Saturday, March 14, 2009

Government Bans Slaughter of Sick Cows, At Last!

Thank you, Obama administration!!!

The U.S. government has finally acted to ban the slaughter of "downer" cows...previously a partial ban was put into place, but there was a loophole: if a cow got sick after passing inspection, it could still be slaughtered.

I used to love a really good hamburger. During the years I lived in Japan, my fiercest craving was Red Robin's banzai burger, which I would make sure to indulge in during every visit home.
When I was pregnant with Chris, I positively craved hamburgers.

Then I read Fast Food Nation and My Year of Meats. I have eaten perhaps one hamburger in the past several years, at our neighborhood restaurant, Marco's....it was free-range Oregon Country Beef, which seemed comparatively safer. However, it upset my stomach after all those years of not eating red meat. I immediately regretted it.

Occasionally I do still eat beef when we are out--for example, during family-style dining with a large group, I might eat a Chinese beef dish. Or I might eat a Swedish meatball or two at a potluck. But only in small quantities, which are less likely to upset my stomach.

Our children LOVE hamburgers--especially Kieran. His favorite menu item is, specifically, a cheeseburger with pickles! We tend not to eat much fast food, unless it's Baja Fresh or our local chain Burgerville, which is more expensive but also MUCH tastier than McDonalds or Burger King. Burgerville not only purchases renewable energy, but has also banned trans-fats and uses local, sustainable products (including Oregon Country Beef). And they have really cool, useful kids' meal items--such as plates, bowls, coloring books, and seeds to plant. My favorite menu item is the turkey burger, which tastes sort of like a hamburger. Sort of.

The Bush administration's callous disregard for food safety troubled me deeply. Just a few months ago, we got a letter from Costco saying that Clif bars we had purchased there had been recalled (because of the peanut butter paste). Clif bars! That was scary.

I am hoping that the closing of this loophole is one step in the right direction toward making our food sources safer for all.

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