Japan stops US beef shipments again

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by 2jaded2care, Jan 20, 2006.

  1. 2jaded2care macrumors 6502

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    #1
    Linky:

    http://money.cnn.com/2006/01/20/news/international/japan_beef/index.htm?cnn=yes

    This is why I have been boycotting beef for the past few years. I have no confidence in US beef producers' concern for consumers. (I guess they figure the disease takes so long to affect anyone, it would be impossible to pinpoint any one source and sue that one company.) Their only concern is their bottom lines... And apparently even that isn't important enough to convince them to honor an agreement which, if broken, could cost them billions of dollars a year.

    Japan can test every animal sold, but the US can't? Such steps "were not necessary or economical" -- well, which one is it? Let me guess.
     
  2. devilot Moderator emeritus

    devilot

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    #2
    Interesting read. Thanks for posting that.

    The timing of this article is a bit funny; yesterday was the first day I stepped food into an all-organic grocery store. My boyfriend and I want to start leading healthier lives one step at a time and figure this would be the simplest move for us... so I have yet to sample organic meat, but this article reassures me that our decision is a wise one. (And I know a good number of people don't respect Consumer Reports, but the recent issue also talks about organic foods, pros/cons etc.)
     
  3. Jesus macrumors 6502

  4. spinner macrumors regular

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    #4
    First of all this was in no way a failure of the beef producers, it was a failure of the packers. The beef producers (aka ranchers) havent had anything to do with the animal for some time before it is actually slaughtered. They are sold to "feed lots" at about 9-12 months of age at livestock auctions. The feed lots then feed out the cattle to maturity or what you could consider their maximum weight. At this time they are then sent on to packing plant (aka slaughterhouses) for processing. It is here where the critical mishandling of the beef occurs. Processing obviously sick and dieing cows has only recently become taboo after some contamination was detected. So if you want to vent some of your anger at someone please choose the proper target. Large conglomorate companies such as IBP have been screwing not only the producers but consumers as well for a number of years. So before you run around laying blame learn the facts of the situation. I know first hand about this situation as I grew up and currently live on the family farm. If you want to talk about the bottom line here's a fun fact: ranchers get less than HALF of what ground beef cost you at the store and only about 5-10% of that is actual profit after they have to feed, vaccinate, transport, and pay for any medical treatment the animals might need. Believe it or not cows dont just roam free on the range and every now and then someone happens by and scoops up a few for processing. The entire summer months are spent gathering hay for feeding throughout the winter. Winters are spent feeding and checking cattle every couple hours to be sure one is not having complications during birthing. It is very hard work, made even harder by the ignorance of the American consumer who jumps to conclusions about that which they know nothing about. If you think that you could do a better, safer job of raising these cattle for human consumption then you are welcome to come out here and show us. Otherwise, take my word for it, write a nasty letter to IBP and tell them you are sick and tired of them not giving a damn about you or me.
     
  5. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #5
    It's true that this is a packer's issue and the country's food supply is in serious danger because of their greed. However, to imply that BSE could only be caused by improper feeding in a feedlot is a total sham.

    Too many farmers have taken the easy way out by using tradition to guide them in their business practices. There's far more money to be made through the sale of organic meat but few have shown interest in the extra effort that it takes. I always find it interesting that those who blindly support the beef industry are willing to put up with such an inferior product. Feedlot beef is some of the worst tasting **** in the world. Having grown up eating free range beef, I refuse to buy feedlot beef.

    If you want more money for your cattle, the opportunity is available if you want it.
     
  6. Nickygoat macrumors 6502a

    Nickygoat

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    #6
    I couldn't agree more. In Saudi Arabia US beef was far more expensive than meat from anywhere else (due to it's quality, but in reality was just awful. Tough, flavourless and insipid. Ugh.
    I was very quick to point out to my parents the bit in Fast Food Nation about the meat packing industry and the differences between preparing meat for the US and the EU.
    Too many people shop by price rather than quality.
     
