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Four Color Politics

Mainly the Quotes of the Morning, with occasional Other Crap.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Quotes of the Morning: What's On the Table?

“Consumers face little risk from eating pork, chicken and eggs from farm animals that ate feed mixed with pet food scraps contaminated by an industrial chemical, government scientists said Monday.
“Mixing in material contaminated at low levels diluted it such that humans who eat the animals won’t be harmed, the scientists said.
Melamine, used to make plastics, and the related compounds contaminated pet food that either sickened or killed an unknown number of dogs and cats. Scraps left over from the manufacture of that dog and cat food was sold for use in animal feed before the pet food was known to be tainted and recalled from store shelves.”
-Associated Press, May 7, 2007

“Oh that is such old news.. I mean, why would you worry about a little contamination? The unnamed government scientists say that it is safe, and if the government says so, then that is good enough for me. I know how seriously they take food safety.”

“The Bush administration said Tuesday it will fight to keep meatpackers from testing all their animals for mad cow disease.”
-Associated Press, May 29, 2007

“In the words of John Stewart… Whaaaaaa?”

“The Agriculture Department tests less than 1 percent of slaughtered cows for the disease, which can be fatal to humans who eat tainted beef. But Kansas-based Creekstone Farms Premium Beef wants to test all of its cows.
Larger meat companies feared that move because, if Creekstone tested its meat and advertised it as safe, they might have to perform the expensive test, too.
A federal judge ruled in March that such tests must be allowed. The ruling was to take effect June 1, but the Agriculture Department said Tuesday it would appeal -- effectively delaying the testing until the court challenge plays out.”
-Associated Press, May 29, 2007

“The Agriculture Department is, get this, stopping meat from being tested. Wow. That shows some serious brass ones. They want to block the testing because the big beef companies fear that they might ‘have to’ do it also if Creekstone does it. You know, like they have a gun to their head. I think what they really mean is that testing is expensive, and testing would either (a) cost them a little extra if they do it, or (b) cost them part of their market share if they don’t do it. Either way it kind of sounds like something that the conservatives usually call the ‘free market’ and rigorously defend. Odd that this is such a big deal.”

“Although the Agriculture Department confirmed Friday that a cow that died last year was infected with mad cow disease, a test the agency conducted seven months ago indicated that the animal had the disease. The result was never publicly disclosed.
The delay in confirming the United States' second case of mad cow disease seems to underscore what critics of the agency have said for a long time: that there are serious and systemic problems in the way the Agriculture Department tests animals for mad cow.”
-New York Times, June 26, 2005

“It isn’t like the topic hasn’t come up before. The reaction was the same.. testing the beef makes the Beef Association very, very nervous.”

“The nation's mad cow testing system is now infuriating both ranchers and consumers. Consumer lobbyists say the flawed results show once again that 15 years of testing has been dangerously inadequate. And now the beef lobby, which has long enjoyed a cozy relationship with the Agriculture Department, is complaining that the testing system is dangerously unpredictable.
Jim McAdams, president of the 25,000-member National Cattlemen's Beef Association, has complained that unexpected testing creates ‘great anxiety within our industry,’ and leads to ‘significant losses.’"
-New York Times, June 26, 2005

“Still, this is the United States. We spend billions a week to keep troops in a war zone so that terrorists will shoot at them instead of us. Do you really think that if there was anything that could possibly keep the public safe that we wouldn’t do?”

“Other countries use food-safety standards: Japan tests every cow, Europe tests about one in four.
The United States instead uses statistical models that it says will let a few tests detect the infection even in one cow in a million. It now tests one in 90; when the first mad cow case was found in 2003, it was testing one in 1,700.
With its statistical logic under regular attack, the United States has increased the number of tests to 388,000 in the past year, from 40 in 1990. But until recently, Mr. [Secretary of Agriculture] Johanns was discussing cutting back to 40,000 tests.”
-New York Times, June 26, 2005

“Don’t worry.. You’re safe I tell you. Testing food really isn’t necessary.”

“The Windom-based meat company linked to an E. coli outbreak in the Twin Cities is recalling 117,500 pounds of beef shipped to eight states, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.
Health officials have said it appears that tainted ground beef from Lunds or Byerly’s stores sickened seven people, including three who had to be hospitalized before they recovered.
The USDA notice late Thursday said PM Beef Holdings LLC of Windom is voluntarily recalling the beef trim products that were sent to distributors and retailers in Arizona, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.”
-St. Cloud Times, May 12, 2007

“A meat company is voluntarily recalling about nearly 130,000 pounds of beef products in 15 states due to possible contamination with E coli, according to an alert issued May 11 by the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).
The affected beef products produced between March 1 and April 30 by Davis Creek Meats and Seafood, based in Kalamazoo, Michigan, were shipped to foodservice distribution centers and Marketplace stores in Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.”
-Foodconsumer.org, May 17, 2007

“Oh sure, E coli may be a big deal, but see.. they test for that. The system works.”

“Brucellosis has been confirmed in a herd of beef near Bridger, Montana. State animal health officials say the outbreak affects seven cows traced to a ranch in Bridger, a small town south of Laurel and far from any Yellowstone bison. Some of the infected cattle might have spent time in the Emigrant area in Paradise Valley, about 25 miles from the park's northern boundary.

Since 1985, the state's beef herds have been certified as free of the disease, which causes cattle to abort their first calf after infection.
One infected herd does not mean the entire state loses its brucellosis-free status. But if a second herd tests positive, every rancher in Montana will face expensive testing and time-consuming restrictions when exporting cattle.”
-USAgNet, May 22, 2007

“Montana ranchers get to keep their brucellosis-free status for now, although the state remains in danger of losing the favored rating as the federal and state investigation continues.

Final tests Wednesday showed that 190 cattle on the Bruce Malcolm ranch near Emigrant were clean of brucellosis even though several of the seven Montana cows found carrying the disease came from this herd.
‘It means that this place up here is free from brucellosis. No reactors. No positive ones. Every animal we have is negative,’ said Malcolm, who also serves as a Republican state representative from Emigrant.
Over the past few years, Malcolm has shipped some of his cattle to his daughter and son-in-law's ranch near Bridger, including a few of the cows that tested positive. The Bridger herd has been quarantined and investigators are focusing next on testing cattle in the Bridger area that may have been in contact with the Malcolm family cattle during the past two years.”
-Billings Gazette, May 23, 2007

“Well if the Republican state representative who owned some of the infected cows says that they are safe, well, that’s good enough for me. Why would he lie?
I gave up eating mammal this year, so no beef for me, but all of you can jump right in. I’m sure it will be fine. After all, when has the Administration ever let us down?”


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