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Bushite-Like Meat Packers: Want to Continue Carbon-Monoxide-Treated Meat!

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Professor Emeritus Peter Bagnolo       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   2 comments

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Bushite-Like Meat Packers: Want to Continue Carbon-Monoxide-Treated Meat! If you believe in Eternal Life, then you may like this story. The kind folks at the packaged meat industry are trying to give dead cow, pork fish and other meats eternal redness and life at the cash register. Read and prosper.

The meat industry has covertly begun to gas-up meat packages with carbon monoxide. The gas, they say which is "harmless to health at the levels being used, gives meat a bright pink color." It reminds me of a conversation between Hall Of Fame Cubs manager Joe McCarthy and Hall Of Fame Cubs Slugger Hack Wilson, who had prodigious hitting power and a great sense of humor, to say nothing of a more prodigious hankering for hard liquor. Joe it seems was worried about the great slugger's drinking and asked him to stop in his office for moment before a game. Joe wanted to show Hack the ravages of alcohol, so Joe took a worm, placed it in a glass, and then poured a shot of Red-eye on it-the worm expired forthwith. Joe looked up at Hack and said, "So, now slugger, what did you learn from this demonstration?" Hack, still looking at the shriveled worm, smiled, innocently and replied, "That if you drink as much as I do, you will never suffer from worms." That clever twist is far less sardonic and certainly less potentially deadly than that which the packaged meat moguls are attempting and it appears, at last one person in the FDA, is allowing. Read on, because to them we are the worms and they are pouring the far worse than Red-eye sauce on us.

I spoke today with Nancy Donely, Board President, and past corporate President of S.T.O.P., Safe Tables Our Priority, in North Brook Illinois, a not for profit food safety organization, which has nothing to gain but our good health. Nancy became involved in safe food advocacy when her six-year-old son, Alex, died in 1993 from E. coli O157:H7-contaminated meat.

S.T.O.P. as well as the CFA, Consumers Federation of America repudiate the claims of the industry, whose "testing" was done at their own meat factory facility right after slaughter, packaging and cooling, with a with a low ambient Temperature of 50 degrees, hardly a true test. A true test would have been done at several facilities including some retail stores after delivery, display, and handling, and some of the tests should have been made at standard room temperature in homes, after sitting for half an hour, as in real life in preparation for cooking. While we are busy cooking their meat, they are busy cooking their plans to sell us possibly spoiled product disguised as red meat.

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Steve Kay of Cattle Buyers Weekly, a source which tracks the industry of modified, packaged meats, said that Tyson Foods, one of the big Three meat packers which the FDA has allowed, sans FDA testing, (Does Bush want to poison every American?) to use carbon monoxide just completed a $100 million plant in Texas (where else?) to produce more "case-ready meat" brings the market to $10 Billion this year.

Donna Rosenbaum, also of Safe Tables Our Priority, in North Brook, Illinois, says, "We feel it's a huge consumer right-to-know issue." Her advocacy group was started after 1992 and 1993 when hundreds of children became sick and four children died after eating tainted hamburgers from Jack in the Box restaurants. Last month, Safe Tables Our Priority (S.T.O.P.) along with the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), wrote to the FDA in requesting a ban on the use of Carbon Monoxide in making meat look safe when it may not be.

On, January 17, 2006, The CFA, joined with S.T.O.P. to attempt to force the FDA to rescind its GRAS label for Carbon Monoxide use in packaged meats. Below are quotes from their cover letter. "In the letter, CFA and S.T.O.P. state that FDA's acceptance of the use of carbon monoxide to displace oxygen in some packaging of case-ready red meat and ground meat products presents a considerable food safety concern for consumers. Carbon monoxide reacts with myoglobin in the meat to produce a bright red color, typically an indication of freshness in meat. However, this coloration has been found to last beyond the time of spoilage, thus masking the meat's true color and potentially misleading consumers into thinking that the meat is fresher than it actually is. The use of carbon monoxide thus hides the visual clues that consumers use to determine the safety and freshness of their meat.

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While carbon monoxide itself may not be dangerous to health, CFA and S.T.O.P. hold that it should not be "generally regarded as safe" when it is used to mask the fact that meat is old enough to have lost its natural red color. Older meat is more likely to have higher levels of spoilage and pathogenic bacteria. A bright red color produced by carbon monoxide may disguise the fact that a meat product has been subject to temperature abuse and therefore could carry a heavier load of pathogens.

CFA and S.T.O.P. urge FDA to prohibit the use of carbon monoxide in the packaging of fresh meat and rescind its "no objection" stance on GRAS notifications for Pactiv Corporation and Precept Foods, Inc." # # # # Consumer Federation of America is a non-profit association of 300 consumer groups, representing more than 50 million Americans. It was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, education and advocacy. The Food Policy Institute at CFA works to promote a safer, healthier and more affordable food supply.

Safe Tables Our Priority is a national, non-profit volunteer health organization dedicated to preventing suffering, illness and death due to foodborne illness by advocating sound public policy, increasing awareness and education, and providing victim assistance.

There are strong and legitimate questions about how the FDA has weighed companies' proposals for use of carbon monoxide in meat packaging.

About four or five years ago, Pactiv Corporation out of Lake Forest, Illinois, pressured the FDA to declare the approach, as GRAS "Generally Recognized As Safe." This designation allows some companies to skip over testing, and also public review or formal FDA approval. This, GRAS, is a practice that should be stopped, especially in light of the hundreds of children ill and several dying back in 1992-1993. Whether or not they were using CO (CARBON MONOXIDE) back then, whatever they were doing was not safe enough so why would we believe what they do now, in a friendly to-corporate-criminal-and/or-irresponsable-behavior-administration?

The FDA gave Pactiv tacit approval to use Carbon Monoxide in 2002. Two years later, Tyson and Precept Foods received similar approval, and about the same time, approval was given for carbon monoxide GRAS for keeping tuna looking fresh. In addition to safety concerns about the meat, I wonder how safe it is for the workers who have to deal with the carbon monoxide applications-how safe is their workplace. Do they have a union? Has anyone tested the air quality for CO in the packaged meat work place?

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Back to my lead line: The meat industry has covertly begun to gas-up meat packages with carbon monoxide.

Did the FDA ask any scientific questions, about Carbon Monoxide meat falsification of color, at all? This sounds amazingly like the illogic secrecy and untruth that hustled America into the Iraq Slaughterhouse.

Estimates have been made that use of the Carbon Monoxide will save the industry the nearly $1 billion it claims to lose yearly by having to discount or throw away meat that they say is reasonably fresh...perfectly safe but no longer attractive to buyers. People, however, depend upon the color of meat for verification of freshness, especially since it is plastic wrapped and even if it were not they would have difficulty smelling it amidst so many other fragrances and scents in supermarkets these days, blocking the olfactory system it would be hard to tell the odor anyway to help them avoid spoiled meat. Besides the meat is packed in plastic wrapped sealed containers and it is impossible to smell it. Many critics with common sense are rebutting the claims of lobbyists, who should have no voice because they are a good many steps below politicians, who are far below and drug companies for honesty. The FDA, the meat industry, and their paid "supporters" are all in it for their usual reason, profits. Critics say that the meat packers have violated their own rules because they never evaluated the impact of CO on consumer safety

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Professor Bagnolo has majored in: Cultural Anthropology, Architectural design, painting, creative writing. As a child prodigy, abed with polio for almost two years, he was offered an opportunity to skip three grades at age 8.
Later He was a (more...)

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