  7. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    #7
    well i think the US simply has to improve... it can't go on without those stuff

    that aside i'm sure most meat is ok in the US, but stuff like genetic manipulated food for cows or injecting hormones or antibiotics should be reduced to as little as possible (or better to zero for hormones)

    and good meat isn't really more expensive than those prepackaged stuff in supermarkets, in fact price _and_ quality wise both is nearly the same here
    perhaps slight advantage to a normal Butcher but very minimal
     
  8. spinner macrumors regular

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    #8
    And how exactly do you know all this for sure? I am assuming that in some point in your life you have raised cattle and sold them at market to make such a bold statement.

    Firstly, you have misread the entire statement, i never blamed feedlots, i blamed IBP and their subsidaries. The problem sighted in the article was that the spines had been left with the beef. THAT IS A PACKING MISTAKE. It has absolutely nothing to do with the raising of the animal. I did not blame the whole BSE problem on packers. In fact, i made no mention of it.

    Secondly, please tell where i can find this wonderful place to sell my cattle as "organic" and make double the profits. Many ranchers no longer use hormones to increase calf size, this has already been phased out because of consumers. Now I am sure there probably are a few left that do, but none in this area. As for not wanting to put in the extra effort, that's the biggest load of BS i have ever heard. We work our asses off to raise these cattle and get them to market.

    Finally, I am greatly offended by your comment about blindly following the beef industry. I dont blindly follow anything, this is my job, my well being, my whole life has been spent doing this work. To tell me that I know nothing about it is an very arrogant thing to say. If you dont want to hear about how things really are then dont read it. I also renew my offer, if anyone of you think that you could do a better job then please let me know you are welcome to come out here and show me first hand I can always use the help.

    If you dont like beef then dont eat it. But, dont run around crying wolf when you dont know WTF you are talking about.
     
  9. 2jaded2care thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #9
    Take it easy, spinner, we seemed to have touched a nerve here.

    I will admit I'm not an expert on cattle, slaughterhouses or prions. However, I don't think these forums would be very active if only experts on subjects were allowed to express opinions. My admittedly limited knowledge comes from occasional newspaper articles and the Web.

    Yes, I will concede your point that this seems to have been a problem with the meat packing plant. And there is no suggestion that the meat was infected. However, it was not what was supposed to have been sent, and I don't understand that given the likely consequences of the carelessness.

    I will admit that my use of the term "beef producers" was perhaps mistaken. I had assumed that ranchers produced "cattle", and that processing plants produced "beef" for consumption. If that is incorrect, I apologize.

    However, speaking only for myself, I do not feel confident that our government is taking prudent steps to protect consumers, whether this is because of industry lobbyists or whatever. I don't see why Japan and apparently the European Commission can test every animal, and the US somehow can't (especially if I read this http://www.harpers.org/MadCowDisease.html right, that the cost of testing would be 5 cents a pound of beef).

    I don't like hearing that we have had 2 cases of mad cow in the US. I don't like hearing that the first probably entered the food chain, but we shouldn't be too concerned because the meat probably has only a very small percentage of prions in them (as opposed to the nerve tissue). I don't like hearing that the first infected cow was a downer, then maybe it wasn't, and we're not sure.

    While the second cow didn't ever enter the market, I'm pretty sure I recall that they couldn't track all the cattle which might have had contact with the sick one.

    And, the Nobel-prize winning scientist who did the pioneering work on prions recommends that all animals be tested -- yes, I'll grant that he is not unbiased, his company apparently sells the test.

    Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that ranchers don't know what they are doing. I believe that it is hard work, and I don't envy you the job. However, I am very particular about my food. (For example, I won't go back to a fast food joint if I witness the behind-the-counter workers leaving the bathroom without washing their hands. And I don't like to have my burritos wrapped by the same hands that just handled the money.)

    Maybe I will investigate the organic beef thing. I used to like beef occasionally, but I have been avoiding it since this BSE thing really made me mad at the US industry.

    Have a nice day? :eek:
     
  10. Chundles macrumors G4

    Chundles

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  11. hmmfe macrumors regular

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    #11
  12. 2jaded2care thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #12
  13. Stella macrumors 604

    Stella

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    #13
    So, the shoe is on the other foot.

    The usa is quick about banning beef from other countries with a hint of BSE.. and now it happens to them. Now the usa is crying.

