If You Eat Meat You Need To Know These 5 Facts

Is it true that meat contains hormones? Bacteria? And what about antibiotics? All questions that consumers ask themselves, answered here.

Meat is a product that requires a process before being marketed. Even before becoming meat, these sentient animals that are capable of a range of emotions, are provided chemicals and antibiotics.

Meat makes a long journey before being meticulously packaged into containers; a journey that begins with an animal hanging upside down, beheaded, and bleeding mercilessly.

Here are some facts you need to know before purchasing that package of meat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. How the process of natural putrefaction is slowed down.

When an animal is alive, their skin and intestines work as a barrier against bacteria. Any microbe that crosses these barriers is eliminated. However, when they die, microbes can penetrate the skin and intestines colonizing the lifeless tissue. The moment a butcher opens an animal that is already dead, the first path that allows contaminants appears.

Under stress, the animal’s immune system is weakened and some intestinal microorganisms can penetrate the intestinal barrier and reach organs or tissues. Some of them have a high probability to produce toxins or cause infections in people. Also, fresh or refrigerated meat has a high water content and this environment is very suitable for the growth of microorganisms. When they open the dead animal’s carcass, the esophagus and intestines have to be linked in order to avoid intestinal contents that can contaminate meat. But the pace of the slaughterhouses is so fast that this operation is not always done properly.

2. The meat on your fork may have been dead for up to 3 weeks

After the animal’s death, the “rigor mortis," which tightens the meat, begins to manifest.  This natural phenomenon takes up to 72 hours to disappear, depending on the animal. While this happens, the lifeless body of the animal remains in the refrigerator. The animals are hung upside down so that gravity drains the blood that may still be in their viscera.

Most of the meat nowadays takes 4 to 10 days from the time the animal is slaughtered until it reaches the market to be sold. In this period, muscles make the transformation into what we know as meat. This period is known as the “maturation time”.

In veal, however, the maturation time lasts from 1 to 3 weeks.

3. We feed the animals blood.

What about all that blood that is shed inside slaughterhouses? It can take up to six minutes for an animal to bleed in agony until he finally dies. But where does their blood go?

Blood is usually collected in an industrial container. From there, it goes to a warehouse for processing in order to produce fertilizers or food; food we feed the herbivores that we eat later on.  

4. Saturating animals with drugs that are later concentrated in their flesh.

Nowadays, more antibiotics are being used in veterinary medicine. On average, to produce 2.20 pounds of meat in Europe, 100 mg of antimicrobials are used. And while reliable data for antimicrobial dosage is not publicly available for the United States, in a 2000 Animal Health Institute survey "17.8 million pounds of antimicrobials were used in animal production in 1998—14.7 million pounds (83%) for prevention and treatment of disease, and 3.1 million pounds (17%) for growth promotion."

Some drugs used to treat diseases in humans are widely used in healthy animals as mere prevention. There is little to no individual veterinary care on factory farms, so the way to deliver the antibiotics is often through food and water, even if they are healthy animals.

This problem arose in the 50’s, when they believed that using a low dose of antibiotics in the food and water fed to healthy birds, cows and pigs would speed up their growth; this idea was widespread in some countries. This way they also avoided infections caused by overcrowding in unsanitary facilities, however, this leads to many more problems.

Because of such abuse, animals’ immune resistance to some human diseases has skyrocketed. According to experts of the World Health Organization, it is possible that strains of bacteria with resistant genes can be transferred from animals to humans through food.

An estimated 80 percent of antibiotics used in the United States are intended to treat animals for fattening, not to cure human infections. In this country, it is legal to use hormones to accelerate animal growth.

5. The meat your dog eats and in your hamburger may come from a paste of waste.

The meat is classified as either “fresh” or “processed”. "Fresh meat" is meat in large pieces or whole bodies. The "processed meat" is used as an ingredient in other products; this includes meat in dog food, hamburgers, nuggets, etc.

This processed meat results in a reddish paste, with which hot dog sausages are made, for example. It can also lead to a product known as “ground beef" that can be used to make such foods as hamburgers.

Currently in the United States, processed meat can be produced from poultry and pork, but you never know how much of each is in the food.

Sources:

http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/sites/default/files/Factory%20Farm%20Nation%20Report%20May%202015.pdf

http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/34/Supplement_3/S93.full

http://aesan.msssi.gob.es/AESAN/web/punto_focal_efsa/detalle/carne_separada.shtml

http://www.fao.org/docrep/004/T0566S/T0566S00.htm#TOC

http://tematico8.asturias.es/export/sites/default/consumo/seguridadAlimentaria/seguridad-alimentaria-documentos/carnes.pdf