Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Flesh Eating Bacteria? Get it straight, it's FEB

According to this article South Korea is going to suspend U.S. beef imports again after one bone fragment was found in one shipment from the United Staes. American beef has been banned from South Korea for 3 years after a mad cow scare. The thing about bone fragments is this: the Korean government says its zero tolerance rule about bones is to protect Korean people from mad cow, but I postulate the true reason is that a vast majority of the meat consumed in Korea is on the bone. Ribs are huge in Korean cooking, and I think by restricting meat with bones, they considerably narrow the market for American beef somewhat unfairly. To boot, they used to insist that meat on the bone be considered offal for import purposes, even though it clearly isn't consumed as offal in expensive restaurants nationwide.
And the really galling thing is that at the same time as all of this is happening Korea is in the nascent stages of an avian influenza outbreak that they are ridiculously underplaying. And they've even changed the name of the disease, from joryu dokgam (literally "avian influenza") to "AI". By the way, the Korean word for influenza, dokgam, breaks down to dok (poisonous or very strong) and gam (cold). AI translates to "No sweat, keep eating domestic chicken!" In 2003 during the last outbreak, many chicken farmers went bankrupt. This time the media are doing everything in their power to make sure that doesn't happen, from changing the name of the disease to constantly stressing that the virus is destroyed at 70 degrees celsius (thus even chickens with the disease are safe to eat), while the agent of mad cow disease cannot be destroyed. They've even all gone so far as to print and reprint this picture and many like it of officials in the neighborhood of the two confirmed outbreaks eating samgyetang (chicken soup with ginseng). Eat up, stupids!

No comments: