Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Science in the Service of Mammon

Growing-finishing trials with feedlot cattle have not revealed
consistent differences between tallow, yellow grease, blended
animal-vegetable soapstock, cottonseed soap stock or soybean soap
stock (Lofgreen, 1965; Brandt, 1988; Zinn, 1989a, Tables 1 to 18).
There is nothing like reading an out of context quote to perk up the senses. I pulled this one out of a animal science paper while researching the relationship between fats in the diet of cattle and the quality of fat produced in the cattle body.

The references cited here are dated so it's not clear if the assertion all of these fats produce more or less the same results (rates of growth, marbling, flavor etc.) in feedlot cattle. But it does give one the heebie jeebies to recognize that the feeding of things such as tallow (rendered beef fat) and yellow grease (used frying oil) to cows has been the object of serious scientific scrutiny.

Click the title of this post or HERE to read the paper from which the excerpt was excerpted.

6 comments:

jon w said...

no kidding. I read one that discussed feeding them chopped up chewing gum and candy bars (presumably old or expired). the study determined that leaving the wrappers in the mix had no negative effect on weight gain.

Jessika said...

guess nothing has been learnt in the aftermath of mad cow disease. Cannibalism in humans as part of a burial ceremony for ex., is known to have caused a particular prion disease (kuru). prion diseases as a group also involves mad cow disease and bse in humans. I certainly do not want to eat foods where animals have been fed foods that are nowhere near their natural range of eating.

Brian Hayes said...

Gary Jones at Muck and Mystery raises beef in the UK. He cuts into this report, noting how it compares apples to asteroids.

Bob del Grosso said...

Brian
Not sure what you are referring to. I read your friend's critique, found nothing to disagree with but also nothing that addresses the contents of my post. I'm missing something, were you referring to another reader's comment?

Tags said...

This is a little more straightforward since the agribehemoth force field holds little sway over wikipedia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mad_cow_disease

Regulations aren't written so much to protect the consumer as they are written to CYA the clients of influential lobbyists.

Jessika said...

I agree with that, Tags.

I should have added in my commentary that kuru came to be recognised as an illness of BSE or what, more correctly, now would be vCJD, that it was the (cannibalistic) eating of brain and spinal cord tissue that in part gave rise to the illness. It is not a practise of actual eating but a ritualistic burial practise of conserving the spirit of the dead. Then, well, kuru it was and the lesson that there are things you don't eat.

I live in Europe but at the time of the biggest outbreak of BSE (1995-1996) I was, fortunately, living and working in Japan. I don't think that there's any lack of research between the interplan between feeding of animal protein to cattle and the rise of prion disease like BSE. Of course the industry will point to the insecurities of what research doesn't know, like that the EXACT cause of BSE is now known. And since there is an incubation time of 4 - 5 years in young cattle the industry claims that scientists has failed to establish a causal relationship.
In anyones right mind it would seem outrageous to just think the thought that hey we'll feed a grazing non carniverous animal, bone meal. Had this practise been known sooner I am sure there would have been a consumer uprise. I was told that people avoided meat at the height of the BSE-scandal. Since, meat has become very expensive. I avoid what is laughably cheap and meat from countries where food safety controls are, allegedly, less rigorous.