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6.5 Million Pounds of Beef Recalled After 57 Sickened From Possible Salmonella Contamination

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola

In case you missed it, last week a Brazilian meat processing company operating in Arizona voluntarily recalled 6.5 million pounds of beef products, citing concerns that the meat could be contaminated with salmonella. The bacteria is a common cause of food poisoning, USA Today reports. The products were distributed nationwide, and at least 57 people in 16 states have become ill.

USA Today noted that the supplier, JBS S/A, is a majority owner of Pilgrim’s Pride, which recalled 101,000 pounds of breaded chicken in February, due to contamination concerns. JBS has been under scrutiny by federal regulators for other issues, including “egregious” and “inhumane” practices with livestock, USA Today said.

This is probably one of the best examples I can give as to why it’s important to abandon processed meat products — or any processed foods, for that matter — altogether and only buy meat from local farmers. Or, at the very least, make sure that the meats you buy at the store are labeled “AGA Certified” — which ensures that the meat and dairy products you’re buying are the highest-quality grass fed products.

By choosing only humanely-raised, organic, free-ranging beef, chicken and pork products, you not only can make sure that the animals are taken care of properly, but that you are consuming meats and dairy that are not tainted with hormones and antibiotics. The plain facts are grass fed meat and dairy are better for you, as they’re higher in certain vitamins, antioxidants and healthy fats, than their counterparts that come from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

Another concern about processed meat manufacturers is that you can’t really be sure that your meat was even produced in the U.S. — or that your chicken wasn’t raised in the U.S., sent to China for processing, and returned, all under the label of “product of the USA.” This is allowed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which has ruled that imported beef can be treated as U.S. beef if it comes from a country with food safety standards that are equivalent to those in the U.S.

While it seems like labeling meat to let consumers know where it came from would be a straightforward requirement, it’s anything but. The original Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) rule, which was approved in 2002 and took effect in 2008, required the country of origin to be listed on meat labels. But, in 2015 the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled that this U.S. law was discriminatory against foreign meat producers, in favor of U.S. producers.

The USDA buckled after the WTO imposed $1 billion in trade sanctions annually against the U.S., and now multinational companies are allowed to pass off imported meat as U.S.-raised, while U.S. farmers suffer. A lawsuit has been filed against the USDA to reverse this stand, but in the meantime, the best thing to do to avoid both possible contamination and to ensure that you’re only buying the best meats, is to only buy from local farmers, or look for the AGA Certified label.

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