Monday, January 19, 2009

Meating Out Illness

There are a whole host of reasons why I decided to become a vegetarian over two decades ago. One of the principle reasons is that I read numerous sources that wrote of the lack health and safety standards of the US meat industry. It would seem we haven't made that much progress since Upton Sinclair wrote "The Jungle" back in 1906.

But being a non-meat eater these days doesn't seem to be protection enough! Despite the fact that I eschew all meat, meat products and meat byproducts, I'm still subject to be on the lookout Salmonella outbreaks!

This is very galling because, according to the USDA's Food & Safety Inspection Service,
Salmonella is a gram-negative, rod-shaped bacilli that can cause diarrheal illness in humans. They are microscopic living creatures that pass from the feces of people or animals to other people or other animals...The bacteria live in the intestinal tracts of infected animals and humans.
As can be easily discerned from the above information, vegetables, fruit and grains -- in their natural state -- do not harbor this dangerous bacteria. The way these foods become contaminated is by coming into contact with animal feces (dung).

Of course, the most obvious question is: Why would things like peanuts, spinach and bean sprouts (all subject to salmonella outbreaks in the past 3 years) come in contact with animal feces? Answer: Improperly treated manure or lax health practices which led to cross-contamination.

You see, the profit motive causes many farmers and companies to need to hold down costs and this tends to mean that they cut corners. One of the popular corners to cut is in the area of safety and monitoring. Add to this the fact that meat industry PACs contribute a lot of money to candidates and elected officials and it's no wonder our meat safety and monitoring standards are so deficient!

So, even though I'm a devout vegetarian, I continue to be held an unwilling hostage by the meat and meatpacking industries. (And, to say the least, I'm not very happy about this at all!)


  1. Or contaminated groundwater, which is my guess.

    Probably peanut farms downstream from the god awful Tyson.

  2. No, not animal feces. Human feces!

    In the case of spinach contamination at least, the contimination is from migrant workers who shit in the fields because they're not allowed to take a break long enough to get to the portable toilet.

  3. YUK!! Neither addendum makes me feel any better.

  4. Life doesn't make us feel better. We are responsible for our own feelings.

    If we encounter something in life we don't like, we are free to do something about it. Or not.


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