Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Do You Know What's In That Burger?

Warning: Do not read this if you are about to enjoy a meal. On the other hand, if that meal may consist of fast food or any other form of industrial meat- please do read this pronto. It just may save your life. After reading the recent New York Times article on E. coli in industrial beef, you may change your eating habits. As in, never eat industrial meat again. The heroine of this article is Stephanie Smith, a young dance instructor nearly killed from eating a single Cargill hamburger. She remains paralyzed. Others have not been so lucky. So why is this happening? Well, for one thing, the federal agencies that are supposed to be regulating the industrial meat industry are essentially impotent. The industry is just too big and too powerful to be regulated. Scary? Yes. So what is a burger-lover to do? Basically the only safe option, not to mention most environmentally-sound option, is to either make it a veggie burger or make sure the cow it came from was grass-fed. Why grass? Because most cows are fed corn, something they cannot easily digest, instead of grass. This causes very real changes in the cow's gut which allow toxic strains of E. coli to take hold, but which cannot survive in the gut of cows that eat only grass.

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