Thursday, July 28, 2011


The Safe Food Handbook (the book, that is, not this blog) makes what may seem like an odd statement when discussing parasites in meat: "Nowadays parasites in North American beef and poultry are much lower risk than they used to be, thanks to safety measures being taken by the industry. In fact, we may be as much at risk from getting a dose of an anti-parasitic drug from our steak as we are for catching a tapeworm." Recent events seem to agree.

Northwestern Meat, Inc., a Miami, Fla. firm, has announced a recall of some 6,240 pounds of frozen boneless beef products because the animal drug Ivermectin was found in a sample of it. This drug is a strong de-wormer, used in animals and poultry. Alright, it is also used for humans, but it can be dangerous for children under 5 years of age, and for those who react to it. In other words, it should be used in a selective and controlled way, under a doctor's supervision. We shouldn't be essentially dosing ourselves from our dinner. Particularly if we don't have parasites.

Nor is this the first time that Ivermectin has turned up in our meat. For instance, in 2010, Sampco, Inc., Chicago, recalled over 25 tons of cooked canned and frozen beef products (mainly corned beef) because this drug was found. There have been other instances as well. And you had better believe that many cases are not caught by inspectors - probably most.

The beef in this week's recall was imported from Honduras. The beef in the 2010 recall, came from Brazil. Is this telling us something? Yes, parasites tend to be more common in warm and moist climates such as these, and controls are weaker. This results is more parasitic infections in animals, which in turn leads to heavier use of anti-parasitic drugs such as Ivermectin since animals don't grow and fatten well if they are infected with parasites, which would undermine profits.

In the end, it's all about money. Our health may be a casualty along the way.

To your good health,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There's nothing new about health taking second place to profits. It's the same as Wall St, do anything to make a buck.