Patrick Boyle is the CEO of the American Meat Institute, a meat industry trade organization. He says that the levels of disease-causing
bacteria in America's meat supply is decreasing, and that there is no evidence
that the centralization of the meat industry has given rise to greater risk of
large-scale food-borne illness.
Carol Tucker Foreman is the director of the Food Policy Institute at the Consumer Federation of America, a consumer advocacy organization. She believes that the meat supply in
America is not safe enough, and that the government should be granted more, not
less, authority to shut down meat-production plants.
Dan Glickman was U.S. secretary of agriculture from 1995 to 2001 and served 18 years in Congress as a representative from Kansas. Although he believes that America's meat supply is
safer than it has ever been, he is concerned that the USDA's power to regulate
and inspect meat-production plants has been diminished by a recent court
Bill Haw is the CEO of Kansas City's National Farms, which operates one of the
largest cattle outfits in the country. His office is located in the old Kansas
City Stockyard Building, once home to the second-largest cattle-trading and
packing center in the world. Here, Haw gives a sweeping overview of the beef
industry over the past 50 years, explains why he thinks feedlots are ultimately
"humane," and discusses the controversy surrounding the use of antibiotics in
Glenn Morris is a professor and chair of the department of epidemiology and
preventive medicine at the University of Maryland Medical School. He was part
of the USDA team that proposed stricter meat and poultry inspection regulations
after the E. coli outbreak in the Pacific Northwest in 1993. He believes that
the industrialization of meat production has led to a greater chance for the
spread of pathogens like E. coli. In this interview, he describes the most
common disease-causing bacteria found in food and new techniques for tracking
and controlling food-borne illness.
Patsy McKee was a USDA inspector in southern California for 15 years. After new
food-safety regulations were approved, giving meat-processing plants more power
to conduct their own inspections, McKee says that some
companies became more aggressive in challenging her authority. She says she was
often harassed and was encouraged not to document sanitation problems.
Ultimately, she was transferred away from her district in California to a night
shift in Cherokee, Iowa. When she refused to go, the USDA fired her. She
eventually filed a discrimination suit against the agency, which was settled
out of court in 2001. Here, McKee discusses the intimidating environment in
which she worked, as well as the sanitation conditions she documented.
Elsa Murano is undersecretary of food safety at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, where she oversees the policies and programs of the Food Safety Inspection Service. Here, Murano says that HACCP, the new system regulating the inspection of meat and poultry
production, has improved the safety of America's meat supply.
Pollan, a former editor at Harper's Magazine, is the author of The
Botany of Desire and several other books that examine the intersections
between science and culture. Here, he talks about his experience as a
small-scale rancher and his decision to buy a cow and track its journey through
the cattle system for The New York Times Magazine. He also discusses the
widespread use of antibiotics in the meat industry, and why he thinks the
system is fragile and susceptible to microbes and pathogens.
Schlosser is an award-winning investigative journalist and author of Fast
Food Nation, a book about what he calls the "dark side of the all-American
meal." Here, Schlosser talks about the conditions inside slaughterhouses and
how they may promote the spread of pathogens throughout the meat supply. He
says that today, certain fast-food companies -- not federal government agencies
-- are the most rigorous testers of meat.
Robert Tauxe is chief of the food-borne and diarrheal diseases branch of the Centers for Disease Control. He describes the potential for the spread of pathogens
inherent in the industrialized production of meat, and how the CDC tries to
track and control food-borne illnesses.
David Theno is vice president of technical services at Jack in the Box. At the
height of the E. coli crisis in 1993, in which 700 people became ill and four
children died after eating at Jack in the Box restaurants, the company hired
Theno away from his consulting business in Modesto, Calif. He changed the
company's entire food-safety program, and some credit him with saving Jack in
the Box from dissolution.