Cattle rustling is an old-timey regional term for one of the oldest crimes in human civilization: walking off with someone else’s livestock. It turns out that when animals have been bred to be docile and to trust humans, it’s not hard to drive off with them. Auction houses don’t ask for proof that the cattle you’re selling are actually yours, there are no standardized ear tags, and the unwitting public ends up eating the evidence. [More]
A federal grand jury has indicted the co-owners and two employees of the California slaughterhouse at the center of a massive beef recall earlier this year, and we’re now getting a better idea about how the plant allegedly got away with processing “diseased and unsound animals” that were “unfit for human food.” [More]
It’s all so clear, in the dream: I can see the smoke rising from the grill, hear the sizzle of juicy steaks and almost smell the delicious aroma of chargrilled meat wafting on the warm air. And while warmer weather might be just within our grasp, the beef part of that winter fever dream will come at a higher cost than in the past. [More]
For many discerning customers, a burrito is not just a burrito — it’s a thing of culinary beauty that tastes even better when the ingredients are organic, come from a farm nearby and were raised happily. But what if not all of those things can come together, what’s a business owner to do in a quest to please customers? [More]
A California meat plant that was temporarily shut down this week had some pretty big name clients, including In-N-Out (if you aren’t familiar, just ask any one who has ever been to California and will swear up and down that “oh, man, they have the best burgers in the whole entire universe”) and the U.S. school lunch program. From what an animal rights group is alleging, it sounds like cows were having an awful time at the plant. [More]
For those of you who are concerned about the amount of antibiotics being given to the cows, chickens, pigs and turkeys that provide (or end up as) the food on your plate, here’s some good news. The Food and Drug Administration has announced a new regulation that prohibits “extra-label” uses of a popular class of antibiotics. [More]
Greyhound doesn’t just transport people across the continent: it transports cargo, too. Yesterday morning, strange canisters that smelled bad and gave off steam fell off a bus in Nashville, confusing emergency services. Were they bombs? Alien probes? No, containers of liquid nitrogen filled with bull semen bound for a cattle breeding facility in Texas. [More]
Another day, another mass animal death. Following the instant departures of — among other groups of animals — North Carolinan pelicans, Italian doves, Oceanic fish and Tucsonan bats, 200 cows in Wisconsin have died, most likely due to an infection. The hamburgers in training never saw it coming. [More]
Before you bite into that juicy hamburger, you might want to better understand how the meat industry creates, tests (or doesn’t test), then distributes ground beef. A detailed investigation by Michael Moss at the New York Times proves eating it is “still a gamble. Neither the system meant to make the meat safe, nor the meat itself, is what consumers have been led to believe.”
The USDA has appealed a district court decision that would allow meatpackers to conduct their own tests for mad cow disease, alleging that such testing would only create “false assurances.” The original plaintiff, Creekstone Farms, wants to test all of its cattle for mad cow but the USDA has prevented it from buying the testing kits.
A reader sent us the contents of a Better Business Bureau complaint filed against Taco Bell. It describes how a customer tried repeatedly to find out what grade beef Taco Bell uses in its food, and how nobody at the company was able or willing to provide an answer. Not surprisingly, the BBB complaint also went unanswered. Let’s just hope they’re not sourcing their beef from forklift cattle, which is like downer cattle but has odd prong-shaped bruises on the side.
The Humane Society of America has sued the USDA in an attempt to close a loophole that allows downer cows who aren’t otherwise ill into the food supply. They claim the loophole increases the risk of introducing mad cow disease to humans, and leads to abuse against the cattle—like with, oh, say, a forklift. [Wall Street Journal]
The TSA is testing a new crowd management system at two airports in Denver and Salt Lake City that they hope will make the security process less troublesome. No, the new system isn’t less invasive or more security-sensible, but it does give families with kids/strollers/bags their own lane, both for their sanity and for ours. Early reports indicate families are happy with it but too many casual travelers think they’re experts and head to the black diamond lane, which is only for people who walk briskly and frown a lot.
Savvy and sensitive supermarket shoppers love informative labels that also make them feel good about their meat purchases. Phrases like “free-range” or “grass-fed.” Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, knowing the animal lived a naturalistic, humane life in the great outdoors before meeting its fate on the kill floor. Viva cognitive dissonance!
Despite the fact that over the last couple of months there have been several reports of U.S. cattle infected with Mad Cow’s Disease, the USDA intends to ramp down its testing of American cattle herds, not ramp it up.