Friday, January 9


I almost never link to Yahoo, because their stuff only stays at a given address for a few days, but what the hell is this? Teamsters Call on Federal Agencies to Ban 'Mad Cow Milk' - "Teamsters' Dairy Conference Director Fred Gegare yesterday petitioned the U.S. Secretaries of Agriculture and Health & Human Services to immediately ban the distribution of milk associated with BSE outbreak in the Pacific Northwest." Yes, it's just a press release - from the Teamsters! I dunno - there's got to be more to the story than the fact that the UK banned milk from Mad Cows when they had their outbreak. Anybody? Anybody?


OK, the first name of the author of this article might make you wonder, but in Australia, a dietician and researcher has determined, after analyzing more than 100 studies worldwide, that low-carb diets "push the body into starvation mode, affecting the way the heart beats." In addition to a troubling number of sudden deaths of people on low-carb diets, "Dr Crowe's analysis found there was little benefit from going on the Atkins or any other strict low- carbohydrate diet. 'There are no major advantages and there are quite a few disadvantages that we know such as constipation, dehydration and so the list goes on with possible longer term side effects and risks,' he said."

Thursday, January 8


That's right, once again a warning about another kind of fish that was previously deemed safe. Researchers today said that farmed salmon is loaded with toxic chemicals, ten times as much as wild salmon. We're talking dioxin, we're talking PCBs. Deadly stuff, and especially vexing considering that farmed salmon is a lousy source of Omega-3s. "Farmed salmon taken from markets in Frankfurt, Edinburgh, Paris, London, Oslo, Boston, San Francisco, and Toronto had the highest levels, and the researchers said consumers should eat no more than one-half to one meal (4 to 8 ounces, uncooked) of salmon per month. Farmed salmon from supermarkets in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Seattle, Chicago, New York and Vancouver had toxins high enough to suggest that people eat no more than two salmon meals a month." So on average, the lowdown: Don't eat salmon more than once a month.


Gosh, it's funny how schools are either reassuring us that their meat never came 'downer' cows or removing beef entirely from their menus, since there was "no risk" from that "one single cow" eaten by U.S. consumers. In Colorado, Jefferson County schools are banning beef, as are elementary and middle schools in Aspen. The administrator in charge of the latter decision said, "I know the government says beef is safe, but I don't believe the government has much credibility right now." Additionally, in Washington state, the superintendent of the Toppenish School District pulled beef from his schools' menus. But of course the fast-food-based meals many of these schools still serve are far from being "no-risk" as well.

Wednesday, January 7


That's an alarmist question, almost cartoonish in its outrageous implications. Yet it's one that is now being raised with increasing candor and authority. ABC news put it as gently as possible: Some Experts Say Scientists Should Be Pressing to Make Sure Beef Isn't Causing Mad Cow in Humans (lede: "Scientists have yet to document a single U.S. case of someone getting the human version of mad cow disease from contaminated beef. Then again, they might not be looking hard enough") and mentioned some anecdotal evidence about a cluster of sporadic CJD in New Jersey. Then the Inquirer covered that case in a little more detail, as a "local link" story. But the New Jersey "anecdotal evidence" is only mentioned offhand in this meticulously documented broadside from the indefatiguable Dr. Michael Greger. In "Could Mad Cow Disease Already be Killing Thousands of Americans Every Year?" Greger lays out the reasons we cannot possibly answer "no" with any assurance, and weaves his examination of the possibility of a BSE-sporadic CJD correlation with authoritative warnings on CJD from the likes of Nobel Prize winners, the heads of CJD surveillance centers, and Paul Brown, medical director for the National Institutes of Health - who says bluntly that "No one has looked for CJD systematically in the U.S. Ever." So, uh, yeah, they might not be looking hard enough.

Tuesday, January 6


That's the clarion call that the cattle industry hopes will fade away. But so far it's not. Back in December Dennis Kucinich proposed congressional legislation to test all downer cows (before the USDA said it would ban them from the food chain) as well as other safety initiatives that may wind up in the pipeline before he can get to them. Now another congressman, Rep. Miller, is proposing testing for BSE every cow that's slaughtered in the U.S. Beef people don't like this one bit, reaching for their traditional arsenal of grand overstatements: "The vast majority of the cattle slaughtered in the United States are under 30 months of age and perfectly healthy, and these animals are not at risk for BSE," Higgins said. But see, that's a lie. There are plenty of cattle under 30 months that are "at rist for BSE," like the latest two in Japan, who were so much at risk that they actually had it. Wonder how much longer these fibs will go unchallenged.

Monday, January 5


"It certainly doesn't take a raging vegan to figure out that USDA guidelines fall somewhere short of safe and sound domestic policy," says an SF Gate editorial, noting that "the agency has long been dominated by the industry it is supposed to regulate."

No, this is beyond the "raging vegan" stage. Now that additional cows are being quarantined and killed to cover up for shoddy bookkeeping while consumers are still denied basic information about the source of tainted food, more and more mainstream critics are saying what we've been saying all along. BusinessWeek says that "Despite USDA reassurances, America's beef supply -- and its citizens -- are at risk." Eric Schlosser's NYTimes op-ed is a virtual rewrite of Michael Greger's New Year's Eve piece And Marion Nestle states that consumers "should express their distress about the current meat situation and just say no." Just say no? Hmmmmm. Maybe it's good sense that turns you into a raging vegan!