Mike Anderson, a medical doctor and proponent of a plant-based diet, created this documentary titled simply ‘Eating‘ (3rd edition). The premise is simple: eating is killing us. The standard American diet (known by the ironic acronym SAD) is so full of poor quality animal products, processed foods, and chemicals that eating actually kills two out of three people (via diseases, disorders, and pathogens). My favorite quote from the film? Regarding food pathogens, Anderson says bluntly,
“There’s animal excrement in your food. Modern meat is so burdened with animal waste […] that packaged meat carries a warning label to wash everything that has come into contact with [it]. The reason you have to cook it so long is to make sure the animal excrement is safe for you to eat. It’s no longer a question of whether there is manure in your meat, it’s a question of how to deal with it. The meat industry’s answer is to nuke the whole package with radiation. Now all you have to do is get used to the taste of dead bacteria from fried farm animal feces.”
icky icky icky. I can’t think of a more convincing reason to not eat meat (at least conventional, American meats).
Along these same lines, I recently read on Marion Nestle’s blog, Food Politics, that the USDA is spending 2 million dollars for a ‘food safety’ campaign. Of course, food safety measures are important in all kitchens: wash your hands, cook your food, cool it properly, don’t let the kitty on the counter. This knowledge is common sense for the majority of cooks and food workers. BUT! The real issue, which this campaign totally ignores, is that food is clearly contaminated before it even comes to our grocery store. Food production in this country is so centralized, so focused on ‘efficiency’ that safety is often a sidelined concern. How does bacteria (mostly from poop) get in our food? Bad handling by under-paid workers, forced to work ever faster for stagnant wages, factory farm run-off into local watersheds, and (hormone & antibiotic) contaminated feces which makes its way through the entire ecosystem. Food safety should begin with food production, not be solely dependent upon consumers sanitizing their entire kitchen after prepping feces-coated meat. Marion Nestle eloquently ends her post like this:
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