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E. coli

American Meat Institute is pushing irradiation as the solution to E. coli

Thursday, February 25, 2010 by: Ethan Huff
Tags: e. coli, irradiation, health news

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(NewsTarget) In response to last year's outbreaks of E. coli, salmonella, and ammonia in beef, the American Meat Institute (AMI) is urging the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to approve slaughterhouse irradiation as the solution. The AMI has been requesting irradiation approval for years from the USDA, insisting that the process would stop outbreaks by eliminating contamination at the source.

Consumer confidence in the safety of commercial food has been dwindling as outbreak after outbreak dominates national headlines. Particularly in meat, there have been seemingly countless recalls of contaminated, commercially raised beef, leading to an outcry for something to be done.

Unfortunately, rather than address the inherent failures of industrial food production that have led to widespread contamination in the first place, the USDA and others are leaning towards the idea of nuking the entire food supply instead.

Irradiating food not only changes its composition and makes it unsafe and unfit for human consumption, but the costs associated with implementing an irradiation system would be incredibly expensive, especially for smaller producers.

Ironically, the large producers responsible for the vast majority of outbreaks would have the easiest time complying with irradiation mandates while smaller producers who generally provide the cleanest meat would bear an incredible expense that could put them out of business.

Regulatory agencies like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the USDA habitually fail to address the source of problems like food contamination and, instead, respond with illogical propositions that make the problem worse. Much like pharmaceutical drugs, their methods fail to provide a remedy and only compound the problems by trying to treat their symptoms.

The solution to stopping outbreaks of E. coli and salmonella is to clean up the industrial meat processing system. Industrial meat producers should no longer be permitted to force their animals from birth to slaughter as quickly as possible by using artificial hormones and antibiotics. These drugs are responsible for creating the digestive conditions that encourage E. coli to grow and thrive.

Large producers that operate filthy, inhumane operations should be regulated more harshly. Animal overcrowding and co-mingling fosters an environment that encourages the spread of disease and such conditions should no longer be allowed.

Increasing consumer awareness about the filthy industrial meat system and educating the public about how such a system increases the likelihood of contamination would also help to steer consumer preference towards smaller, cleaner, more localized sources of food that are healthier and generally free from contamination.

Sources:

Irradiation as the answer? - Natural Foods Merchandiser

Low-Dose Electron Beam Carcass Irradiation May Be Important Processing Aid in Enhancing Beef Safety, American Meat Institute Says - AMI Foundation

Safety of Beef Processing Method Is Questioned - The Cornucopia Institute

About the author

Ethan Huff is a freelance writer and health enthusiast who loves exploring the vast world of natural foods and health, digging deep to get to the truth. He runs an online health publication of his own at http://wholesomeherald.blogspot.com.

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