Why Plant-Based Ingredients Are Safer Than Animal Products

It seems that every few months there is a health problem surrounding one animal product or another. News stories announce a bird flu, an outbreak of a contaminant, tainted beef, or a recall on frozen meatballs. People going to this news site, or that news site, read articles or see videos explaining how many people have died and how many are sick from the latest animal product issue. The risk appears to be increasing at an alarming rate. There is no one reason for all the specific problems, but there are commonalities that affect animal products.

The first thing to keep in mind is that a disease or bacteria in an animal may not be apparent before it is slaughtered, or before eggs are collected. Unless the animal dies, no one sees that there is a problem. Plant-based ingredients are safer because if there is something wrong with a crop, it usually fails and cannot be harvested. The loss is immediate. It is a big loss that drives up produce prices, and places small farmers at risk of bankruptcy, but people do not have to die before the problem is noticed.

Another commonality is that there are so many steps required to process animal products. There are several times the product is exposed to possible contaminants before it arrives at the market. Slaughter houses have blades, machinery, assembly lines, and workers that can all introduce bacteria. Then the meat is shipped. If the refrigeration temperature is wrong on the truck, or boat, or train, the product can begin to grow bacteria, or be exposed to other contaminants. Then there is the processing plant. More workers, more machinery, artificial ingredients and preservatives are added, and more open air assembly lines. The packaging area is another risk, and then more shipping to reach stores.

Plant-based ingredients are harvested, processed, blended, packaged, and shipped. There is risk of exposure to bacteria in all those places, but the ingredients are still safer for a few reasons. a lot of plant-based ingredients are dried, or turned to powder or meal. That drastically reduces the moisture content, which means there is less of a risk of mold or bacteria growth. Most do not require the addition of artificial ingredients or preservatives during processing, so there is less chance of cross contamination. There is risk with any foods ingested, but it is rare that plant-based ingredients cause illnesses or deaths.

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