The Kansas City Star has been running a study about the US beef industry and it's use of a tenderizing technology which, among other things, is becoming a severe health risk to consumers.
The study points out that the beef industry uses a meat tenderizing technology that may cause more Americans to be diagnosed with E. coli poisoning.
RT News interviewed Alexis Baden-Mayer of the Organic Consumers Association in the video above, to learn why beef producers are risking the health of the consumers. Baden-Meyer points out that meat, which was not tender and less likely to be sold at a premium, is made more tasty and tender by the process, but exposes consumers to the risk of fecal contamination.
The study shows that only four companies process more than 87% of the beef packed in the US, and all four companies use novel, money-saving techniques that significantly increase the risk of contamination by food-borne pathogens, leading to hundreds of preventable illnesses every year.
The investigation, which is outlined on the Kansas City Star website, includes the results of dozens of articles and many graphic illustrations.
Beef industry in the USA
Among the many startling finds from the investigation, investigators found ample evidence of serious problems with fecal contamination in beef at major plants, despite industry claims that beef was safer than ever.
Besides being the most disgusting type of contamination imaginable, fecal contamination also vastly increases the risk that beef will spread E. coli bacteria, which lives in the intestines of cows. An extract on this portion of the study reads:
Federal inspection records obtained by The Star under the federal Freedom of Information Act include hundreds of references to fecal contamination problems over the last two years at four of the largest beef slaughter plants in Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado. For example, at one of Tyson’s beef plants, inspectors noted: “massive fecal contamination; multiple carcasses with varying degrees of fecal contamination; periods of very significant fecal, ingesta and abscess contamination.”
Another federal inspector at Tyson found “a piece of trimmed fat approximately 14 inches long with feces the length of it,” and another noted, “fecal contamination ...was so great...couldn’t keep up.”
On top of this risk, the beef industry is employing mechanical tenderizing techniques, using automated blades and pounders to tenderize the tough meat. This then drives the E.coli away from the surface of the meat, where it could be killed when cooking, right into the center of a cut of meat. If you like your steak rare, you can just imagine the risk.
Besides fecal contamination and the risk of E.Coli, the study also showed that most cattle are being force-fed a cocktail of drugs, designed to increase the efficiency of the beef plants, but causing dangers to human health. The majority of cows at the large meat plants are being fed antibiotics. While this helps the cattle to put on weight faster (and make the output more profitable), this may also contribute to the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in humans, causing dangerous threats to health.