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China's Garbage-Fed Beef Problem: Cattle Graze in Landfill Until Slaughter

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Exposed to germs and chemicals they could ultimately pass to humans.

Hordes of cattle graze in a Chinese landfill, raising concerns about dangerous beef contamination. (Image source: China Hush)

China has another food problem: This time, it's cattle that spend their lives snacking on garbage before they're taken away for slaughter.

According to China Hush, hordes of cattle live in the landfill of Changsha, the capital city of Hunan province in south-central China. They survive on refuse until they're large enough for their owners to slaughter them.

The cattle reportedly take no notice of landfill workers bulldozing the site, instead constantly scouting for food, including rotten grapefruit skin and old corn.

Their presence is of concern because the germs and mold the cattle are regularly exposed can easily be passed to humans who eat their meat.

But chief among the health concerns are the mercury and other chemicals humans could be ingesting: Chemicals from discarded electronics could seep into the waste products the cattle feed on, contaminating the entire animal and passing it on to the consumer.

Wu Jiacheng, a chemistry professor at National Taiwan Normal University, told NTD TV about some of the dangers.

"There are some bacteria shared by livestock and humans. Cows, sheep, or pigs may eat these things and have no issues, but once they reach the human body, they cause illness," he said. "For instance, listerial infections can cause death in humans. If a mother is pregnant and is affected by this sort of bacteria, the infant fatality rate can be 100%."

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