ThePoliticalCat

A Blog devoted to progressive politics, environmental issues, LGBT issues, social justice, workers' rights, womens' rights, and, most importantly, Cats.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Health: Food Safety


Regular reader Sister GTG alerts us to the existence of The Center For Food Safety, a network that actually lets you tell the schmucks in charge to quit messing around with the nation's food supply.

No doubt, you've heard by now that a Minnesota meatpacker recently issued a recall for 188,000 lb of ground beef it distributed, after five people in Wisconsin and one in California fell ill when they consumed the beef, according to the Florida Herald Tribune.
  • Good News: The meat was not sold in retail establishments.
  • Bad News: The USDA issued the warning after people had already consumed the meat, which was distributed to restaurants and food service providers.
  • What this teaches us: Don't eat ground beef in restaurants. Buy it from a reliable source, if you must. Better yet, grind it yourself, if you can. Or order the steak or fish, or better yet, the tofu or vegetables. Buy organic, if you can afford it.
  • The contaminant: E. coli.
What, we don't have enough stuff in our food supply to worry about?

Meanwhile, the government is working on making our heads spin by:
  • having the FDA approve the sale of meat and milk from cloned animals
  • without labeling requirements
  • despite Congress passing legislation requiring further studies and considering legislation reflecting the will of the American people that such foodstuffs be clearly labeled
  • while simultaneously the USDA is recommending that food from cloned animals be kept off the market.
Sounds like another case of "the right hand knoweth not whose butt the left hand is patting."

Meanwhile, AFP assures us that American consumers are apparently indifferent to the possible problems of GM food, despite the 150,000 comments on cloned food, most of which are against it.

Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland) points out a very important issue:
“Just because something was created in a lab, doesn’t mean we should have to eat it. If we discover a problem with cloned food after it is in our food supply and it’s not labeled, the FDA won’t be able to recall it like they did Vioxx [...].
No shit, peoples.

Mind you, even as these jerks try to bullshit us about how they're keeping cloned animals out of the food supply, their fellow jerks have this to say:
Executives from the nation's major cattle cloning companies conceded yesterday that they have not been able to keep track of how many offspring of clones have entered the food supply, despite a years-old request by the FDA to keep them off the market pending completion of the agency's safety report.

At least one Kansas cattle producer also disclosed yesterday that he has openly sold semen from prize-winning clones to many U.S. meat producers in the past few years, and that he is certain he is not alone.

"This is a fairy tale that this technology is not being used and is not already in the food chain," said Donald Coover, a Galesburg cattleman and veterinarian who has a specialty cattle semen business. "Anyone who tells you otherwise either doesn't know what they're talking about, or they're not being honest."
Nice to know your government is lying to you. Time to quit eating animal products altogether, or buy only organically produced and certified. Sheesh.

The Center for Food Safety tells us:
A 2004 New England Journal of Medicine report stated that "[G]iven the available evidence, it may be exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to generate healthy cloned animals." In 2003, FDA's draft assessment on cloned food safety relied on just a single study on cloned milk, and no studies on meat from cloned animals. A 2004 National Academy of Sciences report said that the safety of cloned food could not be asserted because "the paucity of evidence in the literature on this topic makes it impossible to provide scientific evidence to support this position."
A grateful twitch of the PoliticalCat ears to Sister GTG for getting us all fired up on this issue. Go sign the petition today, folks, and pass it on.

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