Friday, October 16, 2009

CNN's Larry King Live: "Should You Eat Meat?" - Part 2

(Part 1)
Here's the entire program. It aired Monday, October 12, Transcript

Excerpts (See Part 1 for the guest list):

Factory farming is criminal:
Anthony Bourdain: "I think the standard practices of outfits like Cargill and some of the larger meat processors and grinders in this country are unconscionable and border on the criminal."
Factory farming is unconscionable:
Jonathan Safran Foer: "There's a certain kind of meat, which is produced on factory farms, that is in every single way unconscionable.
It's unconscionable to feed to our children because of the health.
It's unconscionable because it's the single worst thing we can to do to the environment by a long shot.
And it's unconscionable because of what we're doing to animals who are raised on factory farms."
Factory farming: You can't escape it:
Jonathan Safran Foer: "Upwards of 99 percent of the animals that are raised for meat in this country come from factory farms. When we're talking about meat, when we're talking about the meat they sell in grocery stores, when we're talking about the meat we order in restaurants, we are effectively talking about factory farms."
Factory farming: It's the American way:
Patrick Boyle (American Meat Institute): "The whole comment about factory farming, from my perspective, that's a negative reference to high volume, low cost, efficient meat and poultry processing facilities, that give Americans an abundant variety of safe and wholesome products at a very reasonable price. The lowest price in terms of disposable income spent of any terms of developed country in the world."
Bacon, sex, and reason:
Anthony Bourdain: "I would counter Jonathan's argument [factory farming is unconscionable] just with one word: bacon. It's so delicious."
Jonathan Safran Foer: "I have a counter to that, which is I would say, sex, it's so wonderful. That doesn't mean we have sex with everyone we want to have sex with."
Bourdain: "Not simultaneously, no."
Foer: "Anyway, it's funny that the argument for refraining from eating meat is often cast as a sentimental one, where I would say it's exactly the opposite. Sentimentality is the valuing of our feelings over our reason."
Spinach doesn't have an intestinal tract:
Caller's question: "Isn't the leading source of E. coli over the last five years been through agriculture, leafy vegetables, red peppers and even peanut butter?
Nancy Rodriguez (Nutritionist): "... there have been recalls with regards to E. coli contamination of lettuce and vegetables. Yes, even peanut butter."
Jonathan Safran Foer: "Nancy, surely you know the CDC has said all of those, the primary source was animal agriculture. It may be true that the vehicle was spinach. But if we're wondering where e. Coli -- we know where e. Coli comes from, right? It comes from poop. It's not coming from the spinach. It's coming from run off from factory farms.
One E. coli test for every 3.3 million pounds of red meat does not make an effective testing scheme:
Patrick Boyle (American Meat Institute): "The Department of Agriculture conducts 15,000 tests for E. coli each year."
American Meat Institute: "In 2007, the US produced 48.8 billion pounds of red meat."
Me: Does that mean that the USDA conducts one E. coli test for every 3.3 million pounds of red meat processed in the US annually? Recalling that it takes only about 10 E. coli bacteria to make someone ill, with upwards of 100,000 that can fit on the head of a pin, I'd say we're missing a LOT of E. coli.
Why we need one agency that oversees food safety:
Bill Marler: "I think what the lay person needs to do is spend a little bit more time putting pressure on their Congressmen and Senators to pass some food safety legislation that's been hung up in the House and the Senate."
Patrick Boyle (American Meat Institute): "The legislation actually applies to companies that produce food under FDA's jurisdiction, not meat or poultry companies."


Steve Parker, M.D. said...

Sounds like a fascinating series! I'm surprised this came from Larry King.


Bix said...

Larry King performed a public service by getting the topic of food safety out to millions of viewers.

There were too many guests for the half-hour show, though. You could have had 3 shows - food safety, factory farming, and the nutritional merits of meat-eating.

Although, when it comes to food safety, whether you eat meat or not is beside the point. Right now, no matter what you eat, it's like playing roulette. Who knows who'll get the contaminated burger, or lettuce leaf, or tomato.

Mr. Boyle's (from the Meat Institute) comment that new food safety legislation doesn't apply to him is deplorable. It should apply to him, especially when the pathogen on leafy greens arises from the guts of his cows.

We need one food safety agency in this country.

Anonymous said...

We need an Ecoli infected boy to float away in a ballon for this issue to get the comprehensive coverage it deserves. Heene family, Take II--Action.

I'm abstaining from corn fed hamburgers indefinitely. Been 6 months fast food free and counting. There's no going back for me. Much healthier buying grass fed burgers or grinding your own cuts. Nutritionally grass-fed is a better choice when eating higher fat cuts like hamburger, I would think. Trying to cut my meat consumption overall.

virginia said...

Unfortunately, it's going to take the death of someone close to a well-known public figure, from e.coli, for significant and meaningful legislation to take place.

Five years after Secretary of State Baker's granddaughter (Virginia Graeme Baker) drowned in a jacuzzi, this was enacted:

There were "hot tub" drownings prior to her unfortunate death, but it took his overwhelming grief, coupled with his substantial power, to make it a national priority.

ElDoubleVee said...

The nutritionist was a corporate mouthpiece who is paid well to go on these types of shows and sprout the corporate line. She should be ashamed of what she is doing. Not at all believable. It's a wonder she didn't hawk Cheerios for low cholesterol.

Anonymous said...

I googled the nutritionist, Nancy Rodriguez, and surprise, surprise, she has received thousands of $ from beef associations;

"Eating Animals" by Jonathan Safran Foer is a must read!

Bix said...

Re: Rodriguez' funding ... And dairy and egg groups too. Wow. I guess scruples are quaint.