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Fit for Human Consumption?


Before putting that morsel of meat in your mouth have you ever wondered how it was chosen to be fit for human consumption? Food Inspection Canada`s website gives the gory details

Before putting that morsel of meat in your mouth have you ever wondered how it was chosen to be fit for human consumption? Food Inspection Canada's website gives the gory details.

Every animal is inspected before slaughter. No animal is taken into the killing room unless the inspector has given his approval. If an animal appears to be diseased or injured it's segregated from all of the healthy animals.

Every animal is examined by the inspector with the assistance of a plant employee. The animal is slaughtered in the livestock area and disposed of in the inedible products area of the plant if the vet:

  • Decides that animal is near death;
  • Decides or suspects that animal is infected with disease of the central nervous system;
  • Decides or suspects that the animal is infected with a disease or affected by a condition that might render the carcass of the animal or meat from the animal unfit for processing.

If there is evidence of localized disease or an abnormal condition that might render the animal unfit for processing as meat product, the localized part is removed from the carcass and disposed of. The rest of the carcass may be identified as edible by the operator. For example if sores or abscesses are found on the tongue of the animal, that part is trimmed and the rest saved for the butchers.

Meat that is unfit or unsuitable for human consumption is sold to the pet food industry or processed and fed back to the pet food industry, or to farm animals. Currently in Canada as much as 20 percent of cattle feed is made up of what is termed "mammalian protein additives" and other animal waste products.

Many countries are curtailing this practice in light of the rise of mad cow disease (BSE). In the United Kingdom, the feeding of infected sheep to cattle has caused several cases of a deadly human dementia among beef consumers. There is no need to feed these animals the remains of animal carcasses that are found in factory feed materials.

Thanks to government subsidization, the cost of meat products are artificially low, effectively tricking customers into buying them. For example:

  • Canned Ham The amount of subsidizing in Canada has changed from time to time, disappearing in 1984 and soaring to record levels in 1992. Now 10 percent of the average selling price of canned ham and 13 percent of the average selling price of luncheon meat is subsidized.


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Raise a glass and say cheers to not-so-hard drinks

Matthew Kadey, MSc, RDMatthew Kadey, MSc, RD