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Campylobacter

I’ve had food poisoning before; you know, the proper kind, the lightning strike, the near-fever where the room’s spinning and you’re seeing stars. Your body is engaged in total war against alien invaders, and the sheer bewildering violence of it all would almost be quite exciting if it didn’t mean you felt like death. That’s food poisoning.

This, however, is just rubbish. Most likely it’s campylobacter, the Jon Culshaw to salmonella’s Rory Bremner*. Apparently this is its standard MO—a couple of days’ hardcore nastiness at the start, which then abates a bit, leaving only some gastric grumbling, a high-ish temperature you can’t shift and overall an indefinable feeling of somehow being kind of ill. Also, it means you can’t concentrate on a damn thing. I’ve had to take the week off work, which is unfortunate when you’re paid by the hour.

This bacterium has sought asylum in me after entering illegally in—almost certainly—a Ginster’s chicken and mushroom slice. (Chicken is campylobacter’s traditional haunt, and the slice was the only chicken I had eaten all day. In your face, Ginster’s’s lawyers.) It’s a useful reminder of just how much of the national flock is infected with a startling variety of shit like this, thanks mainly to battery farming. Yet when challenged on this and related subjects (growth hormones, overuse of antibiotics, feeding herbivores to other herbivores, the usual), agribusiness is always quick to point the finger back at us: “You’re the consumer. You wanted cheap food. You did this.” This is bogus non-logic and we shouldn’t accept it. We would have been foolish to request that they jeopardise our health, so we didn’t. However, almost their every cost-cutting development does exactly that. Few of us have the pathological lack of affect required to ask them to brutalise their livestock so that it becomes almost unrecognisable as the animal it started out as, but this they do with alarming zeal.

Like paparazzi and the Ministry of Defence, the agribusiness industry is in profound denial about what it does and why it does it. And partly as a result (and also as a result of my lazy decision to eat a shoddy processed product; I don’t deny I’m complicit) I’ve been sat around for a week now, feeling like a confused drunk old man. Hopefully by the Bank Holiday I’ll be well enough to feel that way because of actual drink.


* Lazenby to Connery, Andy Dick to Steve Martin, Putin to Stalin, Richard Reid to bin Laden, etc

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Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
offensive_mango
Apr. 30th, 2005 12:33 pm (UTC)
THIS is precisely why I don't eat chicken. The whole concept of chicken is disgusting, unless you raised it and killed it yourself and therefore know what went into it.

That applies to most meats, actually. Meat. Yech. And in fact some fruits and vegetables.
ruudboy
Apr. 30th, 2005 12:41 pm (UTC)
Yeah, but MEAT. And especially CHICKEN! Which is like, great, if you buy it from the farmers' market from Mr Organic Free Range Chicken Man. They're still battery chickens, that's just his real name.
offensive_mango
Apr. 30th, 2005 03:02 pm (UTC)
Meat: yuck, sorta. Chicken: DEFINITIVELY YUCK.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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