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... crobe: E coli. Jack in the Box issued an immediate recall of the contaminated ground beef, which had been supplied by the Vons Co. in Los Angeles. Nevertheless, "more than 700 people in five different states got sick by Jack in the Box hamburgers, about 195 were hospitalized, and four died" ( Santora B1). Most of the victims were children.
Jack in the Box accepted responsibility for their medical costs, and the chain was nearly destroyed by the publicity surrounding the outbreak. But this was not the first outbreak of E.coli linked to fast-food hamburgers. As Nichols Fox reveals in her book on food-borne pathogens, "dozens of children got sick in 1982 by contaminated McDonald's hamburgers in Oregon and Michigan (78). The only difference is that McDonald's had quietly cooperated with investigators , providing ground-beef samples that proved to be tainted with E.coli . In public, however, the McDonald's Corp. denied that its hamburgers were responsible for any illnesses.
In the five years since the Jack in the Box outbreak, about one- hundred thousand Americans, the majority of them children, have been made seriously ill by E.coli. Every week, on the average, a few Americans die from eating hamburgers. Antibiotics have proven ineffective in treating illnesses caused by E.coli . Some evidence indicates that treatment with antibiotics actually makes these illnesses worse. At the moment, it is said that little can be done for people with HUS, aside from the provision of fluids, transfusions and dialysis ( Hamilton). E.coli infections are very easy to transmit. In order to be infected by most food-borne pathogens, you have to consume a fairly large dose most of the times thousands or even millions of organisms. However, an infection with E.coli can be caused by as few as ten organisms.
The microbe can survive on counter tops for days and in moist environments for weeks. Children have been infected by hand-to-mouth contact, by swimming in a contaminated water park and by crawling on contaminated carpeting at a day-care center. A microscopic particle of uncooked hamburger tainted with the bug is enough to kill you. Although outbreaks of E.coli have been linked to lettuce, alfalfa sprouts and apple cider, cattle manure has ultimately been the cause of most infections. Cattle seem to be the primary host for the microbe; it thrives in their digestive systems without making the animals sick. A recent study of cattle manure at one feedlot found that about 1.6 percent of the samples carried E.coli (Hamilton) . Given that rate of infection, perhaps five cattle bearing the microbe are eviscerated at a large slaughterhouse every hour. The centralization and concentration of beef processing has spread E.coli far and wide.
Steven P. Bjerklie, the former editor of Meat and Poultry, believes that 'the structure of this industry beautifully assists in the contribution to massive contamination of ground beef' (97). A single large plant can produce eight-hundred thousand pounds of hamburger meat daily and just one animal infected with E.coli can contaminate thirty-two thousand pounds of that meat. Because of the way ground beef is made today a single fast-food hamburger now contains the meat of anywhere from forty to one hundred different cattle, raised in as many as half a dozen different countries (Hamilton).Chicken McNuggets come from even more badly abused animals. Perhaps, " the most abused animals on the face of the earth" ( Baldwin). The day that they hatch from their eggs, newborn chicks are shipped in crates to factory farms, where they are greeted by having part of their beaks chopped off with a hot metal blade.
Chickens are crowded in small cages, cooped by the tens of thousands unable to move around freely. They never see daylight or feel fresh air. These conditions cause extreme distress, and drive the chickens berserk. Many chickens have their feather removed, and hair burnt off while often still alive. Some of the chickens grow so large so fast that their own legs can not hold them up, in result they starve to death because they are unable go to the feeding buckets. The cause of this is from being genetically manipulated and being given growth promotion antibiotics.
In livestock, these antibiotics are laced into animal feed in low doses to make animals grow faster. According to Shirley Leung, a writer for the Wall Street Journal "Roughly 20 million pounds of antibiotics are given each year to U.S. cattle, pigs, and chickens. Many of the drugs are administered routinely to healthy livestock solely as a preventive measure and to promote growth" (B2). Farmers can buy many livestock antibiotics without a prescription. The McDonald's policy doesn't restrict the use of antibiotics in livestock .By one recent estimate, more than 70 percent of all antibiotics used in the U.S. are fed to healthy farm animals ( Leung B2).
