GIVE 'EM HELL GARRY
FSIS chief Garry McKee blasted USDA inspectors for persistent problems in meat safety in a "blistering speech" last month. One of his criticisms was for turning a blind eye to "unsafe and cruel practices at the nation's meat processing plants" including violations of the Humane Slaughter Act. "Over the past few years," the USA Today article notes, "there have been revelations about USDA inspectors doing nothing while pathogens such as E. coli and listeria were found in meat plants." The speech makes it clear that the institutional problem of the USDA being too cozy with the meat industry is widespread and ongoing.
More significantly, McKee took issue with a standard piece of meat-recall boilerplate: The USDA's lack of authority to shut down plants. "I am tired of reading articles quoting our inspectors as saying we don't have the authority to take action against a plant that is patently violating ... our statutes. Everyone in this room knows we have the authority," McKee said.
That's not all. He admitted that even were HACCP to work, a number of plants simply ignore the testing system. "We know that there are some plants out there that take a minimalist or cut-and-paste approach to HACCP, tossing aside their plans to collect dust on a shelf. The time for ignorance and excuses is over. Plants must have a living, vibrant HACCP plan in place that works and is validated. We can not tolerate facilities that do NOT even recognize that the risk of pathogens exists." Well, no. That is kind of crucial.
Especially since it's those pathogens that lead to still more massive recalls, such as this latest one I'll warrant you never heard about, involving 90,000 pounds - or 45 tons - of beef likely contaminated with E. coli. So, maybe it's time for inspectors to, you know, kick some ass?
Friday, November 14
GIVE 'EM HELL GARRY
Thursday, November 13
WHAT SHOULD WE NOT EAT?
Boy, that's an easy one: Bats. More specifically, flying foxes, bats with a wingspan of up to four feet. Consumption of these critters is linked to the exceptionally high rate of a form of Parkinson's disease on Guam, a new study confirms. Note that the toxin involved comes from a plant, cyad seeds, which are routinely used in tortillas in Guam. But the bats eat the seeds, and eating the bats concentrates the otherwise harmless neurotoxin into deadly doses. My emphasis, because it seems hard for so many people to grasp this simple equation.
Posted by soyjoy at 9:53 PM
Wednesday, November 12
SO, WHAT SHOULD WE EAT?
Major media outlets like to throw their hands up at this "unsolvable" question or snidely answer "less." But that's BS: There's a kind of food you can eat and eat and eat and eat until you can't move, and it will only help you. It's FRUITS AND VEGETABLES. That's why the World Health Organization just launched a global campaign"to boost the consumption of fruit and vegetables to save lives." Reuters continues:"WHO estimates show that low consumption of fruit and vegetables is responsible for 31 percent of heart disease, at least 19 percent of gastrointestinal cancer and 11 percent of strokes." Fruits especially, whether for their stroke-fighting or cancer-fighting (and more cancer-fighting) aspects, are something we literally cannot get enough of.
Posted by soyjoy at 5:24 PM
Tuesday, November 11
DRUG DEALERS SUE OVER LOST JOBS
Oh wait, it's not drug dealers, but others suing over not being able to make money off of something illegal - in this case canned hunts in Montana. "Ken and Becky Mesaros are the seventh Montana game farm operators to sue over Initiative 143, which voters approved in 2000. Mesaros said the prohibitions in I-143 have ruined most of the moneymaking aspects of his family's elk ranch, which included fee hunting." Awwwwww. Who cares that canned hunting is a proven player in the ongoing spread of CWD? Who cares that it's such a lame display of macho insecurity that even regular hunters oppose it? Who cares what the voters have decided? I want my damn murder-money!
Posted by soyjoy at 5:14 PM
Monday, November 10
CJD: IT'S NOT JUST FOR BRAINS ANYMORE
Killer CJD proteins have now been found outside the brain. Dr. Adriano Aguzzi, a professor of pathology at the University of Zurich, says "The bad news is that widespread presence of pathological prions in tissues of patients other than brain and spinal cord means that we might have to be even more careful than we used to be." Well, yeah. Um, and what about these same "pathological prions" in cattle, and those zones that we thought were safe because they weren't brains or spinal tissue? Is anyone looking into that? What with our own soldiers dying of Mad Cow Disease (and getting dishonorably discharged for their trouble), you'd think someone would might bring this up, if only as a thought experiment.
UPDATE 11/10: Army freezes pay of dying Green Beret
Posted by soyjoy at 10:47 PM