Listeria hysteria, and once again Alexandra Morton doesn’t know what she is talking about
Her friend and fellow anti-salmon farming protester Don Staniford, who ”will twist facts to conform to his own personal view,” suffers from “closed-mindedness and deep prejudices” making him ”an unreliable reporter of facts,” according to a BC Supreme Court judge, posted this. Morton responded.
See, the thing is, listeria is one of the most common bacteria on the planet. It’s in everything. Dirt. Water. Fruit. Vegetables. Meat. On your hands right now, probably.
It’s usually harmless.
But under the right conditions, it can grow and reproduce at levels that can cause harm to human beings.
Hypocritically, Staniford and Morton love to focus on reports of listeria in farmed salmon products, while ignoring the fact that many other kinds of food products have had to be recalled because of listeria outbreaks.
The worst foodborne illness outbreak in the USA was because of listeria. Sadly, 30 people died and made 146 people very sick.
And it was because of cantaloupes.The FDA investigation found that the bacteria could have come from a dump truck used to take culled melons to a cattle farm, and that it may have grown because the cantaloupes were not precooled to remove field heat before being put into cold storage.
Listeria is everywhere, but it only becomes a problem in our modern food supply system because of human error or oversight. It does not, as Morton claims, fester in farmed salmon throughout their lives to be passed on to the public. This is nonsense with no basis in fact.
To prevent the growth of listeria and other bacteria, as soon as farmed salmon is harvested it is put on ice in a boat hold. This temperature is maintained all the way to the processing plant, where it taken out of the boat, again kept on ice, and taken into the plant which is kept at a constant cold temperature. The processed fish are packed in ice, and taken to market in refrigerator trucks. The temperature is kept consistently cold enough to prevent any bacteria growth from the time the fish are caught to the time they are delivered to customers.
And customers who take that salmon to make products such as smoked salmon or gravlax or other ready-to-eat products must follow strict guidelines to test for listeria and ensure levels are low and safe.
Anytime there’s news of a recall it’s because there was a breakdown in the system somewhere. Not, because as Ms. Morton suggests, because “the little guys get in and go wild” and “there are no natural methods for removing the sick and contagious out of the population.”
Just in case her argument actually makes sense to anybody, consider this.
Were cavemen healthier than people today? Back in the day when they were “wild” and roaming free and there were “natural methods for removing the sick and contagious out of the population?” Were they healthier then compared to today, where people are “domesticated” and living in cities?
Back then, humans were lucky to make it to 30 years old. Then we got smart and developed agriculture. Then we got smarter and started figuring out what all the diseases were that were killing us, and fought back with medicine. Today, thanks to a consistent, nutritious food supply, and modern medicine, the average lifespan in Canada is 77 for men and 83 for women.
We apply those same smarts to farming animals. No farmer wants his animals to get sick and die. It’s in the farmer’s best interests to keep his animals healthy, happy and alive.
Morton does not seem to understand this, just like she does not seem to understand listeria, either.
Posted on 2013/01/10, in Cranks and tagged activism, activists, agriculture, aquaculture, badscience, cranks, disease, fishfarm, food supply system, foodborne illness outbreak, foodsecurity, listeria, prehistoric, rational, reason, salmon, salmon farming, salmonfarm, salmonfarming, science, wild. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.