Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Cloned Meat, GMO and Pink Slime

It was Zirnstein who, in an USDA memo, first coined the term “pink slime” and is now coming forward to say he won’t buy it.
“It’s economic fraud,” he told ABC News. “It’s not fresh ground beef. … It’s a cheap substitute being added in.”
Zirnstein and his fellow USDA scientist, Carl Custer, both warned against using what the industry calls “lean finely textured beef,” widely known now as “pink slime,” but their government bosses overruled them.
According to Custer, the product is not really beef, but “a salvage product … fat that had been heated at a low temperature and the excess fat spun out.”
The “pink slime” is made by gathering waste trimmings, simmering them at low heat so the fat separates easily from the muscle, and spinning the trimmings using a centrifuge to complete the separation. Next, the mixture is sent through pipes where it is sprayed with ammonia gas to kill bacteria. The process is completed by packaging the meat into bricks. Then, it is frozen and shipped to grocery stores and meat packers, where it is added to most ground beef.
The “pink slime” does not have to appear on the label because, over objections of its own scientists, USDA officials with links to the beef industry labeled it meat.
ABC News reported the woman who made the decision to OK the mix is a former undersecretary of agriculture, Joann Smith. It was a call that led to hundreds of millions of dollars for Beef Products Inc., the makers of pink slime.
When Smith stepped down from the USDA in 1993, BPI’s principal major supplier appointed her to its board of directors, where she made at least $1.2 million over 17 years.
Most of the genetically-modified (GM) corn products forced on American consumers today are hidden in processed foods in the form of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), corn oil, corn starch, and various other corn-based additives. But soon to be available at a Walmart near you is Monsanto's Bt sweet corn, the agri-giant's first ever GM corn product made available to consumers as whole ears right on the cob in the produce section-- and like with all other GMOs, neither Walmart nor Monsanto has any intention of labeling it.
That the Food and Drug Administration is opposed to labeling foods that are genetically modified is no surprise anymore, but a report in the Washington Post indicates the FDA won’t even allow food producers to label their foods as being free of genetic modification.
In reporting that the FDA will likely not require the labeling of genetically modified salmon if it approves the food product for consumption, the Post‘s Lyndsey Layton notes that the federal agency “won’t let conventional food makers trumpet the fact that their products don’t contain genetically modified ingredients.” This is despite the fact that a variety of polls show US consumers what the foods labeled. 
In October The Center for Food Safety, a non-profit organization, has issued a petition to the FDA to change their regulations and require all food containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to be clearly labeled. The petition legally requires a response from the FDA and is the first step towards suing the government. Watch the Center for Food Safety’s comedic commercial aimed at raising public awareness in the video below. The lack of labeling may have helped the US become the global center for GMO development, but it looks like advocacy groups and consumers are fed up with the secrecy surrounding how we are fed.
Peru recently called for a 10 year moratorium on the planting of genetically modified food crops.  France just upheld a ban on the planting of genetically modified maize.  All GMOs are outlawed in Japan and Ireland.  One of the world’s leading bio-tech companies has completely abandoned the European market due to public and farmer opposition.  That company is Bayer, the same company that made cyanide gas for the concentration camps under Hitler.  Bayer’s GMO division has relocated to the Raleigh-Durham area in North Carolina, finding a more favorable business climate here. GMOs are viewed with extreme hostility in all of the European Union.  If a product contains even a trace amount of GMO material it must be labeled as such.  China and Russia have severely limited them, China having just announced that after a seven year long study they will not develop genetically engineered rice.  Not so in the United States, where the vast majority of GMO research, development and production occurs.
Cloned Meat
In February 2012, the FDA has claimed that cloned animals are safe for human consumption!
What is a cloned animal? Using Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT), the genes of a donor animal are inserted into an egg cell which has had its own nucleus removed. This new egg cell is then implanted into a surrogate where it will develop. This was how Dolly the sheep circa 1996, the first ever cloned animal, entered into existence. Technically speaking then, a clone is a genetically identical copy of the donor animal, its identical twin, simply just born at a different time.
According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, approximately 600 cloned cattle, pigs, and goat were present in the United States in 2008. Today, March 2012, it is highly likely that the offspring of these cloned animals have already entered into the U.S food supply and Canadian food supply.
What is the problem? Like with many other products, cloned animal, cloned animal offspring, and clone products do not have to be labeled. Also, independent studies question the safety of the meat! Public backlash, evident from the Consumers Union poll in 2007, found that 89% of Americans want cloned products to be labeled, and 69% of consumers were concerned about the safety of consuming cloned animals and their products.
FDA however suggests that there is no need to labeling because clones are genetically identical to donor animals; hence there is no difference in the food composition.
The Centre for Food Safety sure thinks that there is something wrong! They believe that the FDA’s approval of cloned products “without mandating further study is clearly arbitrary, capricious, and irresponsible.” Here are some troubling facts of FDA’s approval (to read the full CFS report, click here)
•Several defects have been found in clones that have NEVER before been seen in normal animals!
•FDA approval of clone, their offspring, and products were approved with very little to no data whatsoever. Only one toxicology study was looked at which examined 20 rats that ate cloned meat and milk products for 14 weeks. The largest study reviewed looked at milk from 15 cloned cattle, which showed that cloned milk was significantly different in composition.
•FDA did not do its due diligence by conducting its own studies, but gathered information from 10 small studies conducted for the most part by cloning companies

If I am what I eat I am not sure what I am anymore.

1 comment:

  1. That photo of the "pink slime" is false. It's a product used in making chicken niggets.