Meat Packing Policy in America:
Only a few giant corporate farms dominate the United States meatpacking market, thanks to the infiltration of corporate men and women within the USDA. These people have used their economic upper hand to deny small farms and ranchers access to the open markets and have forced these small time livestock producers into private contracts that favor the packers the producers have to contract with. This one-side favoring contract arrangement is known as captive supply.
In the 1920's the government enacted legislation such as USDA's Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA). This organization was created to oversee livestock markets and monitor and stop anti-competitive practices. Now, GIPSA downplays the huge problem, captive supply, and has quit enforcing and monitoring for fair competition rules. The organization looks the other way as the government has become seemingly like partners to the corporate agribusinesses. This has been been seen in excess now that Donna Reifschneider is the Administrator of GIPSA. She served as president of the National Pork Producers Council which is a trade group that has many close ties with dominant meatpacker interests, furthering the obvious observation of the interconnectedness of government incentives and corporate agribussinesses.
A common American thought on meat is the idea that tainted meat was only a problem before the early 20th century reforms of the Progressive Era. However, recently - as seen on news articles, videos, etc. - E.coli bacteria, listeria, and other hazardous bacteria have been reappearing in huge corporate food productions. This tainted meat and produce hazard is strongly linked to the steadily weakening inspection practices in slaughterhouses and production areas. USDA has endorsed and encouraged the system called Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) due to the prompts and want for this system by the major meatpackers in America.
Instead of using HACCP as a supplementary inspection along with traditional, more intense inspections, USDA has decided to allow HACCP to be the primary and really only inspection system, which allows meatpackers to rely and use questionable procedures (such as irradiation for contamination).
One of the most influential federal official who is most responsible for these meat packing inspection policies is Dr. Elsa Murano who is the Under Secretary of Agriculture for Food and Safety. Prior to her part in the Bush campaign, Dr. Elsa Murano was an academic professor that highly supported irradiation. Dr. Murano also did research that was funded my Titan Corporation who is a dominant leader and participant in food irradiation as it is the company that created the corporation SureBeam. This warped policy construction and manipulation gives room for mistreatment of animals and farms due to the favor of corporate farming and production systems. This lack of regulation and inspection also brings harm and danger to consumers and the economy for rural agricultural towns and family farms.
This page was created for Marc Bousquet's English 363 at Emory University.