Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Meat Safety

I'd love to say that I only eat free range, organic, antibiotic free, small farm etc etc meat but the reality is that we usually buy our meat at the grocery store. I realize I'm effectively supporting practices that I don't believe in but my current alternatives are limited. I tried to convince my husband to become a vegetarian and he told me in no uncertain terms that wasn't going to happen. So our compromise is to buy less meat and the meat we do eat is organic and antibiotic free but it's "big box" organic so I wonder how good is it really?

What I never thought about was the safety of meat in schools, perhaps because we don't have kids? But when reading the paper a couple weeks ago I learned that in the United States many schools receive meat that doesn't meet fast food standards! Seriously, they serve our kids chicken that not even Hardees will sell for a $1. Fast food chains (while not the vanguards of healthy eating) are far more rigorous in testing for bacteria and pathogens then the national standards. They, in fact, test ground beef 5-10 times more often then the US Department of Agriculture tests beef produced for the nation's school system. If you think that's scary then consider the fact that fast food chains set limits for bacteria in burgers that are ten times more stringent then the national standard for schools. Compound this with the fact that school children are more susceptible to food borne illness and the fact that the meat may not be cooked long enough to kill the pathogens before it is served.

And the silver lining is that as low as these standards are they are stricter then the standards for meat sold in the grocery store. Perhaps it is to time to reevaluate my options...

What about you? Do you eat meat? Where do you get it from? Are you concerned about meat safety?