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Meat Wagon

Ammonia-treated burgers, tainted with E. coli!

In Meat Wagon, we round up the latest outrages from the meat and livestock industries. --------- Few who saw the documentary Food Inc. will forget the scene involving Beef Products Inc., a South Dakota company that makes a widely used hamburger filler product. No other industrial-meat company allowed director Robert Kenner to enter the shop floor with his cameras. In sharp contrast, a Beef Products executive invited the Food Inc. crew to record his company's inner workings. The man is clearly proud of his company's product. "We think we can lessen the incidence of E. Coli 0157:H7," he says. The …

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Meat Wagon: "Treatment failure" edition

Antibiotic-resistant salmonella, school lunches, and Cargill’s dodgy California beef plant

In Meat Wagon, we round up the latest outrages from the meat and livestock industries. --------- Oh, dear. This case of salmonella poisoning seems to be resisting treatments.  • The USDA reports that a notorious California beef-packing plant run by agribusiness giant Cargill has yet again had to recall ground beef tainted with antibiotic-resistant salmonella--or, as the agency described it: This particular strain of Salmonella Newport is resistant to many commonly prescribed drugs, which can increase the risk of hospitalization or possible treatment failure in infected individuals. Treatment failure...isn't that a fancy way of saying death? The USDA press release …

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Meat Wagon

Uh-oh: Tamiflu-resistant swine flu rears up in the U.S., U.K.

In Meat Wagon, we round up the latest outrages from the meat and livestock industries. --------- Ever since evolution of the swine flu virus accelerated in 1998, virologists and veterinary-science have warned (PDF) that factory hog farms create the ideal conditions for generating novel viruses. They worried that three things would happen: That a novel swine virus would jump species and infect humans. That this species-jumping virus would efficiently spread among humans. That such a novel, "promiscuous" virus  would resist treatments. Last spring, with the onset of the HINI pandemic, the first two fears came two pass. As for the …

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Meat wagon

Why the USDA has no business overseeing conditions on factory farms, and more

In Meat Wagon, we round up the latest outrages from the meat and livestock industries. ------ USDA chief Tom Vilsack, with special friends: Will this guy ever get serious about the swine flu/swine farm link? Why isn't the federal government seriously investigating the possible CAFO-swine flu link? I've posed that question several times recently, most recently here. Now let me venture an answer. The USDA is the federal agency tasked with ensuring that practices on farms, including factory animal farms, are safe. But it's also the agency that exists to promote U.S. agricultural interests. In other words, the USDA has …

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Meat wagon

JBS: industrial meat’s new heavyweight champ

In Meat Wagon, we round up the latest outrages from the meat and livestock industries. ------ • Remember two weeks ago, when I warned that if JBS snapped up Pilgrim's Pride, four transnational giants would dominate the U.S. meat market? (I hope you noted the fancy graphic. What, you didn't? I'm reprinting it to the right, updated.) Well, Brazil-based beef behemoth JBS has announced a deal to take a two-thirds stake of struggling U.S. poultry titan Pilgrim's. (Evidently, company founder "Bo" Pilgrim couldn't stand to sever all ties with the company that he drove into bankruptcy with his relentless zeal …

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Meat wagon

If JBS-Pilgrim’s deal goes through, four mega-firms will dominate the meat landscape

In Meat Wagon, we round up the latest outrages from the meat and livestock industries. ------ Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Brazilian firm JBS--the globe's largest beef processor--was on the verge of buying U.S. chicken giant Pilgrim's Pride. Although the companies have since remained mum on the tie-up, rumors of an imminent deal continue to swirl.   While we await and announcement, it's worth considering what the U.S. meat industry would look like if JBS swallowed Pilgrim's Pride. Essentially, it would look like this: four giants (JBS, Tyson, Cargill, and Smithfield) lumbering across the landscape, …

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Meat wagon

Cargill, the National School Lunch Program, and antibiotic-resistant salmonella

 In Meat Wagon, we round up the latest outrages from the meat and livestock industries. ---------- Is antibiotic-resistant-salmonella-tainted beef what's for dinner? Standard j-school-style journalism takes a lot of lumps these days--and justifiably so. To maintain an illusion of "objectivity," traditional reporters write like above-the-fray observers merely recording "the facts"--as if choosing which facts to record weren't itself subjective. (In reality, of course, a reporter is a thinking human being trying to figure out what's going on and tell a story.) Yet sometimes, j-school style articles have a delicious subtlety. And if you know enough about the topic in question …

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Meat wagon: Antibiotic-resistant salmonella edition

Cargill plant recalls nearly a million pounds of tainted beef

Not-so-total recall: Cargill's got nearly a million pounds of tainted beef circulating.  In Meat Wagon, we round up the latest outrages from the meat and livestock industries. --------- Remember a couple of weeks ago, when news emerged that a Colorado grocery chain had churned out 466,000 pounds of beef tainted with antibiotic-resistant salmonella, sent it out to six states, and then voluntarily recalled it--but not until  weeks after several people had fallen violently ill from it? Well, they must be having some kind of competition out west, because now a California outfit called Beef Packers, owned by Cargill, the globe's …

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Meat wagon

Antibiotic-resistant salmonella burgers, with a side of flame retardants

A Colorado company recalled the equivalent of 1.86 million Quarter Pounders. In Meat Wagon, we round up the latest outrages of the meat and livestock industries. --------------------------------------- Sometimes I think I write a little too much about the meat industry. But the news it generates is so consistently grave, and so generally underreported, that I can't resist. Moreover, outbreaks of E. coli and MRSA  are really ecological markers--feedback that our way of producing meat is deeply unsustainable and really quite dangerous. We ignore these news flashes from our ecoystem at our peril. So I scribble on. Here's the latest: In …

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Meat wagon

As MRSA gets worse, the FDA discovers antibiotic abuse on factory farms [UPDATED]

Incubating chickens--and what else? FarmSanctuary.org In Meat Wagon, we round up the latest outrages of the meat and livestock industries. UPDATE below. -------------------------- A bill now circulating in the House, sponsored by Rep. Louise Slaughter (D.-NY), would limit the amount of antibiotics that can be used on factory animal farms. There's good news and bad news on that front. The bad news: "The farm lobby's opposition makes its passage unlikely," The New York Times reported Monday. The farm lobby's opposition is like that. But The Times should be more precise: it's really the agribusiness lobby--representing a few large companies--that wields …

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