Opinion: Contaminated meat may be in school meals

Star-Gazette (Elmira, NY)

June 9, 2003 Monday

OPINION: Contaminated meat can be in school meals

Thank you for your article alerting the public to the possible entry of irradiated meat into their children's school lunch menus.

But what the story did not mention (and many people don't realize) is that the presence of e. coli bacteria (the primary contaminant in meat that irradiation is supposed to negate) comes from contamination of meat by feces and intestinal contents in the slaughtering process.

In order to keep costs low, modern large slaughterhouse operations have increased line speeds to the point where carcasses almost fly down the line.

That does not allow enough time to properly and cleanly eviscerate the carcass, and the meat becomes contaminated.

Additionally, current processing for the creation of hamburger grinds many carcasses into a slurry, where one contaminated carcass can infect the meat from many others.

Small local butcher shops and family-owned slaughterhouse operations do not have this problem. In fact, their operations (according to owners I have talked to) are under close scrutiny from licensing authorities and are kept to the highest and strictest standards of cleanliness.

This is in contrast to factory slaughterhouses, which are allowed to regulate themselves.

We see the effectiveness of that self-regulation in the large numbers of recalls and outbreaks of e. coli poisoning related to factory-slaughterhouse meat products.

Like the U.S. Department of Agriculture rule specifying the allowable number of rat hairs in hot dogs, meat irradiation does nothing to clean up industry.

It only provides a means of pretending that the meat product is a quality food, without actually taking any action to improve the quality.

JYLLE BENSON-GAUSS

HectorFood Service Director

Home | News | Organics | GE Food | Health | Environment | Food Safety | Fair Trade | Peace | Farm Issues | Politics
Español | Campaigns | Buying Guide | Press | Search | Donate | About Us | Contact Us

Organic Consumers Association - 6771 South Silver Hill Drive, Finland MN 55603
E-mail: Staff · Activist or Media Inquiries: 218-226-4164 · Fax: 218-353-7652
Please support our work. Send a tax-deductible donation to the OCA

Fair Use Notice: The material on this site is provided for educational and informational purposes. It may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. It is being made available in an effort to advance the understanding of scientific, environmental, economic, social justice and human rights issues etc. It is believed that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have an interest in using the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. The information on this site does not constitute legal or technical advice.