Farmed salmon are full of diseases that they’re passing on to wild fish! »
Too bad farmed fish are suffering en masse from antibiotic-resistant staph and E. coli infections, as well as a terrifying new superbug, infectious salmon anemia, and passing them on to wild salmon! It’s an international phenomenon! Why, it’s almost as though big fish farms have the same problems as feedlots, or chicken farms. IMAGINE THAT.
[photo by the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation via Flickr]
Your government hates you: meat recalls forever »
What is going on with meat inspection? In the past month, there’ve been seven recalls due to listeria contamination, three because of E. coli, and three for salmonella, nearly 36,723,700 pounds of food, almost of it meat. The number’s sort of enormous thanks to Cargill’s recall of 36 million pounds of “ground turkey products” on Aug. 3 because of salmonella contamination. Disgusting.
How does this contamination even happen? The Centers for Disease Control have a section on food-borne illnesses that’s pretty helpful, though their explanation for how foods become contaminated isn’t super-illuminating:
Many foodborne microbes are present in healthy animals (usually in their intestines) raised for food. Meat and poultry carcasses can become contaminated during slaughter by contact with small amounts of intestinal contents. Similarly, fresh fruits and vegetables can be contaminated if they are washed or irrigated with water that is contaminated with animal manure or human sewage.
Right, we know that, CDC. It’d be nice to know how the shit-water gets to the produce, or how the carcasses come into “contact with small amounts” of unexpressed poop. Over a century since The Jungle exposed the horrible conditions of the meatpacking industry and people are still getting shit teeming with bacteria in our food. You think after another 100 years the agriculture industry will stop making us sick?
Your government hates you: big fat fucking meat recall »
A company from Cincinnati, Ohio called Tri-State Beef has issued a recall on nearly 229,000 pounds of ground beef because it “may be contaminated” with our old friend E. coli 0157:H7. That is over a quarter-million pounds of ground beef!
A company in Miami, Fla. called Northwestern Meat, Inc. has issued a recall on over 6,000 pounds of “frozen boneless beef products” because they tested positive for Ivermectin. Ivermectin is “a broad-spectrum anti-parasitic and is used as a de-worming agent in live animals,” and river blindness in “the Americas.” It can cause neurotoxicity. The “beef products” in question were imported from Honduras.
Both these companies had had their products inspected by federal agents before distribution to retail outlets. Your government is hard at work, protecting us citizens from—well, not E. coli or veterinary medication. Something important, surely.
Are “conscientious carnivores” only fooling themselves? »
Of course it’s better for animals to live in comfort on a nice farm instead of a hideous feedlot before they’re slaughtered for food. However, James McWilliams notes in the Atlantic, the outcome is still the same: the animals are killed, and people eat them. That’s the contradiction inherent in “conscientious carnvorism”—your conscientiousness is limited by the violence of your diet. McWilliams’ essay is interesting; he asserts that focus on "happy meat" “narrow[s] our moral vision,” which is the same point abolitionists make when arguing against so-called humane regulations to meat industry practices.
It’s a valid argument, too. What do you think? Are you pro- or anti-conscientious carnivorism? What do you think of the Humane Society’s and United Egg Producers’ proposed legislation that would improve conditions for layer hens? Would it be more profitable for us animal advocates to work toward a vegan world, or making small changes to a system to which we are morally opposed?
Of course it doesn’t matter what we do, we’re all going to die of murderous stealth E. coli and antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea in five years, unless the Japanese people eating radioactive cow develop magical mutant powers and rescue us from the disastrous effects of global warming. The world is super fucking fucked.
Four dead in Japan thanks to E. coli »
Super shitty news out of Japan: Four people are dead and at least 56 are sick—after eating raw beef at a popular chain barbecue restaurant in Tonami in Toyama Prefecture. Totally fucking awful.
What’s really scary about this (besides EVERYTHING) is that we’re discovering more and more variations of E. coli that are super crazy dangerous. Before there was just O157:H7 to worry about, and now there are at least six more types of E. coli. Shudder. I’m telling you, we’re gonna see more and more horrific stuff like this happening.
