Today is an especially good day in my life as a vegetarian. It’s a bad day for the meat industry, anyone who eats meat and public health, but hey, maybe this will draw a few of you over to the side of us kale-obsessed weirdos: the USDA is planning a switch from public—as in, performed by the government—meat inspections to a system that allows meat companies to have their own employees do inspections.
If this sounds like as good an idea as having the kids babysit themselves, you are right. The USDA isn’t going into this blind, they had five meat processing plants conduct a pilot program. The plants saved money by not having to have a full team of government inspectors, but it seems that that was money well spent. According to a report by the Washington Post:
“[T]hree of these plants [in the pilot program] were among the 10 worst offenders in the country for health and safety violations, with serious lapses that included failing to remove fecal matter from meat, according to a report this spring by the USDA inspector general. The plant with the worst record by far was one of the five in the pilot program.”
New Zealand, who, incidentally, just got permission to import meat into the United States, uses a similar method. Ian Baldick, an inspectors union rep said that meat in those plants had "tremendous amounts of fecal matter remain on the carcasses….Not small bits, but chunks.”
Bon appetite suckers. And remember, there’s plenty of room on the dark side, if you care to join.