The Cows are Eating Grain, Getting Sick, Now What?
Now that we know why cows are eating grain, and see that it leads to them getting sick, what are the farmer’s doing about it? Antibiotics. Welcome to part II of the truth about the beef industry.
Animals are the largest consumers of antibiotics in the US, topping over 50%, reaching about 9 million pounds a year. The antibiotics are used to prevent disease outbreaks, which is prevalent since the cows are not only sick from eating grain, but are in tight crowded conditions that cause rapid contamination.
So the Cows were Sick, Antibiotics made them Better…. So Why is that Bad?
Over 90,000 people die each year from infections that could have been prevented if it was not for antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic resistance is a type of drug resistance where a microorganism is able to survive exposure to an antibiotic. While there are many factors involved, one of the most prevalent ones is from eating meat. The antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria are actually transmitted to humans by consumption.
What is being done?
The European Union as well as Scandinavia have already banned many of these antibiotics but the US seems to still be dragging their feet. Hmm.. I wonder why this is? Is it because some of the largest corporations are the ones that are making money not only off of the meat sold, but also off of the antibiotics given to the sick animals and the people getting sick from eating it? Are these corporations also tied financially to the government, and most importantly the FDA? You bet. There are many board members of the FDA who currently hold or previously held roles in pharmaceutical or biotechnology firms. Interesting.
Second plan of action: Irradiation
Now that the USDA reported that 60% of the largest US meat plants failed to meet federal standards for preventing E. Coli bacteria in their products (yes, why don’t they feed them grass again?), they decided to irradiate the food.
Irradiation is a process by which a food product is exposed to high doses of radiation to kill bacteria, parasites, and mold. Three types of ionizing radiation are permitted: gamma rays, high-energy electrons and X-rays.
According to Dr. Samuel S. Epstein, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Medicine, University of Illinois School of Public Health, Chicago: “The government’s assertion that irradiated food is safe for human consumption does not even pass the laugh test.”
“Irradiated meat is a very different product than natural meat. This is hardly surprising as the Food and Drug Administration’s approved dosage of 450,000 rads is approximately 150 million times greater than that of a chest x-ray. Apart from high levels of benzene, new chemicals known as ‘unique radiolytic products’ were identified in irradiated meat in US Army tests in 1977, and recognized as carcinogenic. Later tests identified other chemicals shown to induce genetic toxicity.”
So we irradiate the food, kill potential bacteria but increase changes of getting cancer and damaging genes… am I getting this right here?
Oh wait there is more… irradiation breaks up the food molecules and actually damages the digestive enzymes and vitamins naturally present in the meat. Therefore, not only does irradiation increase your cancer risk but you’re not even going to be able to get any nutrients out of it either. Oh great.
Avoiding Irradiated Meat…
Fortunately not all meat is irradiated, but there is no way to tell if it was. There are currently no standards set in place that requires the labeling of irradiated food, so unless you are purchasing the meat directly from the farmer there is no guarantee. As a betting woman, I would bet for the irradiation.