Big Agro Betrays Public Trust – Again

B. McPherson

The following expose is not connected with Establishment #761. It is meant to illustrate what may happen in a factory setting.

Canada’s Food Inspection Agency(CFIA) has issued yet another food recall. This one involves the possible contamination of beef by E. coli . This is the bacterium that may cause ‘hamburger disease’, a sometimes fatal syndrome that destroys internal organs.

The public is warned that it is possible that beef products from plant #761 may be contaminated. The bacterium is found in the lower intestinal tract. You and I have it and it’s fine if it stays there. A great part of your ‘poop’ is E. coli that’s why we are careful to dispose of our excrement. And one of the reasons that we wash our hands carefully after using the toilet.

For this potentially fatal microbe to be in meat it means that feces is believed to be mixed into the meat.

Canadian law does not compel the slaughterhouse to recall its product. The offending meat is recalled on a voluntary basis. The CFIA does not identify the dirty slaughterhouse by anything other than a number.

“The affected products involved in this recall may be identified by one of the following codes:
bearing a Best Before date from BB 2012 JA 01 up to and including to BB 2013 FE 15;
bearing a production code with a format of 11 JL 01 up to and including 12 FE 15; 
bearing a 5 digit lot code where the last four digits are 1831 or greater.”Canadian Food InspectionAgency

All the beef products are ground meat. Industrial production of ground beef may mix together many different carcasses of cattle. If only one is contaminated, the contaminated meat can be spread through a thousand different “burgers”.

Some of this recalled beef has been sold to restaurants, hotels and most worrisome to institutions. That includes extended care homes and hospitals. Children and the elderly are most vulnerable to damage from this bacterium.

 E. coli is killed by heat. If the food is cooked thoroughly, then there is no danger BUT there is very real danger of cross contamination. If the blood, juices, fat from the contaminated meat should run onto the counter top where uncooked vegetables are prepared, then the microbe gets a free ride into the mouth. Hands that are not scrupulously washed can spread the disease causing microbe.

The Canadian government has come out time and again in support of big Agro. 

Recent regulations for slaughterhouses have come into effect in BC. They purport to adhere to export standards. The real effect has been to drive small producers out of business. On Vancouver Island since the new regulations have come into effect, farm numbers have been reduced by one third. There has never been a meat related illness linked to an island slaughter house. There have been numerous health scares in meats produced industrially.

You can guess why Vancouver Island, old fashioned, phased out slaughter houses had no health scares. The public knows what a local abattoir looks and smells like. They take their animals there and know the proprietor. If the place is not clean and well run word spreads quickly and the place is out of business. How many people buying ground beef in the super market have done an inspection themselves of Establishment #761 wherever it is?

Beef Brands Affected by Recall
Best Value, Calgary Stampede, Country Morning, Country Morning Gold, Exclusive Selections, Grillhouse, Heritage Angus Beef, Irresistibles, Keg, Licks, Maple Lodge Farms, no name, Our Finest, Overwaitea, PC, PC Blue Menu, PC Butchers Choice, Prairie Heritage Producers, Q Burger, Simply Food, Spring Creek, Sunspun, Webers, Western Family, Zabiha Halal
Sold to Institutions
Grillhouse, Heritage Angus Beef, Hero Certified Burgers, Licks, PC, Sunspun
For a more complete list and more details consult the the CFI at: http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/corpaffr/recarapp/2012/20120319cliste.shtml

If you choose to eat meat, you should take precautions. The best defense against eating meat laced with a bit of poop is to buy from a butcher who cuts his own sides or to grind your own. 

Repeat the mantra: Buy local, buy organic

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