Monday, February 18, 2008

143 Million Pounds of Beef Recalled

So, do your children ever eat school lunches? How about school lunches that contain beef? Or maybe your family has eaten a hamburger from a fast food joint? Well, if you answered yes to any of those questions then you or your children have been eating beef that has been recalled by the USDA!

I had read various accounts of animal mistreatment and other problems at the Westland/Hallmark Beef Co. in California, but last night the USDA recall of 143 million pounds of beef was as a front page headline on the Fox News website. You can click here to read the entire article and watch a video clip of the news report.

This news is pretty chilling in and of itself, but do you want to hear something even worse. According to the news report the recall includes beef going back to 2006! I don't know about you, but I don't think a recall for beef that is possibly two years old will do much good ... of course knowing this industry maybe it is still in the food chain (I hope not).

Watch the video clip linked in the article if you can. But, if you connection is too slow then I'll just let you in on what may be the most telling quote from the interview with their "health expert". She says,

"there are multiple safeguards in place to secure the safety of our food in this country. Which is obviously a good thing. And one of those safety mechanisms pertains to cattle that have become, what, as Greg and you just mentioned before the break, non-ambulatory just prior to them undergoing slaughter. Now if that occurs, and sometimes it doesn't occur because of something ominous like mad cow disease, sometimes it occurs because they break a leg or injury a tendon. It is, the are mandated to have a federal vetrinarian examine those animals. What was found was that in this location, cows were becoming non-ambulatory, they failed to undergo the proper veterinary inspection and examination and so the plant was shut down. Now it needs to be emphasized while of course we fear something like mad cow disease, the official name of which as known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, may be entering our food supply, there is no evidence that any of the meat from those downer cattle, their referred to, has entered in our food supply. But of course this is a very aggressive cautionary measure."

Wow, I'm trying to figure out if that lady works for the USDA or the meat company... Allow me just a few seconds to break this down. First of all, I like how she says these safeguards are good things. Yep, they are such good things that they didn't work for two years! If the consumers (whether they be individuals or institutions) had been around that processing plant there is no way they would have been in business, because nobody would have wanted that meat after seeing that place. Joel Salatin says it, and so do many others, "the consumer is the best regulation".

Secondly, why does it take two years to figure out that a federal law about inspection is not being followed? I'm not even sure if I want to answer that question because I know that it would just sadden me. But, suffice to say that no matter how "good" the laws are we can never count on the government to protect us from food. Our eyes and our ears need to be the protection. We need to have relationships with the producers of the stuff that we count on for energy, health, and life!

And finally, since when is it no big deal when a cow is suffering through a broken leg or torn tendons? I am not and will never be a person that places the value of an animal above human life, but I do know that we are called to be good stewards of what God has given us. That is not good stewardship!

I could go on and on with this one, but I said I would take just a few moments. Make sure you read the article and watch the video if you can. Let me know what you think of this recall and what it says about agriculture in the U.S. in general...

7 comments:

Steven said...

This morning a 5 am I was watching the news with my wife and baby (she was wide awake) and saw this story. I was like "Look look, it's the video that Natures Harmony Farm had". That place was common knowledge online but if it wasn't recalled it would have never been on the news.

Ethan Book said...

Steven - Yes common knowledge on the internet ... among people that are already looking for this kind of stuff. But, I doubt it was common knowledge among most of the consumers that were eating the meat.

You are so right, if it hadn't been recalled it wouldn't be news at all. If I was going to be a glass half-empty kind of guy I would say stories like this do no good because they have been seen time and time before. But, I will be an optimist and say that I think this can be a step towards educating the consumers.

Bradley Barnyard Beginnings said...

We have never really placed a high value on school lunches. We never saw them as healthy choices ourselves. I can honestly say I am glad that we are not eligible for free lunches in our countries school system.
Ethan, you are completely right about stewardship. It's scary the stuff you see anymore. I agree with your opinion, on knowing for yourself where your food is coming from. Buy from your local farmers:) You can hopefully trust in there workmanship alot more then our Goverments.

Christy said...

This is why I don't eat any meat from the grocery store. I get all my meat from a local farm that I have visited many times.

John Collis said...

This is just the latest of many recalls of beef in the US. If you Google "beef recall", you will find a history over the last few year of the USDA failing the American public.

That is why three years ago I started buying meat directly from a local rancher and now I'm raising my own pork, chickens, and eggs for our family table.

Ethan Book said...

Thanks everyone for the comments. It does my heart good to hear of people who have decided to take their food choices into their own hands and let their eyes and taste buds be the regulations!

Keep supporting those quality (key word here) local farmers!

Twinville said...

Another serious reason to consider purchasing your meat only from local farms you are familiar with...

This video is shocking.
http://youtube.com/watch?v=Nmkj5gq1cQU

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