Saturday, August 24


Those dangerous tomatoes seem to also have managed to
infect 358 tons of beef with E. Coli, which was distributed nationwide. Another ConAgra-sized storm in the making, or something we'll all laugh off as we get ready to go back to school? You decide.


OK, the fact that Disney, which is a societal poison of its own, is entertaining in this, but I'm getting tired of patently inaccurate statements like this: "The outbreak source was prepackaged, diced Roma tomatoes served at six Disney World restaurants..."
Uh, no. You see, for tomatoes to be the SOURCE of salmonella, tomatoes would have to produce FECES, which is where salmonella comes from. Tomatoes were probably the VEHICLE for this outbreak, but the SOURCE was feces, most probably chicken feces. But that will come out in a shorter, played-down story later. Why do we have to be so Mickey-Mouse about something as dangerous as food poisoning?

Friday, August 23


I guess the USDA really is studying Meat Facts. A day after I posited that beef could be on its last legs if free-market Republicans didn't step in and bail it out, whaddaya know? That's just what they did, buying up 3 million pounds of it to force on kids in public school lunch programs. In just the past two months, $50 million of your tax money has gone to bail out beef. Good thing it's always "on sale" at the supermarket - whatta bargain, eh?

Thursday, August 22


In my posts about water and the difference in amount required for plant/animal food, I have erred on the conservative side, calling the difference only "a fraction," or a difference of "ten to a hundred times" when I know it's actually very solidly 100 times. That said, I'm almost positive this is a typo. If not, somebody's gotta whole lotta splainin to do. In a Japanese study of agricultural water needs, "Beef required 100,000 times more liquid than grains, pork 11,000 times and chicken 4,900 times." Lucy?


The band Green Beings has a song "Plants Don't Run," about the difference between the morality of eating plants and of eating animals. But as terrific as that song is, if I do say so myself, it misses another big, important difference: Plants don't bite you and kill you while you're trying to eat them. Food for thought.

Wednesday, August 21


Taking off from the phenomenal arrogance of ConAgra and its animal-slaughtering ilk, the hometown paper has finally asked - and answered - the question that was already answered when PCRM won their conflict-of-interest lawsuit against the USDA. The question is, Is USDA too close to meat industry? Please note that along with the extreme concerns of "fringe" groups like CSPI and GAO, former USDA employees also admit it: The main purpose of the USDA is to do the bidding of the meat industry. Got it?


While Meat Facts was on vacation, the Denver Post continued to follow the ConAgra recall situation. Since the national press has essentially dropped the story, you may not have heard that in addition to 47 documented illnesses, a woman in Ohio has died from the E.Coli in that batch of beef. Meanwhile, a former ConAgra employee is suing the company for fraud - charging that they intentionally altered records - and episodes from its history are coming to light, such as the time it resold listeria-tainted meat in the U.S. after it had been rejected by South Korea, and of course didn't bother to mention the contamination. A pattern of arrogance, a pattern of abuse.

Tuesday, August 20


"[We're doing things] that are not ethical," Batha says. "You can't dwell on that, because you'll get depressed."
"You have to close your mind to it."
These are quotes from an article on killing deer (without - gasp! - eating them, which would make it ethical, dontchaknow), but they illustrate the central problem with modern meat eating: We don't want to tthink about what we're doing. We do close our mind to it, and avoid any information about what happened to our meat before it reached our plate. That's why the widespread fraud, corruption and life-threatening sloppiness of this industry is so prevalent: because we don't want to watch. Then who should be watching? If your answer is the USDA, bear in mind that "The USDA, which some of us naively thought was there to protect consumers, really exists to promote the sale of U.S. farm products." Or so, at least, claim those wild-eyed anarchists at The Washington Post.


I'm just asking because Food Market Exchange reports that retail beef prices will stay high through at least the next year, due to flagging exports. High retail prices usually reduce demand, which could lead to a vicious cycle attacking this vicious product. That is, unless all those free-market Republicans in the current administration find yet another way to make us taxpayers bail out this repulsive industry. Hey, it's happened before - and it's happening right now! Still, this may someday be seen as the tipping point, the point of no return for an archaic foodstuff.


Why keep picking on California (below)? There's plenty of water woes to go around. The AP reports that wells all over Nebraska are drying up, and "The situation is forcing farmers and city-dwellers to compete over every drop of groundwater." Huh. You know, it's a funny coincidence, but... what's Nebraska's top export? Yes, it's "live animals and red meats" -- to the tune of $1.0 billion. Keeping in mind that animal-based food takes ten to a hundred times as much water to produce as plant-based food, please also note that four of the state's top five exports are expressly dedicated to the raising of livestock. Nebraska, in fact, has the second largest cattle industry in America. And as our country infects the rest of the planet with wasteful and waste-filled agricultural practices, it's no wonder that 76 million people - mostly children - are projected to die from water-related diseases by the year 2020. I guess by then we'll have perfect hindsight.