To the Editor:

According to the lead story in yesterday’s (Sept. 8) Washington Post, the meat inspection program that USDA plans to roll out in meat and poultry plants nationwide has repeatedly failed to stop production of contaminated meat.

The program allows meat producers to increase the speed of processing lines and replace USDA safety inspectors with their own employees.

But plants operating under this program have experienced some of the worst health and safety violations that include failure to remove fecal matter and partly digested food, according to USDA inspector general.

These contaminants may contain complex strains of deadly E. coli and listeria.

Traditionally, USDA has catered more to the interests and profitability of the meat industry than health and safety concerns of American consumers.

Consumer interests come into play only when large numbers of us get sick. Having the USDA protect consumers is like asking the fox to guard the chicken house.

The Obama administration must reallocate responsibility for consumer safety to the Food and Drug administration.

In the meantime, each of us must assume responsibility for our own safety by switching to the rich variety of plant-based meats offered in local supermarkets.

Kelvin Tinker


(2) comments


Plants take in carbon dioxide and release it as oxygen. Cows release methane gas. The way I see it, we can stop global warming by eating more meat and less salad![wink]

Dr Strangelove

I predicted we would see letter before the holidays on the evils of meat; well this is the first this season. Every time there is a meat recall or before a major Holiday we get a letter on the evils of meat. Every time there is a vegetable/fruit recall they’re silent.

As soon as I saw the title I just knew another letter from a vegetarian/vegan on the evils of meat. I think we need to have a study on vegetarian/vegan(s) because they seem to have a problem with the eating habits with other people but fail to look at their own. Maybe they should mind their own business clean out their own habits first before looking at others.

Here are some facts the Vegetarian/Vegan Food Police doesn’t tell us:

Fruit and vegetables can be as germ-laden as meat.

According to the CDC, foodborne Illnesses associated with the consumption of fresh fruits and produce account for approximately 12% of the reported foodborne illnesses in the United States. Altogether, the CDC estimates that food-borne illness causes 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths each year in the United States. And reported cases represent only a fraction of the actual number because a vast majority of sufferers don’t go to a doctor or get an exact diagnosis.

What many people don’t realize is that raw fruit and vegetables can also be risky. In a study of more than 100,000 illnesses linked to food between 1990 and 2006, they caused more problems than poultry and beef combined.

It’s much more common than you think. “Imagine you are standing around with six friends,” says Nancy Donley, board president of Stop Foodborne Illness, a nonprofit group dedicated to food safety. “Then think that one of you is going to be stricken with food poisoning this year.” Most cases causes relatively mild symptoms that resolve within a couple of days, but some are more serious. And bacteria that strong immune systems handle relatively easily can be dangerous or even deadly to vulnerable populations, including young children and those with compromised immunity.

Now the fruit and vegetable only crowd always harp on the evils of meat but they never harp that fruit and vegetables are just as deadly.

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