Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Vegetarian Anyone?

Every day now it becomes more and more imperative that I reconsider returning to a vegetarian diet. The problem is that I like meat. I don't really eat that much meat but when I think of giving up glorious crisp bacon for breakfast or a succulent BBQ'd pork rib on a lazy Sunday afternoon I get weak. I am a very good vegetarian cook and I regularly have meatless meatless meals. I don't have to have meat with every meal or even everyday but there are sometimes when it is the only thing that will satisfy. I hate being forced into doing something more than anything.

I am already resigned to the fact that pork should be out of the diet for a while and now it appears the chicken supply is compromised as well by melamine-tainted feed. Jeebus!

The U.S. government said on Monday 38 poultry farms in Indiana were given contaminated feed containing melamine in early February, with some of the animals likely to have entered the food supply.

The Agriculture Department and the Food and Drug Administration said in a joint statement that officials learned of the link between the chicken feed and tainted pet food as part of the investigation into imported rice protein concentrate and wheat gluten that have been found to contain the industrial chemical melamine and related compounds.

The affected poultry farms and breeder poultry farms fed the contaminated feed to poultry within days of receiving it, the agencies said. Other farms will probably be identified as having received tainted feed, they added.

All the broilers believed to have been fed contaminated products have been processed, while the breeders are under voluntary hold by flock owners, the agencies said.

Birds that were given the contaminated feed will not be allowed to enter the U.S. food supply. Farmers will be compensated if they destroy the birds that consume the feed.

The agencies also said there was a “low-risk” to humans and no food recalls were expected at this time. They are uncertain how many chickens were involved, how many entered the food supply or where they went.

Let's review that one more time just to make sure we understand. Melamine isn't allowed in animal feed in the U.S. and it is causing kidney failure in mammals, but the FDA is saying that while there have been no studies on melamine's effects in humans you are not supposed to be concerned and just go about your business...nothing to see here.
At this time, we have no evidence of harm to humans associated with the processed pork product, and therefore no recall of meat products processed from these animals is being issued. Testing and the joint investigation continue. If any evidence surfaces to indicate there is harm to humans, the appropriate action will be taken.

I'll helpfully translate the above into plain English.

We have absolutely no idea of the effect of melamine in food but we are willing to allow the big industrial meat processors to continue supply it in your food since their profits come first. If we see too many of you getting sick and dying from things like kidney failure then we will consider recalling some meat or something. Work for you?

h/t to Brillaint at Breakfast for the links

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