    Are they surprised the beef is banned?

    They shouldn't be.

    The usa need to do far more beef testing. I'm sure if they tested more cattle there would be a lot of instances of BSE.

    "Japan, which has had its own cases of BSE, tests every cow sold and previously had demanded the United States do the same. U.S. producers, however, said such steps were not necessary or economical."

    Japan should ban the beef until this decision is overturned. Japan has every right to protect its population from BSE. If this is the requirements that Japan want, then so be it. usa should comply.
     
  14. 748s macrumors 6502a

    748s

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    #14
    the japanese don't need the beef.
    the nisshin maru is currently having an excellent harvest of whales in the southern ocean.
     
  15. rockandrule macrumors 6502

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  16. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    Well, the US could test every piece.

    Then again, the price would skyrocket.

    For example, consider what a nice T-Bone would cost you in the US. Now imagine paying 3-4 times as much for the same cut. That is what is costs in Japan.
     
  17. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    #17
    hmm i don't remember any skyrocketing over here.. but perhaps i simply missed it
    those fast tests aren't that expensive that they triple the prices... after all people from switzerland are still driving across the border to buy meat in austria because it's only 1/2 to 1/3 the price...
     
  18. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #18
    There just might, in fact, be other and numerous reasons for price differences in the US and Japan.
     
  19. ziwi macrumors 65816

    ziwi

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    #19

    I agree - you can find it and it may cost more- but it also tastes better - I usually deal with a friend whos parents run a dairy farm...see only the females give milk ;) and all cows are raised organic as it is organic dairy.
     
  20. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    Well yeah!

    My point is, is that you pay for what you get.

    If you want to have inspections of all meet like in Japan, then meet is going to cost more because there are costs associated with inspections.
     
  21. 2jaded2care thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #21
    Testing beef for BSE would apparently cost an outrageous 5 additional cents per pound of beef. Who could possibly afford that?

    I also find numerous articles that the USDA doesn't allow companies to do their own testing and advertise the meat as having been tested. (Apparently it would make the other meat look bad.)

    How's that for free-market capitalism, and looking out for the consumer?
     
  22. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #22

    Yep, there's no reason not to support BSE testing of meat. It would provide a high degree of food security not only for the US but for the rest of the world. The customer should be able to request information about their food. When the government steps in and denies that ability... Where does that get anyone? Unfortunately, we've seen the current administration take this position too many times, proving once again that capitalism as practiced in this country is for the benefit of corporations as opposed the individual.
     
  23. MUCKYFINGERS macrumors 6502a

    MUCKYFINGERS

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    #23
    too bad what you said wasn't funny.
     
  24. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    I thought he was serious.

    Whale is good.
     
  25. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #25
    I think testing for BSE is good. Nothing wrong with that.

    However, it will come at a price.

    How much is anybody's guess. Government has a tendacy to bloat itself very quickly with programs such as this. Without specific facts and figures on how many inspectors and administrative staff it would take to conduct inspection and tracking of each piece of beef, one would not know the real impact of the price on a piece of meet.

    Obviously they would need a system to check all parts of the meet creation process (Ranchers, Feed lots & Packaging plants). Maybe even distribution. All 50 states would need to be included. A buracracy would need to be set up in Washington DC to monitor and administer the program. Probably Federal state offices -- at least for the big beef producing states. A complete staff and certification process for the inspectors would be needed.

    I can see this adding up to a significant cost to the consumer.

    I know from other industries such as aviation, simple parts like nuts and bolts cost much more if they are aviation certified.

    So while I think BSE testing is good it will come at a price.

    In Japan, there are many reasons why meat is so expensive. But in a country where it is possible to eat raw meat let alone fish, there have to be standards in place to ensure safety. In many isakaya and yakitori type establishments you can eat raw liver, heart, and meat from cattle. And of course you can eat raw horse meat.

    On the cooked side of things, having perfectly marbled meat is an art form. And the Japanese are very good at it. Of course the cost of such meat is very expensive compared to a lean cut.

    When the US goes to BSE testing, it will be interesting to see the rise in beef prices.
     

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