On Listeria, Cantaloupe, and Cows: A Rant »
Rarr! Cantaloupe are scary now. That sucks. Though this one from chrisdonia on Flickr is obviously cute and awesome.
You’ve most likely heard about the whole huge Listeria food-poisoning thing going on, right? If not: Twenty-five people have died and more may still from food poisoning that, it turns out, came from eating cantaloupe from Jensen Farms in Colorado that was contaminated with Listeria bacteria (which I love saying and laugh every time I hear, even though Listeria bacteria are nasty little buggers).
This outbreak saga has been dragging on for a couple months now, and because it started in Colorado, I ended up hearing about it pretty early on, before they’d even figured out the cause. At first, all the news stories talked about how Listeria most often shows up in processed meats and cheeses. “Ick!” I thought. “Luckily the vegans are safe.”
THEN it turned out that the deadly stuff was coming from cantaloupe. And that’s when I got mad.
I’d just finished reading the excellent Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, of which he devotes a big chunk to detailing the connection between CAFOs (factory farms) and infectious disease. The gist: We’re all gonna die of the plague because of the horrible diseases that thrive in those hellholes, whether we support them or not.
Thus it was with great confidence that I began proclaiming that the cantaloupe thing was going to trace back to factory farming somehow. Poor plants, taking the fall for what was at heart a systemic problem with the meat industry. Anything that makes people eat less fruit is a national tragedy in my book.
Well, last week the FDA release their first report about their investigation into Jensen Farms.
I was right. Kind of.
Turns out that gross equipment in Jensen’s fruit-packing house helped spread the Listeria. And no one can be quite sure where the bacteria came from. But the FDA’s best theory is that a particular truck that hauled damaged fruit to a cow farm might have brought the bacteria back.
I wish the evidence were clearer-cut. Obviously the cantaloupe farmers messed up, and it’s not all the meat industry’s fault. BUT STILL. I challenge you all to be agents of the cantaloupe’s resurrection. Buy melons when they’re in season! Eat them! Don’t get poisoned—buy from small farmers and wash the outsides! But redeem the poor cantaloupe!
And let’s get rid of factory farms, already.
(Yet another) New drug-resistant E. coli! »
Well, it won’t affect us vegans just yet, but I’m sure it’ll make its way to us somehow. Thanks, meat mouths!
From the Wired article:
Chickens, chicken meat and humans in the Netherlands are carrying identical, highly drug-resistant E. coli—resistance that is apparently moving from poultry raised with antibiotics, to humans, via food.
I’d like to write more about how many levels of gross and fucked this whole thing is, but I’m finna board a plane to Austin! So instead, I leave you with: WE ARE FUCKED THE WORLD IS ON FIRE RUN FOR THE HILLS.
The apocalypse is coming! Take a shower! »
A new super-bug, NDM-1 has popped up in California, Massachusetts, and Illinois. It was first identified in India and can be transmitted hand-to-mouth. That means keep yourself clean y’all!. It may or may not also be turning people into zombies, à la 28 Days Later. Which, by the way, is not what I was expecting when I went to see that movie. I honestly thought it was about Sandra Bullock relapsing in a charming sequel to 28 Days! Color me surprised! My dad was also surprised. He was all up next to me eating the garlic sticks and personal pizza he had snuck into the theater going “MAN, WHAT THIS SHIT? WHERE BULLOCK?” Not amused.
Authorities are worried that the infection is all set to go on a worldwide tour and are concerned about the possibility of it traveling by plane. While all of the people who have gotten the infection have been treated successfully, doctors have had to go positively retro on this thing, using unpopular drugs from the ’50s and ’60s that have been known to cause kidney damage—so basically just crystal meth and downers. And LSD. Lots and lots of LSD. But let’s focus on the other Serious Issue: What will they do with the livestock? Will the FDA’s new guidelines on stuffing animals full of antibiotics be at all effective against a terrifying superbug? How will they keep it out of the meats?! What if this superbug affects only meat-eaters? Should we be shamefully happy, or sincerely concerned?
Perhaps something of this magnitude is what’s going to bring all of us closer here on Vegansaurus, forcing us to put aside our differences, snide comments, and misplaced moral outrage at Lady Gaga jokes to band together and hold hands as we stare into the unblinking eye of this fresh, new horror.
The LA TImes is ‘Grossed out by Holiday Potlucks’. We at Vegansaurus would like to point out that at vegan potlucks—the best potlucks of all!—there is little to no risk of contracting food poisoning, as neither the dishes nor the kitchens they were prepared in are carriers of bacteria from dead animals.
(When we are feeling particularly vicious and sad, we like to think of food poisoning as punishment for eating animal bodies, such that meat = suffering for them and you. But that’s just between you and us and the wall.)
Host a vegan potluck! You will eat all sorts of delicious food, and your fears of dying of Salmonella poisoning will be (nearly) unfounded. Vegansaurus is proud to be the online home of San Francisco’s own Vegan Brunch Cartel.