A Hard Truth: The Meat Market

Recently, I had a friend ask me to do some research on meats. She bought a bag of frozen fish, and after she got home she realized that, printed on the label clear as day, it contained carbon monoxide. As you can imagine, she was outraged. This prompted her to ask me to do a bit of research and write about it.

First things first, I am a lover of meat. I love rare steak and milk, I love raw seafood, I love chicken/eggs… So this has been a difficult, yet extremely necessary and relevant one for me to write.

Being that this is a huge topic, there are certain aspects that I am not going to cover. The meat industry is extremely cruel to animals, and is really bad for our planet. I am writing this with the assumption that you already know that.

This is about the meat itself.

In the American meat industry, the animals do not have a clean environment and are very sick. Because of this, they are fed antibiotics to combat these illnesses, often for their entire lives. Then, when they’re so sick that “they” think they’re not going to make it, they send them to the slaughterhouse to make their last dollar on the sick animal’s meat, because if they die from the illness they won’t be able to sell it.

There’s our first problem, right there. We’re consuming the meat of animals who spend their entire lives sick. Then, they’re slaughtered for human consumption while the antibiotics are still in their system which causes us to consume the medicine as well.

This depletes our immune systems from being exposed to the antibiotics.

It also creates super-viruses because the diseases are constantly adapting to the antibiotics. Researchers have confirmed an overwhelming amount of staph and MRSA in our meat because of the prevalence of antibiotics in the animal’s diet. Consuming this meat has been called a “game of Russian roulette”, for this reason.

According to an article titled “9 Apalling Facts About Meat’’ published by Rodale’s Organic Life, “The lack of accountability for the meds in industrial farming might surprise you. While people head to the doctor for a professional evaluation and prescription, anyone can walk into a farm store and buy pounds of antibiotics.”
Another very big problem with the meat industry is artificial growth hormones.

Americans are consumers TO THE BONE, and our portion sizes prove it. We like everything larger than life, and that includes the size of our chicken breasts.

An article titled “The Unhealthy Meat Market” published by the NY Times says, “Chickens are bred to grow huge breasts so that as adults they topple forward and can barely breathe or stand. Poultry Science journal has calculated that if humans grew at the same rate as modern chickens, a human by the age of two months would weigh 660 pounds.”

With the animals that we eat being pumped with so many artificial growth hormones, it’s no wonder that our little girls are starting their menstrual cycles at eight years old, and are a size DD bra by eighth grade.
A good rule of thumb, told to me by a friend, is to measure the size of the chicken breast with your palm. If it’s bigger than your palm, it’s more than likely been given growth hormones.

As if antibiotics and hormones aren’t enough, traces of different metals are being found, and Mexico has even been known to reject our meat because of it. Do you know where the meat that has been rejected goes? Right into our big American mouths.

The Food Safety and Inspection services are the ones in charge of making sure that your meat is safe to eat, and they’re not doing their jobs.

According to an article titled “Why US Meats Are Horrendous: The Vulgar Truth About What You Eat With That Steak or Burger” published by Mercola, “Unfortunately, FSIS’ regulatory practices are woefully inadequate. According to the USDA’s new report: “Based on our review, we found that the national residue program is not accomplishing its mission of monitoring the food supply for harmful residues. Together, FSIS, FDA, and EPA have not established thresholds for many dangerous substances (e.g., copper or dioxin3), which has resulted in meat with these substances being distributed in commerce. Additionally, FSIS does not attempt to recall meat, even when its tests have confirmed the excessive presence of veterinary drugs.””

That was released BY THE FDA.

According to the same article, “Many potentially harmful substances have no set tolerance thresholds. This means that if the FSIS detects a toxin in meat, it cannot ban it from the food supply unless it exists in quantities over the tolerance threshold. If there is no set threshold, the meat cannot be banned, no matter what!”

Our health and safety is being thwarted by greed. Chances are that if the FDA or FSIS did set a threshold for these toxins, they would hardly sell any meat because it’s basically all contaminated. So they don’t set thresholds so that they stay in business.

According to Mercola, Ground beef has its own, very large set of problems. The fact that it’s mechanically separated is bad enough, but it’s meat compiled from hundreds of different cows, from different factories, all facing their own particular sanitation issues.

I can’t even imagine the mystery ingredients that ground beef contains.

“Despite this, there is no federal requirement for meat grinders to test their ingredients for E.coli prior to selling them. And most retailers do not test either. In fact, American Foodservice, which grinds 365 million pounds of hamburger a year, had to stop testing trimmings 10 years ago because slaughterhouses did not want to sell to them!”

I know that all of this information is overwhelming. Even as I type, I struggle with the idea that I have to change the fundamentals of how I buy meat. Because you better believe that even after absorbing all of this information, I’m still going to consume it. I’m just going to be much more safe about it!

As for my friend’s frozen-fish-carbon-monoxide fiasco, don’t buy farm raised fish. Fish from farms are filled with all kinds of awful stuff, so with seafood especially, ensure that it’s fresh when you buy it, and they it was wild caught. Personally, I’m beginning to avoid fish from the sea altogether, and going for freshwater fish, but that’s a different issue (Fukushima radiation… Call me paranoid, I don’t care).

Buying from local farmers is one way to combat the ridiculous and shameful industry that our meat comes from. The only way to let the “big industry” know that we’re not “pickin’ up what they’re puttin’ down” is to shop smart, and avoid the meat that they’re supplying us with.

If their meat isn’t selling, they’ll be forced to change.

References

9 Appalling Facts About Meat : Want More Info? |. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/food/meat-industry/want-more-info

The Unhealthy Meat Market – The New York Times. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/13/opinion/kristof-the-unhealthy-meat-market.html?_r=0

The Vulgar Truth About US Meats. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/05/18/american-meat-is-even-more-disgusting-than-you-thought.aspx