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Feb. 26, 2008
Is it time to consider vegetarianism?
My Montana roots are likely responsible for my love of a good, grilled burger. In a state where there are more cattle than people it's hard to deny the craving. Recent actions however have me rethinking my propensity to eat beef. The largest beef recall in US history coupled with the FDA’s approval of food from cloned cattle has me reeling.

The meat was recalled because the meat packer slaughtered potentially sick cows. Regulations prohibit the slaughtering of sick cows to protect our food supply. This meat packer violated these rules. Scary!

To add to this, after a 15 year review—hardly long enough to determine safety across lifespan of a human—the FDA decided that the spawn and milk from cloned cattle are safe enough to eat, so safe in fact, that they will not need to implement a tracking system of the gene pool being spread around. (Seriously?) By not approving any labeling of clone-sourced-foods, the FDA also decided that consumers have no need to know if the food they're putting their bodies comes from cloned cattle. A recent SF Gate article stated, “The FDA acknowledged that newborn clones are often sick or dying, but said those animals would never pass inspection for entry into the food supply.”

Uh,really? The recent beef recall doesn’t give me much confidence in that statement.

The USDA, the agency that's supposed to regulate agriculture (not FDA) doesn't agree with the FDA decisions and neither do authorities in Europe. “European Food Safety Authority concluded in January that cloning for food production cannot be justified at this point because of the suffering of both deformed clones and their surrogate mothers, or dams, in animal breeding terms."

The USDA is asking retailers to voluntarily wait to sell cloned products while this gets further investigated.

There are many reasons to choose meat from smaller ranches where cows graze on pesticide free grasses and are not force fed grain to bulk up or treated with an onslaught of antibiotics and hormones. Now we have a few more reasons to add to the list.

My advice to omnivores is know where your meat comes from, how it is treated, and what it ate to ensure it is truly healthy and natural.

Posted by:
Tara, the RD
Food Matters

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