Gristle: From Factory Farms to Food Safety (Thinking Twice about the Meat We Eat), a book co-edited by the multifaceted (and multi-platinum) musician Moby and food policy activist Miyun Park, hit shelves last week as the newest addition to a growing stack of books criticizing industrial agriculture.

gristle-cover.jpgMoby, who has been a vegan for almost 30 years, is unabashed about the book’s agenda: to shift people away from supporting the industrial production of meat, eggs, and dairy for a “healthier, cleaner, and more humane world.”
“That’s what this book is about, the rarely publicized ramifications of industrialized farmed animal production and meat, egg, and milk consumption on the environment, human health, communities, workers, taxpayers, zoonotic diseases, global warming, global hunger, and, of course, the animals themselves,” he writes in the introduction.

Moby and Miyun bring together fifteen contributors to examine an ambitious breadth of food and agriculture topics–including human health, agriculture subsidies, environmental degradation, worker’s rights, rural economics, food safety, and even global hunger–all in just 150 pages.

Contributors include John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, Paul Willis, manager of Niman Ranch Pork Compnay, Christine Chavez, former political director of the United Farm Workers Union, and Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, and Brendan Brazier, two-time Canadian ultra marathon champion.

The book touches on a number of specific food safety and quality concerns, including puss allowances in milk, dioxins in fast food, and the use of bovine growth hormone.

In Chapter 9, Michael Greger, MD, director of public health and animal agriculture for the Humane Society, discusses a broad range of zoonotic diseases linked to animal agriculture. According to Greger, most human infectious diseases–measles, smallpox, avian influenza, SARS–originally came from animals.

He also describes the problems with fecal contamination in meat products.

“Unless one treats their kitchen like a biohazard lab, there can be cross-contamination of contagion,” writes Gerger. “In meat-eating households, researchers have found more fecal bacteria in the kitchen–on sponges, dish towels, the sink, and counter surfaces–than they found swabbing the rim of the toilet. We shouldn’t have to cook the crap out of food.”

Moby and Miyun will both be in Washington, DC today at Busboys and Poets on 14th St. NW at 6:30 p.m. to discuss the book.