Sunday, February 24


Speaking before meat packers and processors, Schafer said the Westland/Hallmark Meat Co. recall announced earlier this week had already prompted diplomats to ask why the U.S. can't produce safe meat. "As people look for reasons to protect their own market places ... they say you can't even send us safe meat," he said. "Do we need to issue new regulations and things? Right now we're just not prepared to do that."

Comical - or it would be, if lives as well as entire economies weren't at stake. First, let's remember that the US meat industry has a long history of sending unsafe meat to its trading partners, so the "looking for reasons to protect their own market places" line is classic sleight-of-hand. The fact is the USDA has gotten away with so much sloppiness and so little scrutiny here among the meat-eating media that they forget other countries actually may take trade standards, and the health of the populace, seriously. And still the agency stubbornly denies any need to do anything such as, ahem, "issue new regulations and things." Eloquent.

Also, ya gotta love this: "The agency has no plans to test any of the recalled meat, said Ken Petersen, assistant administrator for the department's Food Safety and Inspection Service. Petersen said the meat already is being removed from the food supply, so there is no reason to test it. 'Testing it isn't going to tell me anything,' he said." Of course not. Only whether the prevalence of BSE in the meat you were rubber-stamping for the nation's schoolchildren was nonexistent, tiny, or at a level that could and should cause Americans to avoid factory-farm beef altogether. And when you're the industry-puppet USDA, what's the point in that?

UPDATE 2/26: US to Far East: Where you gonna get your beef from, then - Canada? (A reminder that yeah, it does matter if a cow is sick when it gets into the food supply.)

No comments: