To Eat or Not to Eat? That is the question

For the last 10 days or so the UK news network has been filled with the horsemeat ‘scandal’.  Now it has been found in pies destined for schools in the North of England. One newspaper even suggested that aged donkeys might also have been slaughtered for human consumption. It is suggested that the impetus for illegal meat stuff getting into the food chain comes from consumer demand for cheap food, especially in a recession. Apparently this demand paves the way for criminals to infiltrate the ever lengthening global food chain, and especially around processed foodstuff. Oh yeah, blame the consumer.

To eat or not to eat? 
But what’s the problem? A quick internet search reveals that Bute (or phenylbutazone) - an anti-inflammatory drug used for treating horses has also been used to treat some types of human arthritis in the UK (banned in the USA). However, Bute is no longer approved for meat animals as it can occasionally cause severe side effects, such as suppression of white blood cell production and a type of anemia in some people!! Surely that can’t be right. Not generally approved for ‘meat’ animals, but used to treat human beings?  Nah; must have got that wrong. If you are partial to a bit of rump steak, you’d better check it out for yourself because horsemeat is being packaged as beef and distributed throughout the Euro Zone. It is only now that this is being openly acknowledged.
          I am reminded of a British politician who, in 1990, made a great play of stuffing a burger into the mouth of his 4-year old daughter on camera. This was supposed to demonstrate that beef was safe to eat in spite of, or perhaps because of, an outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalitis (BSE) or ‘mad cow’ disease.          
          A few days before this public display, a cat had apparently died of a BSE-like disease and six months earlier the government itself had banned beef offal for human consumption.  A few years later people began to die of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) a rare, degenerative and up to now, invariably fatal brain disorder. Is there such a thing as equine spongiform encephalitis?
Western lifestyles demand more and more ‘speed’ so ‘fast’, cheap junk foods which are highly processed and contain high levels of salt and sugar, and only god knows what else, contribute not only to obesity but also excessive levels of heat and cholesterol in the bloodstream. This generates an inner environment where abnormal cells can mutate and flourish, spawning the kind of diseases for which modern medicine have not yet developed a cure. 
    Not being a meat eater, and as far as I possibly can, an avoider of all processed food, I’m not sure what to make of it all, except to look on with bemusement. 


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