Health E Guide Nutrition, Cambridge Ontario

Ruth Thompson, Registered Nutritionist: RHN, RNCP, ROHP, MSW

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Beef and E. Coli

 Posted by: Ruth Thompson RHN, RNCP, ROHP, MSW at 15:31, December 19 2012

With yet another report of E.coli contamination in beef this week, I immediately knew what my blog would be about.  The news reports you have heard are not talking about the underlying reason for such contamination, and that it seems to come up more often than it should.  This is all about the diet of beef cattle in Canada.  Corn is the mainstay feed for cattle. It fattens them up quickly and it is a readily available crop here.  The problem is that corn is not naturally part of the cattle’s diet.  They are herbivores that thrive on eating grass.  In his book “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” Michael Pollan warns that E. coli is produced in the intestinal tract of corn fed cattle at a much higher rate than grass fed animals.  All of the beef sold in the grocery stores will be corn fed and raised in huge feedlots.  If you want an illuminating look at this issue, I highly recommend the movie “Food Inc.”


The answer to all of this is simple: Eat grass fed, organic beef. Even grass fed beef will be preferable if organic is not affordable. You can find this kind of beef at local farms and in health stores.   If you're like me this does make beef an expensive meal. However, eating less beef has many benefits at both the personal and societal levels.  Beef can be difficult to digest for many people.  For society, eating less beef frees up valuable land currently used to grow corn and grain.  These crops could then be used to directly feed humans in other parts of the world where starvation is a daily threat.    




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