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Fast Food Nation: What’s in the Meat?. By: Allyson Bowlds. July 11 th , 1997. Lee Harding ordered soft chicken tacos at a Mexican Restaurant. Immediately after being served, Harding noticed something unappetizing about his food.

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july 11 th 1997
July 11th, 1997

Lee Harding ordered soft chicken tacos at a Mexican Restaurant. Immediately after being served, Harding noticed something unappetizing about his food.


After swallowing the slimy and gross chicken, Harding and his wife left the restaurant. Unfortunately, he would regret his decision to chow down on the wretched tacos. Though Harding was a healthy, six-foot one tall man, later that night he had severe stomach cramps and violent diarrhea. He actually had thoughts that his death may be near!

behold e coli
Behold, E-Coli!

Harding was informed that the cause of his long weekend of pain, cramps and diarrhea was the result of E-coli bacteria consumption.


It was those dreadful chicken tacos, right? WRONG.

The Pueblo Health Department nurse, Sandra Gallagos, had discovered that the frozen hamburgers Harding and his family had eaten a few days before were the source of his E-Coli contamination!

The contaminated ground beef was then recalled after this discovery. Approximately 35 million pounds of ground beef was recalled. Unfortunately 25 million pounds had already been consumed.

food b orne i llness statistics
Food Borne Illness Statistics

*Every day in the U.S., roughly 200,000 people are sickened by, 900 hospitalized and 14 deaths due to food borne illness

*More than a quarter of the American population suffers a spell of food poisoning each year

*Recent studies show that these pathogens can precipitate long-term ailments.

  • Heart disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Neurological problems
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Kidney damage
so how is it spread
So how is it spread?

Thirteen large packinghouses slaughter the majority of America’s need for beef. The mass meat packing industry thrives on fast food demands. The industry molded to provide mass amounts of uniform ground beef to supply to restaurants such as McDonald’s. This is the perfect recipe for disease spread!

Something to think about – Of all of the studies of the bacterium that could make you sick, 78.6% of the ground beef contained microbes such as coliformlevels, aerobic plate counts, sorbitol… Also known as fecal material.

oh the irony
Oh the Irony!

Isn’t it funny how our government can recall softball bats, sneakers, stuffed animals, and toys faster than it can recall potentially harmful meat?

Today, the unusual power of the large meatpacking corporations has been sustained due to their close relations and sizeable donations to Republican members of Congress.

Another thought – There is a lack of awareness about Americans suffering from food poisoning every year and how these illnesses actually spread.


In January of 1993, medical staff in Seattle Washington started noticing an inclination of children with severe bloody diarrhea. Some suffered from hemolytic uremic syndrome. (which was commonly recognized as a rare disorder before) The health officials soon tracked down the culprit – Jack in the Box hamburgers.


The hamburger patties were recalled. Unfortunately, they did not discover this source soon enough. Lauren Beth Rudolph ate a hamburger at a San Diego Jack in the Box before Christmas. She was in the hospital on Christmas Eve; she suffered terrible pain, three heart attacks and died in her mother’s arms on December 28th, 1992. She was only six years old.


Tragedy strikes again in July of 1993. The son of the founder of Safe Tables Our Priority (STOP), Nancy Donley, was also infected with this monster. He too had the same symptoms as Lauren Rudolph. However, doctors frantically drilled holes in his skull to relieve pressure, inserted tubes in his chest to help breathing but to no avail. Alex ate the Jack in the Box burger on a Tuesday before his mother’s birthday and was dead by that Sunday.

Alex Donley 1987-1993

(6 years old)


Did you know?

E-Coli is actually a natural bacteria present in the human digestive system. But the mutated version of E Coli O157:H7 can release a powerful toxin that attacks the lining of the intestine.


What Kids Eat

The questionable “mystery meat” was distributed to schools around the country. Around 1980 and 1990, the schools chose their meat based on the lowest price and not by quality. The cheapest ground beef contained the highest number of pathogens and pieces of spinal cord, bone, gristle and remnants of the last shreds of cattle carcass. (that are squeezed by a machine)


Bringing any raw ground beef or meat into your kitchen is a potential biohazard. Think about how many microscopic bacteria and microbes there are!

A series of tests lead by Charles Gerba indicates that there are more fecal bacteria on the kitchen counter than on a toilet seat. “You’d be better off eating a carrot that fell in the toilet rather than one that fell in your sink.”

It’s closer than you think…


During an undercover video investigation, local restaurant employees were caught: sneezing into their hands then preparing food, picking their noses, and flicking cigarettes into meals about to be served.

It was reported that at a local Taco Bell in Colorado Springs that food was often dropped on the floor and still picked up to be served.

Also, at a Mcdonald’s, the work area and kitchen were infested with cockroaches in the milk shake machine. It was also reported that there were armies of mice that urinate and defecate on hamburger buns left out to thaw every night.