I read some articles in the last few days that compared grass-fed beef to feed-lot raised cows. The articles, such as this one in Slate a few days ago state that grass-fed beef supporters say the E. Coli doesn’t actually grow in the stomachs of grass-fed beef. I was under the impression, and perhaps I was mistaken, that the connection between E. Coli and grass-fed beef was that the bacteria was much less likely to be found in grass-fed beef because the cows are given more space and are in generally cleaner conditions than those in feed lots, and because their feed is more closely regulated than feed lot beef. Just to get the clear picture out there… E. Coli CAN grow and live in any cow’s stomach! HThere’s always going to be some bacteria. It’s part of life. The problem is that in feed lot cattle, the living conditions are facilitating E. Coli growth by generally mistreating the cows. E. Coli will happen, but steps should still be taken to prevent their growth (and by more ways than inoculating them). There is an expectation for us to eat germ-free food…it’s never going to happen. The problem is when these germs are in foods they definitely should not be in (i.e., cookie dough…) or when we are exacerbating the problem by the way we actually raise farm animals in this country.
Just like you don’t eat an organic apple for it’s “higher nutrient content,” but rather for the environmental methods by which it’s produced, grass-fed cattle is there to alleviate many worries about feed-lot cattle, not just E. Coli and other food safety issues.
Long story short (can you tell I can get worked up about this??), eating grass-fed beef does not give 100% certainty that you won’t get sick from E. Coli. But your odds probably are a lot higher, and you can at least know that you’re doing better on many other fronts (keeping your Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratios down, letting the cows eat what they want and are meant to eat, have beef that is free from antibiotics, cows that are eating VEGETARIAN!! (as they should be….), not supporting a very large corn industry, happy farms, happy people, this list goes on…). So eat your grass-fed burger with a little less trepidation than your feedlot burger tonight.
So you remember my euphoria from last week, when I raked up the courage to try sprouting my own beans and was successful!! I enjoyed adding mung bean sprouts to my meals all weekend, and eagerly got to business trying to sprout my favorite nut, the Almond.
I’ve been following the same instructions as last week, but three days later, and nary a sprout in sight, I got a little curious. I’ve been checking on them quite often, so I don’t think that they failed to sprout because they are too wet or dry….but then a tiny wriggling thought came from the back of my head, and I went to google.
Turns out that little thought was right…. since my almonds are pasteurized, they won’t sprout.
The common claim the FDA makes is that pasteurizing almonds does not affect the actual nut in any way. I did believe this (kinda…) but now it actually makes me a little sad. Because something chemically did change in there.
Now I’ll have to find some other good seed to sprout. Perhaps sunflower?? I’m planning on trying wheat kernels next, then probably soy nuts.
Hopefully those sprouts will work smoothly!
Amazing how that works…you get all comfortable, think there’s nothing new under the sun, and obviously…you learn so many new things in one week that you realize that there’s always more out there. This week, the news was mixed.
In case you haven’t heard – there’s been a recall on Nestle refrigerated Cookie Brownie Dough, which is not the place we usually expect E. Coli. (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/20/health/policy/20cookie.html?partner=rss&emc=rss) It’s not a huge outbreak (yet) with 66 people infected thus far. But as we have yet another E. Coli incident, I’d like to turn our attention to food safety.
I know, in many ways, our current food supply is safer than it’s ever been (no pigs in the street…we HAVE water treatment, etc.). And yet, I can’t help but think that there are better ways to regulate our mass production, and that greater safety measures could be taken. If you haven’t read “Fast Food Nation” by Eric Schlosser, I highly recommend it. It’s very enlightening about how our nation’s food business is run, and it might make you want to become a vegetarian. Ironically, in one of his passages, he states
“A government health official, who prefers not to be named, compares the sanitary conditions at a modern feedlot to those of a crowded European city during the Middle Ages, when people dumped their chamber pots out the windows, raw sewage ran in the streets and epidemics raged. The cattle now packed into feedlots get little exercise and live amid pools of manure. Far removed from their natural habitats, the cattle become more prone to illnesses. And what they are fed often contributes to the spread of disease.” (http://www.mcspotlight.org/media/press/rollingstone2.html).
Gross. He also explains (and this I found really appalling) that other nations (especially the European Union and Canada) have stricter regulations than the US (especially concerning meat and feed), so some slaughterhouses in the US have two operations running: one on higher standards for export, and another on lower standards for domestic use.
For a nation concerned with being the best, we sure don’t mind eating like a nation stuck in the past.