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Food Poisoning Vegan Views 68 (Spring 1995)

V.V. Reader Mr. D. Meyer has brought to our attention an article on Food Poisoning in The New Scientist magazine telling that food poisoning from bacteria, viruses and parasites is escalating in almost every country that gathers statistics, which also means an increase in costs of lost working days and medical treatment.

The following paragraph is most interesting:
"In the West, experts blame a wide range of causes for the increased incidence of food poisoning. But the roots go back to the post-war years, when demand for meat, a favourite abode for many pathogens, began to increase sharply. So too did demand for cheap animal feed from tropical countries, where animal infection is widespread. That conduit for imported infection has now been closed by national legislation and international codes. But the damage lingers. As a WHO panel on food and agriculture noted in 1992: "Enormous quantities of animal feed had to be imported [into the West] ...animals given these (contaminated] feeds have in turn contaminated the environment... [where] the micro-organisms have established themselves widely ... Millions of carrier animals all over the world have contributed to this contamination of the environment and to [the creation of] infection cycles, which at present play an important role in the epidemiology of food-borne diseases." Data reported in 1990 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), from surveys conducted between 1974 and 1984, showed that 45% of the world's rivers were contaminated with dangerous concentrations of faecal bacteria, like Escherichia coli, which farm animals may drink."

Into this environmental powder keg other factors are bringing dangerous sparks. One is the spread of centralised food processing plants, where a single infected animal can spread pathogens to a whole city's meat supply. Another is the demise of home cooking and the corresponding growth of mass catering through restaurants, fast-food bars and pre-processed meals."

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Cross-reference: Nutrition and Health