October 2018………Nearly seven million pounds of beef contaminated with the deadly Salmonella Newport bacteria have been recalled this month by JBS Tolleson of Tolleson, Arizona— touted as the world’s largest meat packer.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS) emphasized that the recall included all of the company’s beef products—not just hamburger meat, as some sources reported.
Salmonella Newport causes life-threatening diseases with symptoms that include fever, diarrhea, shortness of breath and even death. At greatest risk of acute infections and complications are seniors, children and people with weak or compromised immune systems.
In most cases, the sources of contaminated meat sold throughout the U.S.—and often recalled only after scores of consumers have already been sickened by it—are some of the large, so called “factory” or “industrial” farms, which often medicate sick cattle prior to slaughter to conceal their condition in order to prevent financial losses. Recalls and punitive fines for including tainted meat in the nation’s food supply are considered by these farms to be merely the price of doing business.
One can only hope that growing awareness of the environmental hazards posed by toxic cattle-raising practices and the health hazards of meat consumption will, eventually. either eliminate toxic farming practices or continue to reduce public demand for red meat and thus shrinking the herds being raised.
In the meantime, substituting organic chicken, turkey and, occasionally, pasture-raised New Zealand lamb for beef, is sure to improve most people’s health—especially when meals combine moderate portions of animal protein with more vegetables and other plant-based foods.
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Dina Eliash Robinson