Wednesday, October 3, 2012

E coli Found in Beef Products

    The huge XL beef processing plant at Brooks Alberta is suspected of distributing   products contaminated with e coli. XL processes 1/3 of all beef in Canada and distributes to all provinces and states. They kill 2500 animals per day. The plant has been shut down since Sept. 28. Modern industrial meat processing is an amazing operation. Much is done mechanically. They have a huge water supply. There are labs that check meat and the plant. However , these plants seem to run into problems with E. coli contamination from time to time. What's going on?

     About a dozen people in Alberta and Saskatchewan have e coli and some has been traced back to the plant in Brooks. I have not heard of other people with E. coli. Young people and elderly people are more susceptible to the most harm from E. coli.

     About 1500 different products have been recalled because of possibilities of being contaminated with E. coli.

     The Canadian Food Inspection Agency(CFIA) is working on this problem and trying to find a solution.

     A few years ago meat inspectors were cut down to a very low level and the plants were expected to do their own testing.

    On the farm my Dad butchered a beef and hog each year. The beef was usually a cull in somewhat poor condition and the hog was a sow. Dad maybe had one pail of water and that was to wash bone sawdust from the cavity when the carcuss was halved. We never had a problem with E. coli and neither did our neighbors.

    I did some travelling with aboriginals. When a moose or caribou was taken it was butchered on location. First, the tongue was taken out and cut into strips. The strips were put on sticks beside the fire so that they could cook. Tongue done this way is absolutely delicious. Other butchering continued. By the time the tongue was cooked the heart was cut in strips and put on the fire. We ate and had tea. By the time the butchering was done so was the heart and we ate again. If they camped in the location they would put strips of meat over poles and dry it. Otherwise it was put in the canoe to take back to the settlement for processing. This type of processing did not run into E. coli problems.

      Inuit traditionally ate raw whale and seal. I tried the raw arctic char and it's just like candy. Again no problems with e coli. 

     So what gives in the large plants.? Are they relying too much on technology? Do they not know how to butcher? Are cattlemen using procedures that cause the animals to have higher e coli counts in their system?  In the above examples of farmers and aboriginals, they all knew to be extremely careful and not allow entrails to be opened and spill contents. 

     Since we depend on the large industrial plants for our beef, I am worried. Too many times these plants have problems with E. coli. People can become seriously ill with e coli and deaths can also take place.