Would You Like Ammonia With That ?

By treatyrockbeef - Last updated: Monday, October 25, 2010 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

After finally watching “Food, Inc.” last weekend, I am more convinced than ever that the industrialization of our country’s protein stream and marginalization / extinction of small-scale farm production is one of the great evils of our time.  This troubling societal shift has been enabled and approved by congressmen and government officials bought and paid for by big business food processing lobbying dollars.  Large populations have moved out of rural areas and away from local food sources.  The development of interstate highway system and relaxation of truth in labeling opened the door for the great fiction now being spun at your local supermarket.

Rather than attempt to summarize the film and its disturbing imagery, I will point to two scenes that stand out in sharp contrast for me.  One focused on the movement of animals indoors and out of the farm environment, bearing a frightening parallel to our children today plugged into personal media and unfamiliar with a muddy creek or a fort in the woods.  When animals are removed from farms and personal ownership, the pride of product and respect for the animals’ lives quickly follows suit.  The creatures become production units with no more cause for individual concern than a shower curtain ring as the pursuit of high volumes of cheap protein moves forward without safety or morality checks.

Chickens have been bred for large breasts that outpace bone development (who needs to walk anyway??).  Pigs are given growth hormones that enhance muscle development, sometimes at the expense of organ function.  Not to worry – a percentage of the “downer” pigs that are too sick to walk up the ramp to slaughter still make it in between the slices of your deli bread.

Feedlot cattle are raised in crowded filthy conditions given a corn-rich diet which fattens them quicly but makes them sick and acidifies their stomachs, creating a friendly environment for E. coli bacteria blooms.  The bacteria in their stomachs actually do not pose a health concern – does not translate to bacteria in the meat.  The problem arises out of the crowded nature of their living conditions and the E. coli – rich feces smeared all over their hides and halfway up their legs.  The animals are processed along a production line at a rate of hundreds per hour that makes observation of best sanitary practices impossible.  Feces and E. coli gets on the meat, on people’s hands and into the foodstream were it not for ammonia treatment (and sometimes it still happens).

The machinery at the plant resembles an oil refinery or NASA mission control center.  I could not believe that food comes from there.  How’s that Dollar menu look now ??  Same thing happens with chicken processed and mechanically separated for the “nugget” trade.  The meat is washed down with ammonia to kill off the bacteria and the chicken receives a flavoring additive to cover the ammonia.  Chicken flavored chicken – that’s not disturbing (!?!)

Our cattle are slaughtered one at a time in a clean facility in Johnston, RI where the USDA inspector told me they do the best job she’s ever seen.  We have 2 animals hanging (aging) right now and have 20 pound Pasture Packs (mix of roast, steaks, stew, shank, eye round & ground beef) available for around $200 saving you 10%.  Let me know if you would like a share of healthy natural meat.  Make the commitment.  Eat less beef but eat this beef or something like it !!

In response to the great crime being committed against our porcine brethren,  I’ll be selling local pork from Sunset Farm at the booth.  The happy pigs live on a farm not in a factory.  I’ve walked in their muddy paddock (they dig up any ground and can’t be let out in the pastrues).  They are fed veggies that can no longer be sold at the farm stand and dairy-grade grain pellets (wheat, corn & soy) with no animal products.  We’ll have bacon, sausage and pork chops to start.

Respecting the Protein, PMB

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