Missile threats are easy, food safety is tough
February 22, 2008
Fast on the heels of the largest recall of beef in U.S. history, Cuban president Fidel Castro announced his intention to step down as president. Citing the risk of bad meat from the U.S. and the need for aggressive import inspections, he declared that the job was too tough and that he was handing over responsibility to his brother Raul. Debate over U.S. food safety and Cuban trade continues.
“To our knowledge no one has been harmed by any of the 143 million pounds of beef that we recalled, and Castro’s got nothing to fear anyway because the beef was shipped to U.S. schools and not Cuba,” said a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) meat inspector, hiding his name tag and claiming to be Marilyn Monroe. “American beef is the safest in the world; except for maybe a few million pounds of it. Hey look at this New York Magazine, see these nude photos, that’s me! Want an autograph?”
Despite the distractions of USDA inspectors and government officials, some people are becoming concerned about the increasing number of U.S. food recalls and the growing impact on third world dictators. “It’s bad enough that we’ve been poisoning our kids with E.coli in spinach and peanut butter, and now mad cow disease in beef,” said Alki Patchwork, a consumer activist who likes quilting and drunken orgies. “But when Latin American dictators quit fearing the CIA and panic because of the USDA, we know that we’re in a lot of trouble.”
The ailing 81-year-old Fidel Castro resigned as Cuba’s president this week after foiling attempts to topple him for nearly half a century, leaving on his own terms by clearing the way for his brother Raul to take power. Castro remains a member of parliament and is likely to be elected to the 31-member Council of State on Sunday, though he will no longer be its president. Castro also retains his powerful post as first secretary of Cuba’s Communist Party.
The USDA ordered the biggest recall of beef ever in the U.S. this week, 143 million pounds of frozen beef from the Westland/Hallmark Meat Co., based in Chino, California. Apparently Westland employees shoved crippled and sick animals with forklifts, kicked them, and shocked them. Some of the beef — recalled back to Feb. 1, 2006 — has been going to school programs; much of it is believed to have already been consumed. To date no illnesses have been linked to the meat, beyond the nausea that may be experienced by those reading about its recall. Communists and meat eaters have mixed feelings about Castro and the recalled meat.
“I used to be a big beef eater and Castro sympathizer until I heard about the recall and the resignation,” said Lindsay Lohan, a nude 21 year old who occasionally channels Marilyn Monroe when she’s not drunk out of her mind. “Now I only eat pork and imported Chinese lead, asbestos and toothpaste containing diethylene glycol. I love products produced by Chinese communists like all Americans do, but I won’t take a chance on U.S. inspected beef after learning that Castro is afraid he can’t protect himself from it. I’m not sure I can trust the USDA, but I trust the Chinese. I order Chinese take-out all the time.”
In related news, the United States Meat Export Federation is monitoring the potential impact of the massive beef recall on U.S. meat trade. According to officials, fear of mad cow from the U.S. has been dying down and they hope that the current proof that the U.S. doesn’t even inspect its own food let alone exports, won’t hurt sales. The U.S. continues to inspect only 1% of all imports and most U.S. food companies say that’s all the USDA should inspect of food the U.S. produces. No word on whether Raul Castro will go along with it.
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