Hot Pockets Recalls 8 Million Pounds of Meat Due to “Diseased and Unsound Animals”

Last year saw a great number of widely publicized instances of food fraud and general nastiness when it came to the various items many of us regularly put in our bodies. From “fake tuna,” to rat meat in the streets of Shanghai, to alcohol in New Jersey diluted with “river water,” the list was seemingly endless.

While 2014 has been off to a slow start, it appears the corporate food industry in America is trying to make up for lost time. According to a news release from the USDA on Valentine’s Day titled: “California Firm Recalls Unwholesome Meat Products Produced Without the Benefit of Full Inspection,” we discover that:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 14, 2014 – Rancho Feeding Corporation, a Petaluma, Calif. establishment, is recalling approximately 8,742,700 pounds, because it processed diseased and unsound animals and carried out these activities without the benefit or full benefit of federal inspection. Thus, the products are adulterated, because they are unsound, unwholesome or otherwise are unfit for human food and must be removed from commerce, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

Oh, and by the way, this is a Class I recall. What does that mean?

Screen Shot 2014-02-19 at 5.18.53 PM

Basically if you live California, Florida, Illinois, Oregon, Texas and Washington you should stay away from Hot Pockets.

Scratch that. You should stay away from Hot Pockets no matter where you live. Forever.

Full USDA release here.

In Liberty,
Michael Krieger

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Operation Swill: New Jersey Bars Caught Serving Fake Alcohol

It’s been a little while since my last food fraud post on rat meat being sold as lamb on the streets on Shanghai.  It’s been an even longer time since the last post on stealth inflation in alcohol when Maker’s Mark announced it was diluting its product (they ultimately backtracked due to consumer outrage).  Well, the following post combines both food fraud and stealth inflation all in one.  Apparently, we can’t even drink in peace anymore.

Pro Tip:  You may want to avoid TGI Fridays when in New Jersey.  From CBS:

TRENTON, NJ (CBS) — The New Jersey Attorney General and the Director of the division of Alcoholic Beverage Control released details Thursday on the investigation into dozens of establishments in the state accused of selling cheap — or even fake — alcohol to customers from premium bottles.

State Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa says samples were taken from numerous establishments after complaints from consumers and other sources. Spirit samples, bought at the bars and restaurants, were ordered “neat” in January and February and then sent for testing. Chiesa says some of the substitutions bordered on dangerous.

“There were a couple of incredibly interesting ones, one was described to me as essentially “river water” — they didn’t even think it was actually tap water. Another one we believe was rubbing alcohol and caramel color to make it look like a whiskey.”

The bars and restaurants named in the investigation are:

Railroad Café, East Rutherford
The Brick House, Wycoff
Sunset Tavern, Burlington
Graziano’s Ristorante, Chesilhurst
Villari’s Lakeside, Gloucester Township
Yesterdays, Marmora
TGI Fridays, West Orange
Italian Affair, Glassboro
Bells Tavern, Lambertville
TGI Fridays, East Windsor
Brunswick Grove, East Brunswick
TGI Fridays, Old Bridge
TGI Fridays, North Brunswick
TGI Fridays, Piscataway
TGI Fridays, Freehold
TGI Fridays, Marlboro
TGI Fridays, Hazlet
Murray’s, Dover
TGI Fridays, East Hanover
Sona Thirteen, Morristown
Blackthorn Restaurant, Parsippany
Ruby Tuesday, Bridgewater
TGI Fridays, Linden
Café 34, Matawan
Applebee’s, Kearny
Cucina Calandara, Fairfield
TGI Fridays, Woodridge
TGI Fridays, Springfield
TGI Fridays, Clifton

Chairman Bernanke, please enlighten us.  Is this inflation or deflation, and how much money printing will it take to solve the problem?

Full article here.

In Liberty,
Mike

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Food Fraud Hits a New Low with the Potential Emergence of Dog Meat in the UK

The food fraud story has now progressed from somewhat humorous with the undersized Subway footlong subs, to the highly disturbing with the revelations of horse meat and fake tuna, to the really creepy with the now potential emergence of dog meat in UK lamb curry.  No you can’t print lamb folks, which is exactly why many humans are now eating worse than their pets in the Western world.