In extra-super-disturbing news, many of these E. coli variations aren’t even looked for in labs, so there’s a chance that even the most stringently tested dead cow (that’s like 1 percent anyway) is gonna be teaming with all sorts of delicious E. coli that nobody ever even looked for. Hide your kids, hide your wife. Or you know, stop eating that (literal) shit because it ain’t safe.
(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.
Happy New Year, your meat is full of fucking poisons! »
Wired gave us all a smashing Christmas present to close 2010: the news that the 28.8 million pounds of antibiotics “used in agriculture,” i.e., fed to eating-animals, constitute fully 79.8 percent of all antibiotics sold in the U.S. That’s a 10 percent increase from 2000! Here, look at this hideous chart:
According to Wired reporter Maryn McKenna, nearly all of the antibiotics given to animals are also prescribed to people, meaning that “[w]hen organisms become resistant on the farm to drugs used on livestock, they are becoming resistant to the exact same drugs used in humans.”
Have you started your probiotic supplements yet, omnivorous friends? Oh, and careful about where you buy your “humane,” “organic” dead animals from, too, as First Class Foods recalled 34,373 pounds of ground beef on Thursday because of a delicious E. coli O157:H7 contamination. E. coli O157:H7?
E. coli O157:H7 is found on cattle farms and can live in the intestines of healthy cattle. The toxin requires highly specific receptors on the cells’ surface in order to attach and enter the cell; species such as cattle, swine, and deer which do not carry these receptors may harbor toxigenic bacteria without any ill effect, shedding them in their feces, from which they may be spread to humans.
There have been several unsuccessful efforts to control the spread of this illness by food advocates by promotion of the so-called “Kevin’s Law”. This law would give the FDA power to shutdown food processing plants that fail multiple inspections. This law has been vigorously opposed by the food processing industry.
Pre-Thanksgiving food recalls for best tableside conversation »
Which government administrations love you, baby? Yeah, the FDA and the USDA, that’s right. Hence they’ve released these four recall notices just before Thanksgiving to keep you from spending the long weekend in bed, or heaven forbid the hospital. Hooray!
First, Krunchers! Inc. recalled all bags of Jay’s brand original potato chips produced on a certain date because whoops, 180 of them contain a “milk allergen.” What that milk allergen is exactly that snuck into the potato chips, the FDA and Krunchers! aren’t saying, but it’s some kind of milk product, so read about the details of the 180 affected bags of chips and act accordingly.
Second, following Bravo Farms’ recall of its Dutch-style Gouda last week, the company is now recalling ALL OF ITS CHEESES. The Centers for Disease Control fully found E.Coli O157:H7 in their Gouda, which led to testing of the entire Bravo Farms plant, where the CDFA found more E.Coli O157:H7 and Listeria monocytogenes. Cheese is so awesome!! Should anyone we know and/or love eat this brand of cheese, let them know they can either return it to the place of purchase, or just throw it away.
Update: These cheeses are also sold at Whole Foods, and apparently Bravo Farms cheese is usually of such high quality they all have a “distributed by Whole Foods” sticker on their packaging as well. Wherever there are animal products, there’s a risk of bacterial infection. Barf.
Speaking of bacteria, Calabro Cheese recalled 57 pounds of “Calabro All Natural Rotolini Mozzarella & Prosciutto,” lot number 3190, as they may be contaminated with, what? Lysteria monocygenes! Oh man, Lysteria is all over the place this week! This “possible contamination” was discovered by the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, rather than the FDA, because it contained a meat product—any food item involving meat, poultry, or processed egg products is regulated by the USDA through the FSIS. This’ll be the site to let you know about any risk of illness through dead turkey this week, too. Of course you don’t care, but maybe you want to keep your weirdo relatives from getting sick and having to stay at your house for an extra week.
