"This is one Thursday night when 'CSI: Crime Scene Investigation' won't be the most gruesome hour on TV. Tonight there's 'Modern Meat,' Frontline's unflinching survey of how the hamburger patties get to your favorite fast food restaurant.
If the slaughter house footage doesn't do your tummy in, the sight of 2,000 pound bins of spare cattle parts being dumped in giant grinders just might. But the trip through a 'disassembly' plant, as one observer labels a high-tech butchering operation, is actually less off-putting than the visit to a huge Colorado feedlot, where thousands of cows await their rendezvous with sesame-seed buns, standing knee-deep in their own manure.
The intention here is not to scare viewers away from 'Modern Meat,' just to ensure that they know what they'll see and what questions it might raise. This is really an important public-service documentary, and its goal isn't to turn us into a tofu nation but to make sure we understand where our next burger is coming from. ..."
"If Frontline were not a prestigious fact-finding public television series, a viewer might be tempted to dismiss Modern Meat as a tabloid TV scare. But as it normally does, Frontline offers documentary evidence and commentary that will make you wonder about the safety of the meat you regularly eat, particularly hamburger. ...
Frontline, by the way, doesn't have to worry about any network censorship challenges because it's not interrupted by commercials from noted fast-food chains, which will be a bit unhappy when viewing Modern Meat."
"...[G]ood reporting...but where the show falls down is in exposing more of the impact from hormone and antibiotic filled cattle upon growing children who eat the meat from these animals.
...Frontline talks with the industry insiders on both sides of the, er, cattle fence, and gives a decent, well-rounded account that will still leave you retching -- or maybe renewing your college vow to go vegan."
"Where's the beef? Frontline's got the beef...and from the opening sizzle of fast-food burgers on a meat grill, you know 'Modern Meat' isn't going to be an appetizing tour.
Grotesque, nauseating and ultimately very informative, the hour covers contamination, new federal safety regulations and high-tech meat industry innovations that have changed the composition of the typical burger, leaving it more open to the spread of bacteria. ...
The history of meat inspections, the power of the $80 billion-a-year U.S. meatpacking industry and its lobbyists, the threats of globalization and bio-terrorism...it all adds up to [a] sickening but superior report. ..."
"Electronic Media's list of who really matters in TV journalism blithely ignores the man who, week in and week out, has provided some of the most substantial beef in the medium.
He's David Fanning, executive producer of Frontline, which this week takes a look at the American meet industry, specifically hamburger."
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