Beef Recall, Hot Lunch, and Dog Food
Attention Silicon Valley and beyond....On Sunday, the USDA recalled 143 million pounds of beef from Chino-based Hallmark/Westland meatpacking company. DC Metro Mom blogger Joanne posted about the recall here a few days ago. Over the past two years, thirty-seven million pounds of meat from so-called downer cows were shipped to school lunch programs. Schools are busy pulling meat from freezers, but our kids already ate most of it, according to the the Department of Agriculture's food safety official. Thankfully, the meat is not known to be tainted with e. coli or another pathogen. It's "just" from sick cows, so Hallmark/Westland thought they could get away with it.
I'm curious why it took this video from the Humane Society for the USDA to wake up. These issues with putting downer cows in our food supply are not new and are quite widely known. According to Michael Pollan's book, The Omnivore's Dilemma, a third of slaughtered cows have liver abscesses that would kill them within months anyway. These aren't even the downer cows, who presumably have worse issues.
This all leads up to a conversation I had a few months ago, when I got a question from a mom of a kinder at our school:
"Your son told my son that 'hot lunch' served at school was the same as dog food. Is that true?" Time for that video:
Maybe I was too honest with my kids...
Looking sheepishly at the mom, I stammered, "Well, sort of." I had indeed recently explained to my kids that they weren't going to get hot lunch at school because I always found time to make them their lunch. I said some families don't have time to make lunches at home.
My mistake with my kinder twins was one of elaboration. I didn't want them to bug me about hot lunch every day, so I mentioned some graphic details that were probably not appropriate info for a kinder to be walking around with. But, I made my point with my kids and they stopped asking for hot lunch at school. I thought the problem was solved. Then, I found myself trying to explain to this nice mom what I'd actually said.
I told my kids about how we treat CAFO cattle that are made into hot lunch hamburgers. (I didn't actually use the term CAFO or explain it.) There are farms that treat their cattle really well, and it's OK to eat meat from those farms, but that's not what is at school.Continued on the next page