USDA Puts “Spent Hens” In School Lunches

December 10, 2009 at 1:47 am

Just how bad does a product have to be if McDonald’s, KFC and other fast food chains refuse to use it?  Pretty bad.  Afterall they have no reservations about using high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, carcinogenic binders and a ton of genetically modified corn (the Chicken McNugget is more GM corn than chicken).  But even the Colonel and the Clown draw the line at using “spent hens.”

The USDA, however, claims that spent hens are safe enough to feed to your children.  To prove it they have spent 145 million of your tax dollars so they could put 77 million pounds of spent hens into your child’s school lunch.  That’s right the USDA, whose Strategic Plan Framework states their goal of  “enhancing food safety by taking steps to reduce the prevalence of foodborne hazards from farm to table,”  is feeding your kids food that even McDonald’s will not.

So what are spent hens?  Good question.  Spent hens are laying hens that no longer produce eggs.  Once they stop producing they are of no use to the producer; they are simply a living, breathing financial liability.  Commercial laying hens spend their lives crammed into tiny battery cages unable to walk freely.  As a result they suffer from osteoporosis.  These brittle bones prevent them from retiring to a farm in the country.  They simply would not survive.

Consequently it is these same conditions that make them hazardous for human consumption.  Their fragile bones splinter quite easily while being processed often making them a choking hazard even in a “boneless” form like a patty or nugget.  Also, one study shows spent hens are four times as likely to be contaminated with salmonella.  Children are very susceptible to salmonella poisoning.

So why does the USDA take such reckless chances with your child’s health?  Could it be because of this government organization’s unholy union with biotech and agribusiness giants like Monsanto and the Biotechnology Industry Organization?  Perhaps their indifference to human life has rubbed off on the USDA?  It would be hard not to conform, afterall much of the department’s leadership is made up of agribusiness moles.

Take Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, a strong proponent for genetically modified corn (which has been proven to be the root cause of every e coli outbreak on record).  In 2001 he was awarded the title Governor of the Year by the aforementioned Biotechnology Industry Organization.  On January 21, 2009, Vilsack was appointed by President Barack Obama as the 30th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).  The fox guarding the proverbial hen-house.

For more on the issue I suggest reading the article by Blake Morrison, Peter Eisler and Anthony DeBarros for USA Today.

For more about the dangers of GM foods take a few hours to watch the movies The Future of Food and Food Inc.

Photo courtesy of Farm Sanctuary.

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Stuart Reb Donald

Stuart is a celebrity chef and award winning food writer. Donald performs live cooking demonstrations and penned the cookbook Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor."

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