Sunday, February 21, 2010

Collateral Damage

Last week, a meat packing plant in California expanded its January 18 recall to include 4,900,000 additional pounds of beef and veal, bringing the total recall from that one plant to 5,764,000 pounds.

The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service said:1
"The products are adulterated because the company made the products under insanitary conditions failing to take the steps it had determined were necessary to produce safe products."
If a cow weighs about 1,350 lbs2, and if half that weight, say 750 lbs is the amount of meat that can be "harvested" from one cow3 then the equivalent of about 7,685 cows were born, fed, slaughtered, and processed for what? What exactly is the fate of recalled meat in this country? Cat food?

According to food safety attorney Bill Marler:4
"Almost ten million pounds of potentially deadly meat has been recalled since President Obama took office."
That's a lot of hard work, a lot of precious water and land resources, a lot of corn/soy and attendant fertilizers/herbicides/pesticides, a lot of greenhouse gases - a lot of life - sacrificed for carelessness.
1 USDA/FSIS News Release, February 12, 2010: California Firm Expands Recall Of Beef Products Due To Possible Adulteration
2 Paul Roberts, "The End of Food," p. 73
3 University of Missouri, "An Analysis of Missouri's Competitive Position in the Beef Industry," June 2009.
4 Meat Recalls in the Age of Obama, MarlerBlog


Bradley said...

Your number assumes that only one cow contributed to each 750 lb. of bad meat. What is multiple cows contributed to a batch of, say, hamburger, then the number of cows sacrificed could be much larger.

Bix said...

This study...

Centralized Meat Production: One Beef Patty Has Remnants Of How Many Cows In It?

... found that parts of over 1000 cows can make up one 4 ounce burger.

Anonymous said...

nice post. thanks.