If you're going to eat beef, and I'm an unrepentant carnivore myself, it's hard not to be a bit put off by repeated stories of new mad cow disease cases.
But they shouldn't be surprising, considering that exceptionally nasty diseases can be passed along by cannibalism and tainted food.
Current rules allow bovine blood, blood meal, dead chickens, feathers and their litter in cattle feed. Bovine brains, eyes, skulls and spinal cords from cattle younger than 30 months still are allowed in the human food supply. Source: Federal Register, January 12, 2004.
This news, perversely, is supposed to be reassuring. Letting us know that now there's less bovine nervous tissue in our food supply is supposed to make people feel better, now that many people are finding out that there's been bovine nervous tissue in our food supply all along:
(Published: 08-Jul-05) Washington, D.C. - The chances of eating a burger or hot dog that contains a bit of spinal tissue has gone down.
After pressure from regulators, activists and restaurants, fewer meatpackers are using a mechanical deboning process that consumer activists say risks spreading mad cow disease.
The process, known as "advanced meat recovery," scrapes bits of beef from spinal columns and other bones, meat that profit-conscious packers don't want to waste. The meat is then used in beef patties, pizza toppings, hot dogs and other products.
Consumers can't tell whether beef contains the meat because no special labeling is required.
... Fourteen plants still use the equipment nationwide, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service, down from the 34 that were doing so before the discovery of the nation's first case of mad cow disease in 2003. USDA officials declined to provide a list of the plants.
... The trade group estimated in 2004 that packers produce 45 million pounds of "advanced meat recovery" beef annually, less than 0.2 percent of their beef output. ...
I'm so glad that I know where most of my food comes from. It cuts into the budget like hell, but when I read stories like this it all seems worth it.Posted by natasha at July 27, 2005 04:00 PM | Health/Medicine/Health Care | Technorati links |