Sunday, February 26, 2006

Next on Masterpiece Theatre: What a Carve Up! 

Based on the works of Upton Sinclair and Robt. Louis Stevenson:

1.) Say, bud, that meat ain't as fresh as it looks:
If some of the meat in supermarkets is looking rosier than it used to, the reason is that a growing number of markets are selling it in airtight packages treated with a touch of carbon monoxide to help the product stay red for weeks.

This form of "modified atmosphere packaging," a technique in which other gases replace oxygen, has become more widely used as supermarkets eliminate their butchers and buy precut, "case-ready" meat from processing plants . . . .

[O]pponents say that the process, which is also used to keep tuna rosy, allows stores to sell meat that is no longer fresh, and that consumers would not know until they opened the package at home and smelled it. Labels do not note whether meat has been laced with carbon monoxide . . . .

Supermarket chains including A&P and Pathmark do not carry the treated meat, but it is showing up with increasing frequency elsewhere. SuperTarget stores sell it, and Wal-Mart reports carrying it in 150 stores.

A spokeswoman for Safeway did not respond to phone calls and e-mail messages about sale of the treated meat there, but it was available at a Safeway market in Bethesda, Md., earlier this month.

Randy Huffman of the American Meat Institute Foundation, an industry group, said, "The primary benefit in providing this product to consumers is the red color they have grown to expect."

Some food scientists who approve of other forms of modified atmosphere packaging as a way of extending a product's life say this form of it can be unsafe. Michael Doyle, director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia, says one study found that when meat in modified packages that included carbon monoxide was stored at 10 degrees above the proper temperature, salmonella grew more easily.
2.) Say, bud, that meat ain't as fresh as it looks:
The owner of a biomedical supply house was charged along with three other men Thursday with secretly carving up corpses and selling the parts for use in transplants across the country.

The case was "like something out of a cheap horror movie," Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said.

In some cases, Hynes said, bones were removed from corpses and replaced with plastic plumbing pipe to conceal the thefts.

Prosecutors said the defendants obtained the bodies from funeral parlors in three states and forged death certificates and organ donor consent forms to make it look as if the bones, skin, tendons, heart valves and other tissue were legally removed. The defendants made millions of dollars from the scheme, prosecutors said.

The indictment was the first set of charges to come out of a widening scandal involving scores of funeral homes and hundreds of bodies, including that of "Masterpiece Theatre" host Alistair Cooke, who died in 2004. The investigation has raised fears that some of the body parts could spread disease to transplant recipients.

Prosecutors said the defendants took organs from people who had not given consent or were too old or too sick to donate. The defendants forged consent forms and altered the death certificates to indicate the victims had been younger and healthier, authorities said.
We wondered why we'd been humming Jean-Joseph Mouret ever since we had that minor reconstructive surgery on our left knee. Mystery solved!

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