Saturday, May 1


U.S. cattle futures fell Friday on a trading floor rumor that a Texas animal was being tested for mad cow disease, but a state official said it was untrue. "It is strictly a rumor. There is no truth to it," said Beverly Boyd, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Agriculture. "They are not holding carcasses of any kind." Oh, that's good. So they're just letting the carcasses go instead of holding them... hey, waitaminit!!!

Friday, April 30


This was supposedly released last night, so I guess it doesn't quite qualify as a Friday recall, but it's sure close. Serial offender Excel Corp. (a subsidiary of Cargill) has recalled 45,000 pounds of beef when some of it tested positive for E.Coli. The meat was "sold to distributors in Kansas, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Missouri, Alabama, Illinois, Texas and Minnesota" and from there, who knows? "Because of the repackaging, consumers will not be able to check lot numbers to determine whether their purchase is part of the recall. They will need to ask their grocers whether any of their product is involved in the recall." Oooh, hope you heard about this so you can take the initiative to ask your grocer. If not, good luck!

Thursday, April 29


There's that old saying that laws and sausage are two things you don't want to see made. The latter, of course, is because we want to deny what sausage is. Or to put it another way, too much intimate knowledge about meat could leave consumers queasy about their meal, as a new study has just confirmed, adding that "care should also be taken when presenting information such as traceability and origin of meat." Another thing it's disgusting to watch is a Sausage King trying to weasel out of his responsibility in cold-bloodedly killing three food inspectors at his San Leandro linguisa plant. The only defense his team can muster is that it wasn't cold-blooded, it was hot-blooded, because, get this, one of the "meat cops" provoked him into a homocidal rage. "To blame Jean Hillery for what happened is beyond offensive," said prosecutor Jack Laettner, but I guess "beyond offensive" is your only legal gambit when the evidence against you is "a surveillance camera video tape showing Alexander gunning down the inspectors and finishing each off with shots to the head." After the defense made it clear that blaming the victim was going to be the strategy, "USDA spokesman Daniel Puzo said the defense attorney was victimizing the slain inspectors anew with a 'most vicious and vile type of slander.'"
UPDATE 5/3: In the midst of a shooting binge that left three meat inspectors dead and a fourth dodging gunfire, Stuart Alexander calmly told a neighbor he was being robbed. Read that again: Not right after his shooting binge - in the midst of it. He said this, then walked back to his plant and shot the wounded in the head. Not only is the hot-blood-sausage-king defense hideously offensive, it's also patently absurd. This loser deserves whatever can possiblly be doled out to him.

UPDATE 5/6: Interesting tidbit from today's testimony: Mary Evans had just bought sausage there moments earlier and was heading for her car when Alexander began shooting, and she "hurried to her car and drove home." Now get this: "Police later identified her by the check she used to purchase linguisa." Yeah, she just saw a homocidal maniac come running out of his plant after murdering three people, attempting to take down the fourth, and she drives home and doesn't call the police on her own accord. No doubt she was afraid of this guy, BUT: Do you suppose she ate the linguisa? I mean, couldn't be anything wrong with that, could there, just because this guy was willing to kill people who were trying to get him to comply with food safety rules? I'll give you ten to one she ate it; it's exactly the kind of warped-logic world meat-eaters live in, and of which these killings are just an extreme extrapolation.

Wednesday, April 28


"A (CA) Senate panel approved a bill Monday that would ban the production and sale of foie gras, a delicacy derived from the livers of force-fed geese and ducks -- a practice that animal rights groups decried as inhumane." Because, you know, it's all a matter of opinion...

Tuesday, April 27


U.S. Department of Agriculture officials pressure their veterinarians to sign documents that falsely certify food items are safe for export, UPI's Steve Mitchell reports, adding that vets say "management officials in USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service have intentionally created an atmosphere of fear and harassment designed to intimidate employees into blindly following supervisors' orders -- even if those orders involve signing fraudulent documents" and that "former veterinarians said the practice has been condoned in the agency for up to 20 years." For those who don't get why this is crucial, Mitchell notes that "The accusations also might have parallels to an ongoing investigation by the USDA's Office of Inspector General into the mad cow case. The OIG is looking into allegations the USDA veterinarian involved in the case was pressured by management to alter an inspection sheet that indicated the cow was a downer after it tested positive.

Monday, April 26


We could probably load up this page with one or more of these stories every week, but I try to stick to ones that are especially noteworthy, because it's always basically the same story. Huge animal operation moves into town, trashes environment, breaks laws, makes entire area unlivable, and then claims the residents are just whining too much. "Don and Deloris Letcher said that since Bridgewater Quality Meats opened in February 1999, blood from the plant runs into their yard and once backed up into their basement." Lovely. Oh, and "Bridgewater Quality Meats opened on Main Avenue five years ago and within a year was warned about its procedures. The attorney general sued the plant last October on behalf of the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources, with potential fines of $10,000 a day." Really? Yes: "A May 2000 memo from Paula Huizenga, an engineer with the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources, said the plant's discharge overloaded the city's wastewater lagoons, made them septic, turned wastewater pink and caused odor. She said hair from animal hides and pieces of meat turned up in the collection system." Albert Spangler of the DENR complained: "During my June 6, 2001, visit to your site, I found blood entering the alley from a side door of your facility. This is not acceptable." Well, uh... if not, why are those folks still in business?