Before I proceed, a disclaimer: if you’re planning on eating meat, like, well, ever…you might want to skip ahead to the politics portion of our evening. In a Gary Tuchman piece, we learn that Dr. Dean Wyatt of Food Safety Inspection Services testified before Congress today that he witnessed clear violations of food safety regulations and his report fell on deaf ears.
We’re shown horrific video of a slaughterhouse in Vermont, which Dr. Wyatt tried to get closed down three times. He indicates that the slaughterhouse owners would often intimidate the supervisors who in turn didn’t want to deal with the hassle. Dr. Wyatt was actually told to transfer or lose his job.
Included in the piece is David Kirby, author of “Animal Factory,” explaining just how dangerous slaughtering a “downed cow” can be, something Dr. Wyatt saw. Mad cow disease anyone? The Vermont slaughterhouse was closed when that video came out, but you know there are others like that. Disgusting, and actually pretty scary.
From here we go to an interview with filmmaker Robert Kenner of “Food, Inc” fame. Normally I am very pro-being informed, but I’ll admit I’ve been avoiding this film because I don’t plan on going vegetarian any time soon. We’re show a clip that’s about how manure gets into the meat and…gross. Robert tells us that there are fewer inspectors today. He also thinks stronger regulations are needed.
A disturbing little tidbit is that previously the meat in your burger would have come from the same cow. Now there could me as many as 10,000 cows in a single burger, and they could be coming from anywhere. Kinda throws the notion of safety and tracking out the window, huh? Also, only four companies control 80 percent of the beef in this country. Big Beef, apparently.
Robert suggests that consumers buy less processed food and get things locally, but Anderson Cooper points out doing so can be expensive. Unfortunately, Robert skirts this inconvenient truth, and again just emphasizes that people need to be more conscious with their purchasing choices. He makes a good point about the government subsidizing corn and soybeans though.
Continuing with our theme, Anderson goes to Tom Colicchio ’s kitchen to talk with the “Top Chef” star. They first touch on E. coli and Tom advises to avoid frozen beef patties. Anderson again hits on how expensive it can be to eat right. I gotta give him props for this because too many times the point goes unmentioned. Tom addresses this more directly than Robert, explaining that you can get protein from legumes, fish,…it doesn’t all have to be about burgers.