Essay Jim Hightower

Trump’s USDA Is Serving Up Cancerous Chicken

Federal regulators recently okayed selling chickens suffering from Avian Leukosis, which produces cancerous tumors.
[wolfgangfoto / CC BY-ND 2.0]

By Jim Hightower / OtherWords

Top regulatory officials in Trump’s government keep chanting the same one-word mantra: “Deregulate. Deregulate. Deregulate.”

Day after day, these agency bosses have been “liberating” greedy business interests to do their damnedest to consumers, workers, the environment — and even our chicken dinner.

Yes, chicken. Instead of Kentucky-fried or tacos con pollo, they’re serving up “Chicken á la Avian Leukosis.” That’s chicken infected with a virus that produces cancerous tumors and lesions on the poor birds.

In July, the U.S. Agriculture Department’s Food Safety and Inspection Service rubber stamped a demand by Tyson Foods and other multibillion-dollar meat conglomerates to deregulate chicken processing rules so they can sell chickens diseased with Avian Leukosis for human consumption.

The huge brand-name marketers would not even have to put a label on the package so consumers could know what we’re buying.

As always, the industry line is: “It’s perfectly safe… trust us!” They claim that slaughterhouse line workers can simply cut out any tumors they see, then process the rest of the animal.

There are two problems with this claim: First, Avian Leukosis can be a systemic disease passing through the blood, so slicing tumors doesn’t necessarily eliminate the virus.

Second, line workers don’t have time to see tumors, much less remove them, since Trump’s corporate-hugging regulators have also allowed poultry factories to speed up their processing lines to 175 birds per minute. This means each worker handles up to three chickens a second!

Trump & Co. assert that their policy of relentless deregulation is necessary to make the system fair for corporations. However, as Lyndon Johnson used to say about such political hokum, “They can’t make chicken salad out of chicken s—.”

To learn more, go to FoodAndWaterWatch.org.

Jim Hightower
Jim Hightower

OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker.

9 comments

    1. True Rob. Not to be argumentative but our entire food system is sick. Livestock is either pumped full of hormones or loaded with tumors, as Hightower states with chicken. And eating a plant-based diet isn’t a solution either since our crops are loaded with pesticides, GMOs, and so forth. And we haven’t even gotten to how bad water quality is across the country. Even ‘organics’, which are overpriced and therefore out of reach for most people, is a bullshit label nowadays. There’s no escape from eating the products of a corrupt and warped food system.

      When the America government or one of its official institutions declares this or that food safe and healthy, watch out.

  1. amerikan livestock tasteless—poisoned by hormones, steroids, antibiotics—organic is fake
    tasteless vegetables/ fruits so modified so that they have shelf lives longer than canned shoelaces, they taste like cardboard…everything GMO, pesticides, herbicides, etc
    less true in Europe, S. Amerika. GMO illegal in Russia, yet Russia exports more wheat than all nations

    1. Can’t agree more. Our food system is abysmal.

      I’ve recently been watching Rotten on Netflix, and just the level of corruption is astounding. The most recent one is on avocados, where in Michoacán it’s basically run by the Mexican cartels while in Chile the elites have completely privatized the water supply and thus rendered the masses into a state of starvation and thirst because they’ve hoarded all the water for avocado production, mostly for American consumption thanks largely to NAFTA. The doc said it takes 18 gallons of water to produce one avocado, and because they’re in such high global demand, including China, that soaks up a lake’s worth of water for the use of one particular crop. The episode on honey is incredibly eye-opening.

      Re wheat, I thought at least at one point the US had blanketed the world with its low-grade fare? I know the US’ extreme unloading of cheap corn into Mexico helped destroy the country’s economy, and thanks to Bill Clinton the US did the same to Haiti but with rice.

      1. Chile–one of the few nations w greater income/wealth disparities than USA; they export fruit to USA…if you purchase fruit in Chile the flavor is spectacular…the beef, chicken, lamb in Argentina, Uruguay is extraordinary—the sushi in Peru, Russia, far superior to USA…I believe China imports US soy, pork, also from Brazil….Mexico cannot produce enough corn or wheat;; they must import…some nations are limited by climate, infrastructure….bolivia, Peru are largely self sufficient…when I was in Chile for 3 months I observed no homelessness, malnutrition, same in Bolivia where I lived 6 months—-the water is nationalized in the north, middle,—in Sta Cruz it is operated by a private coop: well managed, good quality, inexpensive

  2. amerikan livestock tasteless—poisoned by hormones, steroids, antibiotics—organic is fake
    tasteless vegetables/ fruits so modified so that they have shelf lives longer than canned shoelaces, they taste like cardboard…everything GMO, pesticides, herbicides, etc
    less true in Europe, S. Amerika. GMO illegal in Russia, yet Russia exports more wheat than all nations…this is not due to trump but Obama—who exempted Monsanto from litigation

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