Wednesday, January 27, 2010

GMOs in Pasture Raised Meat

I was going to post my recipe for the best meatballs on the planet along with the best roasted veggies as a side dish. My plan went up in a puff of smoke when I started suffering a monster corn reaction to the meatballs. I double-checked all the ingredients: onion, garlic, sea salt, fresh ground pepper, 70% lean ground beef from US Wellness Meats. Now, onions and garlic can be corntaminated, but I knew these were safe. They are not only the same brand I have tested and confirmed, but they were from an open bag. Needless to say I use the sea salt and black pepper every day so I knew it was safe. Besides, this reaction started quickly (before I had even finished eating) and it was intense. I could tell from the first symptom that it was a corn derivative.

After rechecking my ingredients I came to the conclusion that it had to be the pasture raised ground beef from US Wellness Meats. I was so angry and upset. Until this reaction, I was an affiliate. I recommended them on every corn allergy website or forum that I frequent. How could this happen? I emailed them that night to find out how the GMO corn had landed in the meat. The owner, John Wood, emailed me back quickly and said he would look into it. His next email confirmed that they are using lactic acid (citric acid's evil twin and a powerful GM corn-derived anti-bacterial) at the processing plant. The ground beef contains a higher concentration because it is made from the trim off roasts and steaks, therefore, more heavily sprayed areas make up the ground beef.

Now, can you understand the enormity of this? At US Wellness, they go to great lengths to finish cows on pasture. They refuse to finish them on a feedlot using GMO corn to fatten them up quickly. This costs extra because it takes much longer and more work to finish cattle this way. The health benefits of eating pastured meat are extensive and eating only healthy animals is important to me. Feedlot cows are sick when they are butchered and the force-feeding of unnatural grains causes them to suffer high levels of E. coli infections. The government requires the processing plants to use powerful anti-bacterial sprays directly on the carcass to combat the spread  of E. coli. If you saw the process, believe me, you would be in favor of spraying whatever it took to kill all the contaminants that are on these carcasses.

My problem is that the anti-bacterial spray that they use is made with GM corn and I cannot tolerate even a little bit of it. It seems that the government guidelines make no distinction between butchering sick cows in high production abatoires and butchering healthy cows in smaller facilities. Now, the obvious conclusion is that the beef sold by US Wellness Meats is coated with a toxic spray as it is being processed. All of that work and care to raise the best quality meat with the most health benefits is ruined in the few seconds it takes to pump out that toxic brew onto the carcass. Healthy, pasture raised cows are reduced to toxic ground beef in an instant.

To say that I am angry about this would be an understatement. I have come to embrace the need to cook all my foods from scratch. I have come to terms with the idea that I can never eat at a restaurant or relative's house again. I have even given up the idea of "convenience foods" and have resigned myself to gathering uncorny ingredients from sources far and wide, but this is where my patience ends. The produce section of my grocery store is a minefield of corny waxes and ethylene-gassed vegetables and fruit. I can't even buy uncorned milk in the entire city of Jackson, MS and now my source of pasture-raised meat is gone. I don't care if there is GMO corn and soy in every packaged or canned food in my grocery store, I can do without those. Why can't I at least buy fresh produce and meat that hasn't been corntaminated? Does anyone realize that even the organic meat in my grocery store ($12.00 for a small whole organic chicken!) has been treated with non-organic sprays that contain GMO corn? The USDA doesn't count the antibacterial sprays as an ingredient even though consumers clearly are ingesting them.

What does this mean for my family? I have tried to find a local farm for meat and produce, but I moved here on Thanksgiving Day and there wasn't much of a farmer's market by then. All of the places listed on eatwild.com for my area have gone out of business. When the farmers market starts up again in the spring maybe I will be able to find fresh meat and vegetables that haven't been corned. Maybe I will find a way to grow my own vegetables and meat in my backyard, but that seems doubtful with no money and chronic fatigue.

Now, what to do with the corntaminated meat I still have from US Wellness Meats? My mom said she would take it home but I doubt she can tolerate it any better than I can. I couldn't even feed the leftover meatballs to my dog because they had onion in them. What a waste. Of time, money and effort. This depressing post is part of Real Food Wednesdays. Go over and find something happy to read about to lift your spirits. I know I will.