Saturday, October 12


CNN brings us the truism that Bad fish can make you sick. Bad fish! Bad! The Wall Street Journal puts it more soberly, as 'Healthy' Seafood Can Still Pose a Serious Illness Threat. Both of them (rightly) mock the notion of fish as a safe and healthy alternative to beef, exposing the prevalance of listeria and other foodborne diseases in a lot of different, popular types of fish. And Korea reports that 20% of fish imports (especially from China, Norway and India) are contaminated with food-poisoning bacteria. What all this misses, though, is that whether or not you heat something to 160 degrees, there's disproportionate amounts of dioxin and other deadly chemicals building up in the fatty tissue of all wild fish.


In this story on voluntary meat labeling taking effect, there's a great quote illustrating the animal food industry's priorities. Says one rancher: "Job one is to sell more beef for a better price." OK - and ensuring that your customers don't DIE from consuming your product is job what - six?


Now this is getting scary: AGAIN on a Friday afternoon, an announcement about this case - Pilgrim's Pride is poised to expand their 300,000-pound recall to... an undisclosed amount. Why undisclosed? Because they're still discussing with the USDA what it should be. A decision is expected - all together now - "late on Friday or early Saturday." So... why put out the story...late on Friday...that this is about to happen? Mysteriouser and mysteriouser...

Friday, October 11


This is so perfect it seems made up, but... Zookeepers in Germany have allegedly been suspended and are under police investigation for eating some of the zoo's animals - chickens and sheep. But wait - here's the kicker - they were animals featured in a petting zoo frequented by little kids! Awwwwww. "Mommy, where did Mister Wooly go today?"

But come on - it's not like this is a complete surprise.

Thursday, October 10


"The National Park Service abruptly announced it will phase out pheasant hunting at the Cape Cod National Seashore after animal welfare groups asked a federal judge to stop the hunt." This ridiculous custom dates back a full 60 years, involving the stocking of a beach area with non-native birds and calling in a couple dozen hunters with dogs to rampage around shootin' at stuff and hoping not to hit Cape Cod residents. So what is the Park Service going to replace this with? Quail hunts. Or so they think now.


It's still not a ConAgra-sized fiasco, but the Cargill ("Emmpak") recall has been expanded again by about 600,000 pounds, bringing the amount to 3.3 million pounds of E.coli-infected beef so far. On the off-chance that you get a bite or so without any fecal contamination, be aware that scientists with US National Cancer Research are now undertaking to determine whether growth hormones in regular beef contribute to breast cancer. Gee... ya think?

Wednesday, October 9


On the day that Italy celebrates its lucky 75th case of Mad Cow Disease comes news that twice as many British cows actually had BSE as were originally found in testing, because the tests missed half of the actual "mad" cows. How encouraging. And again, if you're going to switch to chicken, make sure it doesn't have any BSE-infected beef proteins on it.


This is bizarre. Early this afternoon, the USDA releases the information that a recall is coming "in relation to" the Northeastern listeria outbreak, but they're not going to tell us who the company is. Why not? I dunno. Maybe so they can sell that last little bit of contaminated meat first? OK, so that's odd. But then later in the afternoon, the recall is issued, for 150 tons of deli turkey from Pilgrim's Pride, and the USDA says this listeria-infected meat is "not related to" the big listeria outbreak! Note that careful wording: The recall was issued in relation to the outbreak, but is not related to the outbreak. That's because the USDA only noticed this contamination while looking for the real culprit, who's apparently still at large. Wacky, huh? And to think that while ConAgra stands to lose 50 million dollars from this summer's big adventure, the USDA - the agency that's supposed to protect us from self-serving profiteers - has yet to be punished in any way.


Well, not really, but the way things keep breaking against them, even I'm starting to feel sorry for the junk-food cartel. In addition to its stock woes - shares closed down under $17 today, but then, it was a record low for the market in general - McDonald's is now the target of an Oct 16 worldwide boycott over labor rights. Save the date!

Monday, October 7


Once again, major news about contaminated meat was relased late on Friday afternoon. Boy, that sure does make ya wonder... Anyway, that mysterious listeria outbreak from (the Friday before) Labor Day? The one that's killed seven people so far? Sliced deli turkey is the probable cause. They won't yet say from where... but don't worry, we're all in safe hands now, because USDA Food Safety Undersecretary Elsa Murano is declaring WAR on foodborne illness!...again. Kind of like that war on terrorism, er, I mean, Iraq. As long as we keep declaring war, something good's bound to happen.

In related news, around these parts it may interest you to know that Super Fresh is one of the stores that was selling Cargill beef from that mondo 2.8-million pound recall. And further afield, At least it's not just us: Over a hundred people in England have contracted the same form of salmonella. Gosh, you don't think it might be relevant that they found salmonella in 1/3 of all European spiced meats, do you?