat of which sometimes tests positive for these drugs. As with sick dairy cow meat that tests positive for antibiotics, no measures are taken to recall such veal or penalize the slaughterhouses that produce it. One slaughterhouse, according to the report, amassed 211 violations in 2008 and was still considered by FSIS as a place where contamination "is not reasonably likely to occur."

And in an earlier story about E. coli:

Stephanie Smith, 23, of Cold Spring became ill in 2007 after eating a patty produced by Cargill Meat Solutions Corp., a Wichita, Kans.-based unit of Minnetonka-based Cargill Inc. Her E. coli infection led to kidney failure. She went into seizures and was kept in a medically induced coma for three months.
Stephanie was 23.  Cargill is a massive Ag conglomerate.  Who is protecting Stephanie?  Certainly not Representative John Shimkus (R-IL 19).

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