I like to go to our new neighborhood grocery because I know what it is like to not have a store within walking/biking distance. I don’t enjoy driving cross town through traffic, to a crowded parking lot, to a crowded store, even if that store has a wide (should I say dizzying) selection of products.
The new store sits nestled between the artsy/hip/vegan-veggie-pc side of the neighborhood, and those who need to pack the most punch for their dollar. Kind of like our household’s pocketbook. They are trying very hard to serve the entire community with an expanding local/natural/organic section and vibrant well stocked shelves of modern lower cost products.
Purchasing meat is a difficult balancing act. This store carries a good variety of affordable cuts of beef/chicken/pork etc. It is actually surprising how low their prices are, and I am sure they are risking profit margin here as a method of increasing customer satisfaction.
Unfortunately, I know from where meat comes. The modern industrial livestock industry is ugly, and becoming more disturbing daily.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is set to reduce its oversight of the nation’s largest poultry slaughterhouses by allowing companies to speed up their kill lines by 25% (from 140 birds per minute to 175 birds per minute), while at the same time reducing inspectors 75% (from 4 to just 1).
Instead of relying on visual evidence of illness and contamination (feces, bruises, blemishes, blood, etc.), the department will now douse all the birds in water laced with chlorine and other antimicrobial chemicals in attempt to kill all harmful pathogens on the spot.
Tests have shown that anywhere from a quarter to two-thirds of supermarket chickens contain the pathogens salmonella or campylobacter—or both, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that about 1 in 6 Americans gets sick from eating contaminated food (good time to reduce inspections ay?), and experts say this inspection method itself presents safety concerns.
Workers inside the plants temperatures, usually below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Plant floors are often wet and slippery from dripping blood, guts, and the “chicken juices” ( and soon antimicrobial water). Chemicals such as ammonia, chlorine, phosphoric acid, and sodium hydroxide are common. Consider what that does to your lungs as you work at a rapid pace for hours a day tring to keep up with a kill line that will now move even faster. (No wonder big business is so dead set against the health care bill).
I’m going to keep shopping at my neighborhood store. After all, their products are coming from the same slaughterhouses as the big guys. But I am going to try harder to get my meat from local, small farmers who do ethical butchering. To do that I will need to reduce our use of meat overall. But that’s OK. The kale is growing strong in my front yard.
For more information on the poultry slaughter dilemma read HERE