Meat regulations lax

The public is the sacrificial cow being led to slaughter all in the name of profit and ownership of our food by big business

I have been reading with interest the news about the E. coli outbreak that happened at the same time that Health Canada was making news regarding the updated infant feeding guidelines recommending feeding six-month-old babies meat. I wonder how a six-month-old baby’s immune system would handle the deadly form of E. coli that is currently in our food system.

I also love the way the media and politicians refer to the source of the E. coli as a contaminant. The truth is the source of the E. coli is the cows manure. I would like to use a more common word but I will be politically correct and use the word manure.

If the meat did not come into contact with the cow manure, E. coli would not be a problem. They also do not mention that the feeding system used to produce the meat most Canadians eat uses grain or corn, which is not a natural food for cattle to eat. Cattle must be slowly introduced to corn and grain as a source of food otherwise they will die. The truth is that the grain diet slowly destroys the cattle’s own liver and digestive system. If they were not slaughtered they would probably not survive on a diet of grain. It is grain feeding that created the deadly strain of 0157H7 E. coli, grass-fed beef do not have the same strain of E. coli.

Little discussion is given to the fact that workers at XL were processing 4,500 cattle a day Broken down, that gave workers 35 seconds to gut a cow, change knives and get the next cow into position to start all over again. Cattle coming from feed lots are covered in manure, not only because they stand in their own manure up to their bellies at some lots, but also they are transported in double-decker trailers where the manure and urine flows down onto the cattle below.

Don’t forget the manure is in the intestinal tract which is being removed from the animal, how many are split open spreading manure onto the worker, and work area? How many times do the workers not change knives? How can a worker ensure their own safety working under this pressure of time performance? Sharp knives, the threat of E. coli, and yet our agricultural minister says our system is working. Well, would it not make more sense to test meat products before they are distributed to the public as opposed to after?

In fact, Rick Holley, food science expert from the University of Manitoba, says that CFIA should not have a zero tolerance for the 0157H7 strain of E. coli, that the consumer should be aware of the risk and be cooking their meat to the correct temperature to kill the E. coli. In other words sanitize the manure so it is edible. Provincial plants do not even test for 0157H7 E. coli. About four per cent of all cattle have this deadly strain of E. coli. The U.S. has a zero tolerance, that is why the E. coli was discovered by the U.S. before it was discovered in Canada.

What about the fact that meat touches your hands, your countertop and sometimes other food while it is packaged, transported and handled before it reaches the cooking surface. Should stores not have warnings to inform consumers that the meat is not tested for 0157H7 E. coli and the meat can contain life-threatening E. coli and needs to be handled like a toxic product?

What about the fact that XL meats provides one-third of the beef products to Canada. Eighteen hundred products recalled. Tens of thousands of animals were killed only to be thrown into the dump. One-third, why such a monopoly? Money, that is why. Big business wants to own food, and they are getting very close to their goal. We need to go back to small business and slaughter houses such as we had before the government in their wisdom brought in regulations such as the meat inspector had to have a separate washroom from workers? If we had small slaughter houses, recalls would only affect a small quantity of meat as opposed to one-third of Canada’s beef supply. Hamburger would come from one cow instead of up to 10, 20 who knows how many different animals. Industrialization of our food puts us at risk every time we approach the meat counter at the supermarket.

I believe that the public health and risk of death is considered as collateral damage by big business and the public is the sacrificial cow being led to slaughter all in the name of profit and ownership of our food by big business. Shop local and support small farmers. Avoid big business and their agenda of profit before people and humane treatment of animals.

Theresa Nolet


West Bench