Sometimes I get pointed to an article on another blog that is so good I can’t pass it up. This story from the terrific Nancynall.com, takes a look at the New York Times piece earlier this month, on flaws in the government beef Inspection process. If you haven’t read the -long- Times piece, this is a great synopsis.
Here’s the problem: Into every modern American life, some processed food must fall. We might try mightily to hew to the straight, narrow, organic and local, but sooner or later you’re going to be served a restaurant meal that doesn’t draw its raw materials from the Niman Ranch, or your child is going to have to eat the school lunch for one reason or another, or you just aren’t going to have the energy to burn a cord of wood to make a couple of eggs (as Anthony Bourdain amusingly summed up Alice Waters’ breakfast for Lesley Stahl on “60 Minutes.”). And goddamnit, but it is the government’s job to make sure food-processing facilities are as safe as can be, and are producing meat that doesn’t have to be handled like toxic waste. (If I hear one more industry dipshit telling me I need to clean my cutting boards with bleach, I’m going to throw one at their heads.) We’ve clearly seen — sorry, libertarians — that “market forces” aren’t going to shape up the various factory-food industries alone, at least not until we have a plague of paralyzed 22-year-olds, or something. The USDA comes across almost as badly as Cargill and the vast Omaha beef processors who put this poison into American supermarkets. Seizure, forced shutdowns, and a few corporate executives doing a perp walk in handcuffs — that’s what it’s going to take. (Although, based on what we’ve seen, or not seen, on Wall Street in the past year, I’m not holding my breath.)
You can read the article here.