Worst of all, Artisan Confections Company has had to recall 33 cases of Dagoba Organic Chocolate New Moon Rich Dark Chocolate 74 percent cacao 0.32 oz squares because of a Salmonella contamination risk. MAN is it frustrating when vegan products like this line of Dagoba chocolates come into contact with Salmonella, which is a bacteria of exclusively animal-origin. Where did it come from? That’s a question for the third-party manufacturer, I suppose; regardless, anyone with the New Moon squares is asked to call Artisan Confections Consumer Relations at 866/ 608.6944 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. EST.
And now you have your Thanksgiving conversational topics! Maybe, in case the conversation starts to drag even with all this exciting news, you might want to look up the effects of E. coli, Salmonella, and/or Listeria illnesses on the body, to really get things going again. People love to hear exactly how their food is going to kill them while they’re eating it! That’s what holidays are for.
Wherever you are, your government hates you »
Not a joke. In England, after slashing health and welfare benefits, the new government is writing policy on “obesity, alcohol, and diet-related disease”; namely, “an overhaul of public health.” To advise them, the government has asked experts in different areas of obesity, alcohol, and diet-related disease, including: Cancer Research U.K.; the Faculty of Public Health; the CEO (Jeremy Beadles) of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association; Diageo; Unilever; Mars; Kellogg’s; PepsiCo; KFC; and McDonald’s. British public health policy: it’s just like ours! Which is to say, the mighty businesses get to strike all the legislation they don’t like, work in sneaky little loopholes so they can continue to sell their demon “food” unfettered by silly regulations, and do it with the approval of the government AND public health advocacy groups! Win-win-win, suckers!
Currently 30 percent of North Korean residents are “substantially undernourished,” but every single country save China and South Korea does not want to donate food because the PRK’s government is all nuked up. AHAHA sorry fellow human beings; your government eats up all your food and hordes money you will never see, makes selling or trading your own food illegal, and refuses to shut down its nuclear program despite 30 percent of you already starving! And not one wealthy country that could give you food or the supplies to grow your own will, because we’re all playing a game of nuclear-chicken with your dictator-leader! I guess you’ll just have to rely on the underfunded U.N. World Food Program.
Those lovely reuseable plastic-composite shopping bags all the grocery and drugstores sell now? Some of them are full of lead. YES. Thanks for the Q.C., government! Glad you’re looking out for us as we try to avoid using terrible animal-murdering never-decomposing plastic bags! Solution: canvas. Just use bags made of recycled canvas and you and the environment and the cotton-harvesters will be all right.
And here are your FDA recalls from last week (Nov. 9 to 13)! As the majority of these are non-vegan, maybe let your meat- and cheese-eating pals know about them. And sleep well at night knowing how much lower your risk of bacterial illness is.
- Orval Kent company recalled 23 products (listed here) containing cilantro that might have been contaminated with—Salmonella! These products were distributed nationwide.
- Whoa, do not buy any Mauri Gorgonzola cheese, vegetarians and/or omnivores! Any of this cheese with a sell-by date between Jan. 1 through 27 came from a lot that tested positive for E. coli! If you already have some, “return the cheese to the place of purchase or dispose of it in a closed plastic bag and place in a sealed trash can to prevent people or animals, including wild animals, from eating it.” Here’s the best part: it didn’t get tested until after a bunch of people got E. coli O157:H7 poisoning after an October “Cheese Road Show” at Costco stores in Colorado. Now, the Mauri Gorgonzola tested positive for a different strain of E. coli—i.e., not the one that sickened the Cheese Road Show samplers—but considering IT’S STILL E. COLI, don’t eat it.
- Oh look! A different company, Bravo Farms, has a Dutch-style Gouda cheese that ALSO “may have” tested positive (?) for E. coli O157:H7, just like the Gorgonzola!, and even better, this cheese is sold at Costco stores in Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Southern California, as well as non-Costco California retail stores! Honestly, just stay the hell away from cheese, everyone.
- One more for the road: Three types of New Braunfels Smokehouse brand smoked, ready-to-eat turkey breast—2,609 pounds!—are being recalled because they may be contaminated with Listeria, the cleanest-sounding bacteria.
Thanks for strictly enforcing those safety standards, FDA! Man it is great to live in a country whose government cares so much about its citizens’ health and safety.
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.