Lately, the recall of more than one million pounds of ground beef has left consumers worried about their health. Is this the right time to change the way meat is raised and consumed in the United States? According to Rich Goldstein, Yes!
The owner of the healthy cooking school Natural Epicurean Academy of Culinary Arts in Austin, Texas, Rich Goldstein, who also has a master’s in public health, says that it’s important to make necessary changes in order to stop this food recall system. Goldstein says, “Nowadays, the food recall is getting so common. As a sensible people of the society, we must not accept low-quality food. It’s time to make systematic changes and in order to do such changes, it is essential to learn more about factory farmed meat.”
Below are the four most important things that people should be aware of about the factory farmed meat are found:
- E. coli: E. coli is a dangerous bacterium that spreads very fast. Due to the growing demand of meat, slaughterhouses work at a larger scale and process huge amounts of meat at once. When the work is done in large batches, the chances of meat contamination are likely to increase. Usually, meat is contaminated by bacteria during slaughter or packaging. This in turns causes the massive outbreak of E. coli, which spreads relatively faster and makes dozens of people sick much even before you are aware of the contamination. Also, the contamination renders million pounds of beef unhealthy that need to be recalled because of the safety issues. To know in detail about how food is contaminated during processing, you may like to visit the website of The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The concerned authorities are still examining the reason for the recent E. coli outbreak. However, usually such outbreaks are caused when pathogens from slaughtered animals contaminates the food even before they are packaged and shipped.
Food contamination is getting very common these days. Researches indicate that more than fifty percent of beef samples have been found to be contaminated with fecal matter. A few of the reasons for food contamination include the use of dirty and contaminated water, inappropriate handling, and any other actions that causes fecal matter to blend with the packaged food products.
- Antibiotics: Factory farms keep their animals healthy by adding antibiotics into their feed. Antibiotics prevent animals getting sick; however, these antibiotics are indirectly consumed by consumers. Now, consumers may wonder how this is harming them. It is important to note that when administered by doctors, antibiotics helped people fight majority of dangerous diseases. Studies indicate that consumers are consuming about three million pounds of antibiotics through the processed food. Thus, taking antibiotics in the form of medication and indirectly through food products result in their overuse and making people resistant to antibiotics.
Unfortunately and terrifyingly, the use of antibiotic in factory farming is exceeding its normal limit to promote weight gain of livestock and protect them from diseases. The overuse of antibiotics, in turn, is making strains of bacteria more aggressive, which lead to increased incidence of diseases and enhanced cost of health care. Moreover, it is indirectly putting consumers at health risks in the future.
- Unhealthy and Cheap Feed For Animals: Factory farmed animals are fed cheap animal feed products including waste material and garbage too. Thus, in turn, consumers are also eating parts of such cheap and unhealthy feed. Moreover, the large portion of feed given to animals is unnatural for them. Usually, livestock eat grass and slowly gains weight. However, in a factory farm, animals are fed grains so that they gain weight in lesser time. These grains have other unnatural effects on the cattle as well. Because the cattle’s feed is altered, the microbe’s make-up of their intestinal tract also changes and makes the intestine more acidic. Acidic environment in the intestine promotes the growth of many disease-causing pathogens including E. coli and help them survive.
- Stress: When livestock are stressed, the meat they produce is usually deficient in many important vitamins. Studies that have been done in this regard indicate the adverse effects of stress, which usually occurs from the production process, on animals. There are studies that show that grass-fed beef have four hundred percent more amounts of vitamin E and three hundred percent more amounts of omega-3 fatty acids as compared to the factory farmed meat.
With so much risk imposed on our health and as health-conscious individuals, we must start to question the cost and safety measures practiced in factory farming. Also, before things get better, we should make healthier food choices such as including organic and plant-based food products in our diet. If possible, growing our own food is the best healthier alternative.