Escherichia or ecoli is a bacteria that lives in the intestines of cattle, goats, sheep, pigs. It cannot be cooked out. An infected person will get severe stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhea with blood in it. Some people get better in a week , others die. 10% get a complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) in which their kidneys stop working. Some strains of ecoli also cause urinary tract infections and meningitis, peritonitis, septicemia and pneumonia. It is the primary cause of bowel diseases and can turn into ulcers. Ecoli symptoms develop a few days after eating the meat and HUS comes later.
In the United States and Europe it is the most common form of illness. In the US alone about 75,000 people a year are hospitalized and experts say that the infected may be more than 10 times that number. This does not include the numbers that come in with the secondary diseases mentioned above. It is often fatal for children and the elderly.
While ecoli responds to antibiotics, it quickly becomes drug resistant. In fact taking antibiotics during an ecoli infection may often lead to HUS.
Is our meat safe to eat ? Let me give you the statistics of meat produced in slaughterhouses in America. These are supposedly clean, safe, government inspected, well regulated etc unlike our killing centres which are unregulated, uninspected, overloaded ,manned by mafias of illiterate butchers and corrupt vets. We follow no rules: ten animals are killed in the official registers but in actual fact more than 2000 have been cut open , often by 5 year old children using rusty blades and left to writhe in each other’s blood each hour. The butchers spit, defecate and urinate as they kill, mixing their excreta with the dead bodies which are then dragged across filthy floors to trucks that will take the meat to shops across the cities. In the smaller towns, the goat/buffalo is tethered behind the wooden freestanding meat stall standing on a garbage dump and killed in the open on the garbage heap. 90% of the animals brought in by truck have already had their limbs broken and are in an advanced stage of septicemia before they are killed. No government inspections have ever taken place inspite of several Supreme Court orders.
So let us come back to BEST case studies and see how well the Americans have done.
A “ meat recall” is an order given by the US government to companies whose meat products have been found to contain ecoli. A meat recall is done only in very extreme cases as it costs the company million of dollars . It is done only after hundreds of people have gone to hospital , been tested , then their complaints are tabulated and compared- only then will the food inspectors move . In most cases , the illnesses are ignored as the companies pay out money to the victims immediately in order to keep them quiet. So a meat recall is like an atom bomb and is used very rarely.
I have been keeping count of the meat recalls in the last 3 years. There has been one EVERY WEEK.
Lets just take the big ones:
In February 2008 The US Department of Agriculture ordered the destruction of 143 million pounds of meat produced by the largest chain of slaughterhouses in the US – the Hallmark/Westland slaughterhouses. By then however, much of it had been eaten , specially by schoolchildren as it was supplied for school lunches. The recall came after the Humane Society of the United States released a secretly taken film which clearly showed diseased, sick and wounded cattle being killed. These slaughterhouses supplied much of the processed meat used by hundreds of different restaurant chains and companies.
The largest meat distribution company United Food Group had to recall 5.3 million tones of fresh and frozen meat from all over the world in April 2008 .
In August 2008 Whole Foods Market , the top US supermarket chain recalled all the meat sold in the last two months – almost impossible since it had already been eaten and had causes a wave of hospitalizations.
Nebraska Beef recalled over 500 tonnes of beef during June and July 2008
American Food Group had to recall 96,000 pounds of meat in the same year .
The Topps Meat Company had to recall 21.7 million pounds of meat – enough to make a Mc Donald’s hamburger for every adult in America, in August 2007. Thousands of people fell sick across the country. The meat had been sold to hundreds of different brands so the recall was very difficult.
In 2007 alone this is the list of recalls that had to be done after ecoli was found in the meat;
Richwood Meat Co April 20th
United Food Group June 6th
Canned Meat products June 6th , again July 19th and July 21st
Stone Meats September 14th
Topps Ground Beef Products October 6th
Cargill Ground Beef Products October 6th and November 3rd
Chicken and Pasta Products , October 9th
FrozenPot Pie Products, October 11th
J and B Meats October 13th
Arko Veal Co October 24th
Blue Ribbon Meats October 24th
Del- Mar Provision October 27th
Totino and Jeno’s Frozen Meat Pizza Products November 1st
Beef Tamales November 8th
Double B Foods Inc November 15th
Ground Beef products November 24th
The complete 2008/2009 list will be out only by the end of this year as the calculations are still on. But here are some of the big ones I took down before I left for the election:
JSM Meat Holdings May 16th 2008
Nebraska Beef Ltd June 30th and August 8th
S&S Foods August 6th 2008
Rupari Food Services Pork December 11th
Dawn International Imported Pork Products December 11th
Barber Foods Frozen Chicken Products January 30th 2009
Whitey’s Frozen Beef January 30th
Hain Celestial Group Frozen Chicken February 4th
Alaska Sausage Co. February 6th
Wei Chuan US Chicken Bouillon February 24th
Weis Simply Delicious Chicken February 27th
Trader Joe’s Chicken Burgers February 27th
These are Class I recalls – or the worst kind. The government does not list Class II or Class III recalls which run into hundreds and are done routinely because of the diseases present in the meat. Over one billion pounds of meat have been burnt in the last 3 years alone because it was too dangerous to eat. Canada has the same statistics. From June to October 2008 more than 20 people died from eating Maple Leaf Foods which was found to have dangerous bacteria in its 220 meat items. Other companies – Royal Touch, Lucerne Meats, Atlantic prepared foods, Needs Sandwiches, Fresh2Go Beef have all had recalls.
There has never been a recall in India because the meat is unlabelled, uninspected and human life is irrelevant. But if you value your own life , don’t eat meat.
To join the animal welfare movement contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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