Iowa Judge Moves to Block Pink Slime Study
Iowa State University recently conducted a study on ‘pink slime’ in hopes of shedding light on the controversial beef additive. However, Judge Dale Ruigh from Iowa City, Iowa, decided to block the university from releasing the results of the study claiming that the report could cause “irreparable harm” to the beef company and would “damage Beef Products Inc. by revealing information about its proprietary food-processing techniques.”
So-called pink slime is added to lean, finely textured beef product. During this process the lean beef is exposed to either ammonia or citric acid to kill any bacteria in which the meat may have been exposed to during this process.
Although this additive is considered by the meat industry to be safe for consumption, public concern has grown considerably.
GAP Questions the Safety of Chemicals in Poultry Plants
The Government Accountability Project (GAP), a whistle-blower protection organization, is investigating the impact of harsh chemicals used to disinfect poultry processing plants.
Federal inspectors have agreed to team up with whistleblowers to examine the health implications related to chemical exposure for employees in these types of plants. Already, the Government Accountability Project has published two affidavits where FDA inspectors have stated there is “great concern over chemical use.”
Indeed, many of the affidavits collected over two years’ time were particularly worrisome. Some of the problems identified included leaving contaminated carcasses on the line with other birds; while employees suffering serious health problems, such as breathing problems, were unable to receive treatment.
For their part, inspectors claim their concerns and safety reports continue to be ignored or ineffectively addressed.
Many companies, meanwhile, have allegedly ignored physician’s warnings that the chemicals used during poultry processing could negatively affect employees’ health.
In one case, a company’s response to poor ventilation was to install overhead fans, which simply circulated airborne chemicals rather than expelling them.
Putting a Number on Global Food Waste
Each year, two billion tons of food will end up in the trash. To put that in perspective, two billion tons of food is equal to half of all the food produced in the world annually. It seems unbelievable that hundreds of millions of people go hungry across the globe every year while half of all food produced will end up thrown away.
The UK’s Institution of Mechanical Engineers blames the high level of food waste on a few specific factors: “Strict sell-by dates, buy-one-get-one free promotions, Western consumers’ demand for cosmetically perfect food; poor engineering and agricultural practices; inadequate infrastructure; and poor storage facilities.”
In the UK, 30 percent of crops were not harvested due to their failure to meet retailers’ exacting standards on physical appearance, while up to half the food that is bought in Europe and the U.S. is thrown away by consumers.
Arsenic In Chicken Feed?
The San Francisco Federal Court is hearing a case that claims lax federal regulators allowed arsenic-based additives in chicken and pig feed. Eight groups, including the Center for Food Safety, are suing the federal Department of Health and Human Services, claiming that arsenic has the potential to case cancer in humans and needs to be immediately removed from all animal feed.
In the 1940’s, arsenic was approved for use in animal feed. And “more than 70 years later, arsenic-containing feed additives— namely Roxarsone, arsanilic acid, nitarsone, and carborsone—are still used in chicken, turkey and swine production,” states the complain- ant.
In 2004 and 2005, the plaintiff tested retail products made from raw chicken and chicken used in fast food chains. The results found that chickens, which were fed food with no arsenic, had no detectible arsenic levels in the food. Chicken that had consumed feed with arsenic did have testable levels of arsenic.