By Hwaa Irfan
America needs Mexico, because Mexico is the U.S’s second biggest trading partner after Canada. Mexico threatened sanctions against the U.S., when Obama was struggling with an economy in the early days of the global economic crisis, which was triggered by the U.S. This was one week before the 2009 pseudo-pandemic H1N1 broke out in Mexico forcing closure of the Mexican borders, after Hilary Clinton rushed down to Mexico to smooth the impending crisis in trade by admitting to the U.S. being complicit in the Mexican drug war. Away from the mainstream press, it was a case of flu, not H1N1, but that did not matter by then.
Mexico has much to be dissatisfied with about when it comes to its gang-ho neighbor the U.S. having been forced to become a long term money spinner for the U.S. (cheap labor and products). However it was in 2008 that Mexico had to refuse to take U.S. meat or beef to be more precise. The level of copper in the beef exceeded levels safe enough for human consumption, but rather than dispose of the meat, the meat is returned to the U.S. for sale and consumption by American consumers. This all at a time when hunger has graced the homes/homeless of many Americans, and Wall Street is blind to the consequences of its actions.
The effect of consuming too much copper is copper toxicosis the result of which is:
• Renal tubular necrosis
• Cardiac arrhythmia
Food monitoring in the U.S. is done by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), whilst the Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for setting the standards for human tolerance and pollutants. “Limits have not been set by the EPA and FDA “for many potentially harmful substances, which can impair FSIS’ enforcement activities,” the 2010 audit by the Department of Agriculture found. The national residue program was activated to protect the American consumer from meats processed containing residual veterinary drugs, pesticides etc from the farm to the supermarket, however the program has failed. Thresholds had not been set, therefore limiting the consumer of American meat to the hazards of drugs and pesticides used to raise process and trade in the meat of cattle. The audit found between July 2007, and March 2008:
“… four carcasses that were adulterated with violative levels of veterinary drugs and that the plants involved had released the meat into the food supply”. Although the drugs involved could result in stomach, nerve or skin problems for the consumers, FSIS requested no recall”
The residues found in meat were:
Flunixin, which can lead to blood in the faeces, gastrointestinal lesions/ulcers, and renal necrosis.
Penicillin, which can lead to “life threatening allergic reaction” (the throat shuts down), serious damage to the nerves, serious inflammation of the colon, swelling of the lips/tongue/face/, bleeding, and diarrhea.
Arsenic, which can lead to skin lesions, skin malignancy, internal malignancies, vascular disease, and hypertension.
Copper, which can lead to hemolysis, jaundice, renal dysfunction, death
Ivermectin, alters the way in which the nervous system works to the extent that it causes damage to neurons and key cells that transmit messages to the brain.
However, the means (technology) that is recommended to ensure compliance in the testing and screening of meat before entering the market, will more than likely increase the price of meat to the American consumer, whether the meat is Islamically halal or not all because in place greed (i.e. profit) instead of ethics. As Ramadan approaches there are implications for the Muslim consumer who in recent years offer meat as charity to the non-Muslim poor.
Food for Thought
Despite our obsession for meat, we consume far too much than is needed by our bodies. Our consumption far exceeds our physical and biological needs to the extent that it can lead to chronic heart disease, diabetes mellitus, and cancer. The level at which some people consume meat is on addictive proportions. By reducing consumption of meat one would not only make budgetary savings, but one would make savings on one’s health. The effects of high consumption of meat includes:
• Women with a high consumption of meat risk hip fractures
• Clogs vessels and organs
• Makes the muscles slack and joints stiff due to the excess calcium high consumption of meat produces
• Increased acidity of body fluids
• Increased accumulation of toxic by-products which over taxes the kidneys
• Hormonal imbalances due to the sex hormone used to fatten cattle.
By reducing one’s consumption of meat, one reduces the almost manic way in which meat cattle is produced. This mania adds to the increase in pollutants in our food supply, our soil, and the water we drink. Cattle would be respected more albeit not as one of Allah’s creation, and our environment would be less stressed, and more able to produce the healthy food our bodies need. Eating meat is only really beneficial for those who do physical work, and as we are in an age that is more sedentary, the benefits are minimal.
Colbin, A. Food and Healing. 1986. Ballantine Books, U.S.
Commission on Life Sciences “Copper in Drinking Water” http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=9782&page=79#p200068179960079001
USDA FSIS National Residue Program for Cattle
Watch What You Eat!