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Unsafe at Any Feed

In a national survey, fewer than half of the participants realized meat contaminated with fecal food-poisoning bacteria such as Salmonella can still legally be sold. Rather than producing safe products, the meat industry shifts the responsibility for safety onto the consumer.

June 19, 2012 |
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Acknowledgements

Image thanks to sahlgoode.

Transcript

Most of the U.S. population suffers an acute diarrheal illness every year, and according to a recent survey most people correctly identified food as the most common source—but , fewer than half, 45%, believed it's legal for grocery stores to sell meat with food poisonging bacteria on it. You can’t sell unsafe cars, you can’t sell unsafe toys, how could they possibly sell unsafe meat.
They do it by blaming the consumer. As USDA poultry microbiologist Nelson Cox said: “Raw meats are not idiot-proof. They can be mishandled and when they are, it’s like handling a hand grenade. If you pull the pin, somebody’s going to get hurt.” See if we get sick, it’s our fault.
While some may question the wisdom of selling hand grenades in the supermarket, Cox disagrees: “I think the consumer has the most responsibility but refuses to accept it.” That’s like a car company saying yeah, we installed faulty brakes, but it’s your fault for not putting your kid in a seatbelt.
 Patricia Griffin, director of Epidemiological Research at the Centers for Disease Control responded famously to this kind of blame-the-victim attitude. “Is it reasonable,” she asked, ‘“that if a consumer undercooks a hamburger…their three-year-old dies?”

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Serena

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Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

Industry experts, in fact, admit it's too expensive for the industry not to sell contaminated chicken—see Fecal Bacteria Survey. For questionable steps the meat industry is taking to mediate the threat see Viral Meat Spray and Maggot Meat Spray. The risks of handling fresh meat are discussed in Food Poisoning Bacteria Cross-Contamination. There are 25 other videos on food poisoning and hundreds of other videos on more than a thousand subjects if you'd like to check them out.

Please be sure to check out my associated blog posts for more context: Why is it Legal to Sell Unsafe Meat?Is Coconut Oil Bad For You?Which Pets Improve Children's Health?Why Is Selling Salmonella-Tainted Chicken Legal?, and Probiotics and Diarrhea

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Industry
    experts, in fact, admit it’s too expensive for the industry not to sell
    contaminated chicken—see Fecal
    Bacteria Survey
    . For questionable steps the meat industry is taking
    to mediate the threat see Viral Meat
    Spray
    and Maggot
    Meat Spray
    . The risks of handling fresh meat are discussed in Food
    Poisoning Bacteria Cross-Contamination
    . There are 25 other
    videos on foodborne illness
    and hundreds of other videos on more than a thousand
    subjects
    .

    • HemoDynamic, M.D.

      The question that keeps popping up in my head is, How would these ‘educated’ meat folk respond if their own child died secondary to undercooked meat?   Would they still blame themselves (the parent) as the cause of their child demise? 
      Would they get up and head back to their meat industry job and continue the same practices turning a blind eye to the situation?

  • Thea

    I like how this video puts things into perspective.  What this video does not say, but what another video does explain, is that other countries do NOT have this problem.  In other countries, it IS illegal to sell this kind of meat.  If you haven’t seen it, check out Dr. Greger’s video on “Fecal Bacteria Survey” which Dr. Greger links to in his post.

  • Stefan Juhl M.D.

    What a great food meat is! If you handle it poorly, you are at risk of dying within hours or days by shitting yourself to death, if you fry it too much, because you want to avoid dying in the bathroom, you get coloncancer, if you you cook it perfectly, you are at risk of dying prematurely of stoke, heartdisease or cancer. The answer: Go vegan.

    • HemoDynamic, M.D.

      Well said!

    • Movies989

      Awesome! I wish the people who “love meat too much to stop eating it” would read this!