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Unread 06-28-2010, 04:48 PM   #27
jswordy
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Salmon is a funny foodstuff, and the food regs are funnier still (and I say that as someone who has been in the animal protein production business for 20 years).

You have your wild salmon and your farmed salmon. Farmed salmon is 80% of the supply, and has been found in numerous studies to contain elevated PCBs. Wild salmon is 20% of the supply, has better PCB concentrations.

Now, if you buy "Alaskan salmon," thinking it is wild, it may not be. It must be "Alaskan Wild Salmon" to be wild. They sell farmed Alaskan salmon to people who think they are getting wild because it is from Alaska. Nope!

"Fresh" salmon is actually salmon that has never been frozen. The word "fresh" has no link whatsoever to the freshness of the meat. Use the old quality control on the front of your face. If it smells like fish, then it is NOT fresh.

As far as grass-fed beef, we bought some roasts from a farmer here who does it right, and I will tell you this much: That beef reminded me of what beef used to taste like, back when I was a kid 40 years ago. It is amazing how much our food has changed in those years.

On food production, we are tops. We know how to wrestle the most out of the least inputs, and a lot of farmers have been drawn into that system that merits a man solely by how much quantity he produces. To reach higher in production, we have done some amazing things, like feedlots in which cows are intentionally forced into an acidosis situation with more grain ration than they normally would consume, because acidosis creates gain faster. They then are medicated for the effect on their digestive tracts. There was actually a vet college study out two years ago about feedlots using those plastic pot scrubbers in the rumens of cows because they found if those were put in there, the cows could consume more grains in the diet with less acidosis. How's that sound to you? Natural? How about cows eating chicken feathers? Or how about cows being bred to fit a physical phenotype that experience has shown to do better on all-grain diets?

But on quality, we are falling shorter every year. That is why labels on some "fresh" beef cuts in your grocery display now say "Water and flavoring added." Why?

The feedlot and packing industry has grown more and more concentrated, and in doing so we may have gained production efficiencies, but we are losing quality. Sure, it's "safe," meaning by USDA standards it won't kill you or make you sick at the moment you eat it, but what does it do down the road when you consume meat from many calves that have been farm ear-implanted with more than the prescribed number of hormone pellets to supposedly make them grow out faster? Remember, the farmer is rewarded for growing faster, not for what effect the hormones will have on you.

I get all the farm magazines, from the chemical industry supported, production is tops pubs all the way over to the grass farmer mags. There are a number of good questions raised by the way we do things now, and we presently answer those by finding out which farm groups and industries have the most money, and favoring them politically. I'm not sure that's a good way to explore the issues in the long run.
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