A mystery meat, which has defied the best efforts of scientists to identify it, has been found in a lamb curry as part of an investigation into food fraud.

The discovery raises new questions about just what is going into the nation’s takeaways and processed foods.

The meat in a Beef in Black Bean Sauce dish turned out to contain high levels of chicken material including blood, while a burger contained no beef at all, other than blood and heart.

However, most alarming of all was a curry. A spokesman for the programme said: ‘Just when we thought things couldn’t get any worse, the results came in for an Indian Lamb Curry.

‘It did contain meat, but that meat was not lamb, not pork, nor was it chicken or beef. Not horse, and not goat either.

All of the many tests to date by the lab used by the programme have failed to identify exactly which animal was the source of the meat.

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New Study Shows 59% of “Tuna” Sold in the U.S. Isn’t Tuna

This is just the latest revelation in the stealth inflation and food fraud theme I have written about frequently in recent months.  The non-profit group Oceana took samples of 1,215 fish sold in the U.S. and genetic tests found that that 59% of those labeled tuna were mislabeled. It seems that “white tuna” should be avoided in particular as “84% of fish samples labeled “white tuna” were actually escolar, a fish that can cause prolonged, uncontrollable, oily anal leakage.”  Oh and if you live in my hometown of New York City, you should pay particular attention:

Big Apple has big problem with seafood fraud:  94 percent of tuna and more than three quarters of sushi samples in New York City mislabeled. 

Of the 142 fish samples collected in New York, 39 percent were mislabeled. New York City led the nation with the highest occurrence of mislabeled salmon as well as the highest amount of fraud among salmon collected from grocery stores and restaurants. 

National Seafood Fraud Testing Results FINAL by Oceania

 

Bon appétit!

In Liberty,
Mike

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The Meat Industry Now Consumes 80% of All Antibiotics

Care for a side of horse meat with that dose of tetracycline in your chicken wings?  Recovery never tasted so good!  Basically since 2003, antibiotic use for sick people is flat, but up 50% for use in the meat industry.  These stats are shocking.  From Mother Jones:

Last year, the Food and Drug Administration proposed a set of voluntary “guidelines” designed to nudge the meat industry to curb its antibiotics habit. Ever since, the agency has been mulling whether and how to implement the new program. Meanwhile, the meat industry has been merrily gorging away on antibiotics—and churning out meat rife with antibiotic-resistant pathogens—if the latest data from the FDA itself is any indication.

Note that that while human antibiotic use has leveled off at below 8 billion pounds annually, livestock farms have been sucking in more and more of the drugs each year—and consumption reached a record nearly 29.9 billion pounds in 2011. To put it another way, the livestock industry is now consuming nearly four-fifths of the antibiotics used in the US, and its appetite for them is growing.

meatAntibio

In an email, a Pew spokesperson added that while  the American Meat Institute reported a 0.2 percent increase in total meat and poultry production in 2011 compared to the previous year, the FDA data show that antibiotic consumption jumped 2 percent over the same time period. That suggests that meat production might be getting more antibiotic-intensive.  

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More Stealth Inflation as Maker’s Mark Slashes Alcohol Content

They just ain’t making Maker’s like they used to.  According to company, an apparent bourbon shortage has besieged the company leaving it no choice but to cut the alcohol content of their booze from 45% to 42%.

I’m sorry, but this excuse reeks of marketing spin.  What manufacturer decides to dilute their product when they face high demand, rather than just raise the price by 3% and keep the quality intact?  In a world where horse meat is increasingly finding its way into “all beef” product, where biotech salmon is soon to hit the streets and where Subway’s foot long sandwiches are less than 12 inches, I’d be willing to bet this is simply just another case of good old fashioned stealth inflation.

From the UK’s Daily Mail:

Distillers of a world famous bourbon has cut its alcohol content so it can meet increasing demand for the drink.

The owners of Maker’s Mark, which is distilled Loretto, Kentucky, said they are unable to produce the bourbon fast enough.

It announced that the bourbon – which used the slogan ‘It tastes expensive… and is’ – will drop its alcohol content by three per cent.

It will now be reduced to 42 per cent ABV from 45 per cent.

Shame they couldn’t just dilute it with horse meat.

Full article here.

In Liberty,
Mike

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