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Cruel? Dangerous? 2015's Top Food Stories So Far!

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First the good news. Chipotle rocks!

In a statement this week explaining that the US food outlet pulled pork off its menus because of an abusive supplier Chipotle said, "Conventionally raised pigs generally do not have access to the outdoors, spend their lives in densely crowded buildings, live on hard slatted floors with no bedding and no ability to root, and are given antibiotics to keep them from getting sick. We would rather not serve pork at all than serve pork from animals that are raised in this way."

Yes!

Now the bad news. The California law mandating more room for egg laying chickens does nothing to relieve the suffering of hatchery chickens which are ground up alive at birth. Yes, you read that right. Until the egg industry ceases to buy its layers from hatcheries which the industry admits kills "200 million male chicks," there is no such thing as an ethical egg. (Nor is there any such thing as ethical foie gras.) The good news is no one has ever died from an egg or foie gras deficiency.

factory farm zoo
Cartoon: Martha Rosenberg/NewsBlaze

Just like many people assume a drug is safe because the FDA approved it, many assume food is free from animal, worker and environmental abuse and is safe to eat because the USDA approved it. Right. The truth is just as Chipotle acknowledges "conventionally raised meat is a horror story for everyone involved and many are becoming reducetarian."

Even if you are the kind of person who cares more about your heath and well-being than the animals there are still reasons to reject products of cruelty! Hatcheries, for example, are notorious for their antibiotic use, injecting the eggs of future egg layers with drugs even before they hatch.

Nor is US beef necessarily safe. This month the US lifted its ban on imports of Irish beef which were blocked since the mad cow scares more than ten years ago. Does this mean the USDA watches out for the health of beef consumers?

Guess again!

Three "mad cows" have been found in the United States in the last ten years and the government protected the identities of the Alabama and Texas ranches that produced two of them! The circumstances surrounding the first "mad cow," which came from Canada were even more outrageous. According to the San Francisco Chronicle and other newspapers, the public ate meat from the mad cow and health officials even refused to identify the restaurant outlets that served the meat.

My ASJA-cited food expose, Born with a Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks, and Hacks Pimp the Public Health, available at Barnes and Noble, chronicles the details of the government's shameful handling of the mad cow outbreak in which it put the "health" of the US beef industry over that of consumers.

Food consumers are not powerless over Big Ag and the government that serves it. Remember "lean finely textured beef" also known as pink slime? This beef treat, treated with ammonia to kill E. Coli, was approved by the US government and sent to the National School Lunch Program until consumers said WE (AND OUR CHILDREN) ARE EATING WHAT? whereupon its manufacturer was shut down. We have the power to do that with any offensive product.

Martha Rosenberg is a columnist and cartoonist, who writes about public health Read more stories by Martha Rosenberg.

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