That’s right — dangerous E. coli has been found in meat from cattle that were fed distiller’s grain.
The four main pathogens that cause dangerous food illness that are of concern today are:
- staphaureus, and
- E. coli 0157:H7 (E. coli to you and me).
Researchers at Kansas State University have discovered that cattle fed on distiller’s grain — a byproduct of the ethanol distillation process — have a greater prevalence of E. coli 0157 in their meat. Their research found, through three rounds of testing, that cattle fed on distiller’s grain were twice as likely to have E. coli 0157 in their systems.
Distiller’s grains come from the distillation process:
Distillers Grains are a cereal byproduct of the distillation process.
There are two main sources of these grains. The traditional sources were from brewers. More recently, ethanol plants are a growing source. It is created in distilleries by drying mash, and is subsequently sold for a variety of purposes, usually as fodder for livestock (especially ruminants). ~ Answers.com
That’s right — rather than allowing cattle to graze freely on, say, grass in pastures, it is thought that distiller’s grain is a good (and somehow proper) feed for cows, such that ethanol (alcohol) plants are often set up next to cattle pens. Not only do he ethanol producers not have to cart away their production waste, but they reap an added source of income in selling their waste to the cattle owners next door. Additionally, due to increased ethanol production, and the possibility of its potential as an alternate source of energy, this production is likely to increase in the future — likely resulting in more cattle being fed distiller’s grains as time passes.
But wait; there’s more:
In beer or whiskey production grains such as corn are ground to a coarse consistency and added to hot water. After cooling, yeast is added and the mixture ferments for several days to a week. The solids remaining after fermentation are the distillers grains. ~ Answers.com
So, not only are these poor, penned-in cattle being fed grains, but those grains have been heated, with added water and yeast, and then fermented. This is a far cry from grass.
Flashback: 100 years ago — distiller’s mash fed to cows
This is actually the second "arranged marriage" for the cattle industry — the first was over a century ago when the distilleries just outside America’s growing cities sold their spent mash to feed the nearby herds of dairy cows to meet the growing demand for milk. The cattle became so weakened from their wretched living that the natural antibiotic qualities of healthy ruminant (grazing animal) milk was compromised enough to allow human transmitted pathogens (tuberculosis, cholera) to spread all over town. It was the death of the cows, of course, and led, unerringly, to the pasteurization hysteria instead of to proper food, healthier herds, and a Certification system for dairies.
That the rate of milk-born illness in children declined with the advent of pasteurization is a happy fact, but the effect of pasteurization on two generations of Americans doesn’t indicate it was the best course to take to accomplish it. The hot new bride, Ms. Ethanol, comes with a huge dowry donated by rich uncles and is a "green energy" groupie following the money.
Even though we figured out, over a century ago, how deteriorating the distiller’s diet was to our food chain and the fact that controlled university research tests reflect this hasn’t changed, Kansas State, one of the most respected institutions on the subject of food safety, is trying very hard to sidestep recommending that cattle owners stop feeding distiller’s grain to their cows.
What about that E. coli?
E. coli 0157 has effects that are far from pleasant, as everyone hopes they will never have to experience to believe. With a complete course of antibiotics, most healthy adults will be okay. But Dr. Wm.Campbell Douglass, MD says that this kind of malady often causes acute kidney failure in children and the elderly, and is alarmed that more state and federal attention has not been given to this deadly serious and growing threat from increasingly contaminated meat. This canny doctor of the "old school" was the National Health Federation‘s Doctor of the Year.
Cooking this meat to a crisp might be a recourse — except that the public has no way of knowing which package of steak, roast or hamburger from the supermarket was fed distillery leavings while on-the-hoof. There has to be a better way to further our quest for a clean-burning gasoline substitute than to endanger our food supply, not to even mention the fuel used in huge processing plants and transport vehicles.
C’mon KSU, stand for the validity of your own research as the Ag school that you are. We need to depend on the integrity of your science reporting and that of other state universities. Join the sustainable movement so the other 97% of us can eat without fear of suffering and death.
If you can help it, please don’t let the ethanol producers get any more subsidies for their "green energy supply" until the CATTLE STOP EATING TOXIC WASTE. While you, the distilleries and the FDA do a little more research "just to be sure", untold misery could ripple out to unsuspecting consumers and people could die!
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