9 Nastiest Things in the Meat You Eat
Recently, the US Department of Agriculture announced plans
to "relax" federal meat and poultry inspections, allowing meat
processors greater leeway in policing themselves, already the
agricultural trend. Most food activists ask how standards could be
relaxed any further when drug residues, heavy metals, cleaning supplies,
gasses, nitrites, hormones and other unwanted guests contaminate the
meat supply. They are almost all unlabeled.
Is seafood safer? Dream on. Mercury-filled tuna is what inspired Fischer Stevens to make the Oscar-winning documentary
The Cove, about the Japanese dolphin-fishing industry when he personally came down
with mercury poisoning. The Chicago Tribune, New York Times and
Consumer Reports have reported high mercury levels in almost all red
lean and fatty tuna tested, in recent years.
Aquaculture is so festooned with antibiotics, veterinary drugs and
pesticides that it can make factory farming look green. Commercial
shrimp production, for example, "begins with urea, superphosphate, and
diesel, then progresses to the use of piscicides (fish-killing chemicals
like chlorine and rotenone), pesticides and antibiotics (including some
that are banned in the U.S.), and ends by treating the shrimp with
sodium tripolyphosphate (a suspected neurotoxicant), Borax, and
occasionally caustic soda," says a review of the book,
Bottomfeeder: How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood.
Meat contaminants are not likely to go away because they stem from Big
Meat's desire to maximize profits by growing animals faster, squeezing
them into small living spaces and keeping meat looking "fresh" on store
shelves longer. Here is a list of the worst offenders.