Biggest Beef Recall in Canadian History

by: Sara on 10/12/2012
Posted in: Food

“If you want safe meat you need to be willing to eat less and pay more for it.” So states Eleanor Boyle, author of the new book High Steaks: Why and How to Eat Less Meat.

Her comments come hard on the heels of news that multinational agribusiness XL Foods is in the midst of the biggest beef recall in Canadian history. The recall also affects at least 40 US states. The U.S. Food Safety Inspection Service has almost tripled its estimate of the amount of recalled beef that was imported from the XL Foods Inc. plant in Brooks, Alberta. Officials now believe that more than 2 million lbs of beef could potentially be contaminated with E. coli.

 According to Boyle, “We are going to continue to have meat recalls due to contamination as long as we continue to have unrealistic expectations about how much meat we can eat on a daily or weekly basis and that it should be cheap”.

 High Steaks documents the disastrous consequences of modern large-scale industrial meat production and excessive consumption including:

  • The loss of  vast tracts of arable land and fresh water to intensive livestock production
  • Increased pollution, loss of biodiversity, deforestation and accelerating climate change
  • The environmental and health impacts of too much animal fat and of fertilizers, antibiotics and other chemicals in our food.

 Timely and compelling, this powerful book offers a modest, commonsense approach to a serious problem, suggesting strategies for all of us to cut back on our consumption of animal products and ensure that the meat we do consume is produced in a sustainable, ecologically responsible manner.  At the same time, High Steaks describes progressive food policy shifts that will discourage factory farming and encourage people to eat in ways that support ecosystems and personal health.

 Eleanor Boyle has been teaching and writing for 25 years, with a focus on food systems and their social, environmental, and health consequences. As well as working with organizations aiming for better food policy, she holds an MSc in Food Policy and is an instructor at the Centre for Sustainability at the University of British Columbia.


Praise for High Steaks


Although all life is exquisitely interconnected by air, water and soil, we have shattered that world through the way we perceive it in bits and pieces, so we fail to recognize that our lifestyle has repercussions that reverberate through the biosphere. Industrial agriculture creates food by converting the energy in oil rather than directly from sunlight into plants.  Eleanor Boyle’s timely book, High Steaks, reconnects our fragmented view to reveal the ecological, social, health and economic costs of a diet rich in meat. This is a vital book for all concerned about the perilous state of our planet and anxious for ways to live that are healthy for ourselves and the biosphere.

---David Suzuki

 This is a very important book--it addresses a key component of our climate troubles, and it does it by addressing people where they actually are, and offering some realistic, attractive, and compelling options for changing deep-rooted habits.

---Bill McKibben, author Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet 

The list of mainstream meat production’s negative impacts is long: health, climate change, land use, feedstock, water, pharmaceutical misuse, biodiversity. A better course can and is being charted. This must engage all of us.

---Tim Lang, Professor of Food Policy, City University London

 In some future century, humanity will either become comfortable with eating meat or will quit eating meat. For now, as Eleanor Boyle explains in her well-researched and well-written book, our individual health and the sustainability of our society depend on rejecting industrial agriculture, which includes eating less meat. Boyle gives us dozens of good reasons to eat more responsibly and sustainably.

--- John Ikerd, Author, Speaker, and Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Economics, University of Missouri, Columbia.

 For years we have been encouraged to eat more meat than what is good for us and the planet. Eleanor Boyle presents reasonable and compelling arguments for moving meat from the centre of our plates to the side. Whether you care about your family's health, our environment, how farm animals are treated or all of the above, this book is an essential read. This isn't another doom and gloom book. Instead it shows how we can all be part of the solution and achieve a more humane and sustainable food system. After reading Eleanor Boyle's book, it is hard to imagine who wouldn't support a food system that is healthier for society, gentler on the planet and kinder to animals. She presents reasonable and compelling evidence to demonstrate that our current meat consumption levels are not sustainable as well as recipes for change. By changing our food policies and a few meals a week, we can all be part of the solution and improve our health, the environment and animal welfare.

---Melissa Matlow, Campaigns Manager, Humane and Sustainable Agriculture
 A thorough, encompassing, and refreshingly balanced analysis of what it means to eat meat.  The author provides compelling evidence that meat, and specifically that which evolves from high density confinement feeding systems, affects the health and welfare of people, communities, livestock and the broader environment.   Rigorous citation of recent refereed literature makes this a must-read text for those seeking the latest, scientific understanding of many contentious issues.   Articulate, comfortable, and readable prose ensures that the critical content of this book is accessible to a wide range of readers.

---E. Ann Clark , Associate Professor (retired) Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph



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