What Happened To Reason?
What happened to the term, “within reason?”
Just as a fracture begins to heal the instant it occurs, so too, does decomposition begin at the instant of death. So why should we be shocked with studies showing retail cuts of meat are contaminated with pathogens?
A recent paper looked at contamination of retail meat by drug resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus. It reported that in some samples, more than half tested positive for the pathogen. As a headline, the paper became an alarmist story and has echoed around the world in traditional as well as social media. Some anti-meat activists are of course making hay with it, too. My experience is that when legitimate research is so publicized, the scientists feel rotten because it is never portrayed in its exact context and likely never will be.
Dead human and animal tissues, as all who ever took a college biology class know, will support the growth of human and animal pathogens. That’s not new. Drug resistant strains of microorganisms are not new either. The development of drug resistance is in part a function of the natural evolution of microorganisms in order to survive and thrive. Anyone who consumes animal tissues—or puts anything in their mouths for that matter— must understand there is a risk to human health from doing so.
A good physician or veterinarian understands that when seeking informed consent for a procedure that it must be stated that the patient could die from various things because of the intervention. Professionally, all medical care providers do what they can, “within reason,” to reduce the risk of death but they can’t eliminate it. Somehow, in some way, the general public has developed a mindset based upon four things:
1. I am entitled to a risk-free life with no effort on my part.
2. It is completely unacceptable for anything negative to happen to me.
3. If something negative does happen to me; it is always someone else’s fault.
4. I am entitled to substantial legal recourse, either criminal, civil, or both, if anything negative does happen to me.
Simply raising this question does not mean I do not care about food safety or corporate responsibility and that it is all on the consumer. I am questioning why the consumer of a given product is not held to some standard of responsibility “within reason” as though. And who or what decides what is “within reason” other than a victim or an apparently unknowing civil court? Will this pendulum ever swing back “within reason” or are we likely to stay to the extreme?