Friday, August 18


Every once in a while I remember to check for meat recalls that have gotten no coverage. Often I find one or two that are limited to one region or are only a few hundred pounds, and I don't bother saying anything about them because it's not suprising I wouldn't have heard about them, and I have no evidence that the communities involved went uninformed. But just as often I find recalls that came and went involving thousands and thousands of pounds of meat, with the comensurate potential to incapacitate or kill hundreds to thousands of people.

Here are just a couple cases in point. Within a couple days, one company in Tennessee, Southeastern Meats, recalled more than four thousand pounds of beef and another company in Texas, Plains Meat Co, recalled more than 13,000 pounds of beef - yes, that's over six tons of beef - and in both cases, of course the culprit was our own war nemesis, E.Coli.

In a break with tradition, the more damning recall was announced by the USDA not on Friday, but on Saturday.

Wednesday, August 16


Props to E Magazine for that headline, which sprang to mind for me (and probably a lot of other people) when I heard the buzz about Al Gore's movie. The article Another Inconvenient Truth: Meat is a Global Warming Issue lays out the facts pretty nicely, including dragging in such inconvenient truths as "the human appetite for animal flesh is a driving force behind virtually every major category of environmental damage now threatening the human future — deforestation, erosion, fresh water scarcity, air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss, social injustice, the destabilization of communities and the spread of disease."

Of course, what makes this truth all the more inconvenient for many is that there's something decisive we can do about it right now, today, which requires so little of us in comparison to the stakes involved that it's doubtless embarrassing to contemplate.

Monday, August 14


An ocean away, a completely different issue, but similar implications: "Chicago diners have one final week to feast on foie gras before the city becomes the first in the nation to ban the delicacy" says ABC News. "In April members of the Chicago City Council sided with animal rights groups and enacted the ban, set to take effect on August 22. Production of foie gras is already banned in more than a dozen countries, mostly in Europe. At least one famous Chicago chef has already instituted his own ban. Charlie Trotter took foie gras off the menu at his eponymous restaurant after seeing how the delicacy was produced. But many of Trotter's colleagues worry this new law is the first step on a slippery slope. 'The laundry list is now wide open," says [another restaurateur]. 'Lobster, veal, where does it end? Who draws the line in the sand and dictates what you can and can't eat?'" Hey, did someone say Slippery Slope?