Yes, it's true. I like to eat meat. I love meat, especially sausages, and the things I do with chicken have made me the ultimate chef in the hearts of more than a few young maidens. It's just that I don't like to eat Modern Meat. (MM) (Meat of the Matter) (More on MM) A lot of people don't like to eat it either. In fact I think it would be safe to say that most people wouldn't eat the stuff if they knew what was in it. The nice thing though is that virtually every country in the world except the US and Canada have outlawed the use of a nasty drug called Ractopamine. And their citizens don't get to eat it. Unless they eat meat imported from the US. Earlier this year, both China and Russia banned imports of US meats because they are contaminated with Ractopamine. Well the term contaminated is a misnomer, the Ractopamine is given to the steers in ever increasing doses in an intentional attempt to get the cattle to put on sheer muscle mass at rates that are faster than possible through normal dietary methods.
Lean muscle mass. Seems like a rather unique drug that would make a few athletes have giant erections in anticipation. Well, it did back when it was first discovered. Back then it was called Zilpaterol, and was used to treat asthma. With the side effect of adding muscle, and, well, central nervous system problems, ADD, ADHD, death, the usual stuff that drug companies consider minor side effects. It was immediately banned by sports, all sports. And it was taken off the market to treat asthma as well, just too many minor side effects killing off the patients. But the miracle of modern pharmacology is that what kills people, can be injected into people food. Such as, beef, pork, chicken, turkeys and whatever else you want. It makes cattle put on huge amounts of lean muscle. It also makes them run around the pens in a crazed state, very similar to the proverbial "Mad Cow Disease". That's okay though, still good meat on those bones.
Right now there are no FDA regulations as to how much residual Ractopamine is allowed to remain in the meat when taken to slaughter. There is no way of knowing what dose you might be getting. It is estimated that 70 to 90 percent of American beef has Ractopamine residues. 40 to 65 percent of pork. And an unknown percentage of poultry. A couple of years ago California passed a law stating that if a steer can't walk up the ramp to be killed, then it could not be used for human food. Ranchers went to the Supreme Court with money and lawyers and got that law declared unconstitutional. Ranchers have the right to feed beef to you that are so sick as to be unable to walk. It is their constitutional right! Makes me a little concerned as to what your constitutional rights still might be. I think that the days of a vote having much in the way of any rights is over, money, and a lot of money, has rights that simple consumers used to have.
So, that background info about Ractopamine behind us, the news this week is that Tyson Foods beginning on September 6 of this year will no longer buy any cattle that have been given the drug Ractopamine. (Reuters News on the Event) Here, it is a little difficult to say what the reason for the ban might be. Are the agri-giant food processing companies really concerned with the livelihood of the consumers? Or are they more concerned that other countries besides Russia and China will jump on the real food bandwagon and ban imports of products that are contaminated with a known toxic agent? I personally think that the second option is the preferred one. Pretty certain that Tyson hasn't suddenly gotten a conscience and started to make foods that are wholesome. If that were the case, then the MSG manufacturers would go out of business in no time as Tyson and other processed food makers use that stuff by the railcar full every day.
Anyway, it is still a small step forward. I just hope that consumers don't get caught in any two steps back.