A beef processing investigation by The Kansas City Star found serious health risks including beef fecal contamination.
According toThe Huffington Post, the investigators found evidence of fecal contamination, which increases the risk of e. coli.
The 2-year long beef investigation found that 4 major beef processing companies, that make up 87% of the beef industry in the US, use a money-saving technique to tenderize tough meat. The technique uses automated blades to puncture the meat, which forces the E. Coli to move from the surface of the meat inward. When cooking non-tenderized beef, e.coli is cooked off, but when meat is tenderized the e.coli is harder to kill during cooking. In addition to e.coli in beef, the tenderizing technique increases the risk of foodborne pathogens that can lead to many preventable illnesses.
The federal inspection records have hundreds of references to fecal contamination. At multiple plants inspectors said there were:
“Massive fecal contamination; multiple carcasses with varying degrees of fecal contamination; [there was] a piece of trimmed fat approximately 14 inches long with feces the length of it, and [the] fecal matter was so great [he] couldn’t keep up.”
E. coli is a bacteria that lives in the intestines of cows and if ingested in humans causes abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhea, and vomiting. Healthy adults can usually recover in a week but in the young and elderly it can be fatal.
Along with the fecal contamination, the inspectors reported the cows were given beta blockers to make them grow faster and anti-biotics to make them gain weight faster. The Kansas City Star’s beef investigation has dozens of in-depth articles and pictures of their beef investigation.