According to Shirley Leung's article in the Wall Street Journal, "based on the growing body of evidence, the American Medical Association and more than 275 other groups have called for an end to the routine use of medically important antibiotics in healthy food animals (B2). There are many human health concerns. If livestock and poultry are fed low doses of antibiotics routinely, bacteria may develop that are resistant to the drugs and be transferred to people through improperly prepared food. Some of the antibiotics used in agriculture are also used to treat illnesses in humans. As a result, this practice may contribute to the development of a resistance to antibiotic bacteria that pose a threat to human health. The increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria is kept track of very well in the scientific community.Before Chicken McNuggets, which were introduced in 1983, most chickens in the US were sold whole.
Today, 90 percent of chicken is cut up, much is precooked in oil, and chicken companies, like beef producers, have turned to low-skilled workers (Sparke 54). Chicken McNuggets are made from pieces of reconstituted chicken breast that are held together by stabilizers, breaded, fried, frozen, and then reheated, ). They became wildly popular among young children and those adults who believed them to be healthier than burgers. In fact, according to Amanda Sparke, " McNuggets contain twice as much fat per ounce as hamburgers and are fried in hydrogenated vegetable oils containing high amounts of trans fatty acids, a culprit behind heart disease (54). Medical studies show that the consumption of animal products is a major contributor to much of the heart disease and cancer which your older family members may already suffer from. In addition to the harmful cholesterol which occurs naturally in all animal flesh, meats contain various pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and tranquilizers which are fed to factory farm animals. Are you sure you want to take these substances into your body? The hamburger has become our national food: Americans eat more meat than any other people in the world, and according to Lois Williams "the average person devours three hamburgers a week" (2).
Studies found that one-third of US children eat fast food everyday (Lois 2). Which means that the spread of this fast food epidemic will continue to grow with the years to come. If you feel disturbed by these things, consider why you eat fast food and then ask yourself is it worth it? Cows and chickens are bred to be enslaved, tortured, and slaughtered. You make yourself prone to different diseases, pathogens, and growth inducing antibiotics, all because you buy these products. Each Fast food customer creates a market for these products. These are two courses of action that you can take in order to save lives, the lives of humans as well as animals. First of all you can omit or reduce your consumption of fast food. Your most direct connection with factory farming is your cheeseburger and small fry.
And a well-balanced vegetarian diet is the most healthful diet possible anyway. Second, you can be heard. Ask the manager of any McDonald's where their beef and chickens come from, and express your concern about how the animals are raised. You should know the reality of what really lurks behind your next double cheeseburger, because as Eric Schlosser stated: "You are what you eat" (10).BibliographyBaldwin, Alec. Meet Your Meat, a narrative. DVD.
Virginia: PETA TV, 2003Bjerklie, Steven. eds. Meat Processing magazine. Global ed. Syracuse, NY: Norton, 2003"Feedlot." Webster's Dictionary. 2000 ed.Hamilton Doug, Frontline interview on Modern Meat. 19 April 2002Leung, Shirley.
" Mc Donald's Wants Suppliers of Meat to Limit Antibiotic Use." Wall Street Journal. 20 June 2003, Eastern ed.: B2. ProQuest Research LibraryComplete. ProQuest Information and learning. Solano College Lib.,Fairfield, CA 2 May 2005 Maguire, Holly. "Skipping Stones." International Journal 14 (2004): 5.
ProQuest Research Library Complete. ProQuest Information and learning. Solano College Lib. ,Fairfield, CA 10 May 2005 "Pathogen." Webster's Dictionary. 2000 ed.Santora, Marc. "If The Hospital Cafeteria Is a McDonald's, Is Fast Food Still Unhealthy." New York Times 26 Oct 2004, Late ed.: B1.
ProQuest Research Library Complete. ProQuest Information and learning. Solano College Lib.,Fairfield, CA 15 May 2005 Sparke, Amanda " How McNuggets Changed the Story of Fast Food: Yes, You Are What You Eat." U.S News & World Report 130 .3 (2001):54. ProQuest Research Library Complete. ProQuest Information and learning. Solano College Lib. ,Fairfield, CA 10 May 2005 Williams, Lois. "Student Obesity Issues." New Jurnal & Guide 1 Sept. 2004: 2.ProQuest Research Library Complete. ProQuest Information and learning.
Solano College Lib. ,Fairfield, CA 18 May 2005.
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