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is your meat safe?
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photo of cutting meatjoin the discussion: Is America's meat supply safe enough? Are you worried about your next burger?


I would like to see some studies examining the relationship to the hormones Revulonin the beef to 3 trends we see today: 1decreasing age of menarche in young girls: we have gone from an average age of 13 years a generation ago to 9 - 11 years of age in girls today; 2 decreasing sperm counts in young American males and 3 slight, but real, increased incidence of breast cancer in women. Your Frontline episode raised other health issues of infectious diseases salmonella, campylobacter, listeriosis that can be addressed if consumers were more aware.

Government compliance issues is one thing, but I think if one is going to continue to eat beef, then one should be responsible to query our butchers ceaselessly about how the beef was raised corn-fattened vs grass only, presence or absence of hormones, and ask questions regarding who was the Industrial supplier and does the Vons or Safeway buyer know the track record for that supplier. We may make pests of ourselves, but if enough people persist, we can make a difference. That is the power we consumers have.

pamela craig
pasadena, CA


It is obvious that your program wanted to make this documetary as outlandish as possible. Why would you talk to a reporter from New York to find out how cattle are raised and what their bodies can and can not handle.

If your program had wanted to do an accurate story, you would have talked to experts in ruminant nutrition and animal behavior that could have provided factual information instead of sensationalized opinion.

Joe Carter


Ground beef , chicken, turkey etc. I will definately reconsider . Din't know this was such a political issue. I remember the cattle ranchers took Oprah to court and she prevailed. I can see how this is a powerful industry. There is no way the USDA should be gagged and choked out on regulating this industry. I worked briefly in a processing plant - 3 days. That was more than enough for me.

Gary Medlock
denver, co


Cattle have not always been finished on corn and a few animals still are not. These cattle are grown on some of the best patures in the nation and their meat is processed according to a very strict protocol. More can be learned about this alternative food source at their website

Kenneth Suter
Wyaconda, Missouri


Being involved with both sides of food production industry and inspection and I shake my head when I hear people say we all should become vegetarians because it is safer. This is not necessarily true. There have been outbreaks associated with fruits and vegetables that had no contact with meat or meat residue. Cross contamination and sanitation in the production and preparation of food items is a large contributing factor to food borne illnesses. ALL food is susceptible to contamination. Some food products may be more likely to harbor greater amounts of pathogens because of its inherent nature, but if prepared and served properly, there will be less chance of an illness. Also, the responsibility to provide a safe food product falls not only to industry and inspectors, but to the consumers as well. Production of safe food does not stop at the door of the butcher shop, it goes from farm to table, and everyone is responsible to do their best to produce a safe food product.

P Zierler


After watching this broadcast I am truly thankful that I am a vegatarian! After contracting a severe case of food poisoning 15 years ago from a major fast food chain, I remain convinced that if the public really knew the extent of the contamination dilemma, not to mention the inhumane treatment of the animals, the general negative impact of meat production on the environment, and the overwhelming health risks of a diet abundant with meat, there would be a mad rush for Boca Burgers nationwide. Thank you for presenting this program. Perhaps if those individuals who contiue to eat meat see this material presented objectivly from a respected source such as Fronline the public demand for reform will finally prevail over this very powerful, largely unregulated industry that has one very conspicuous goal: maximum monetary gain and minimal expense with little concern for public health. I wonder what they feed their children?

Dorine Sackett
Key West, FL


This presentation may indeed create a lot more vegetarians! However, I am not ready to join them just yet; not until I find out why beef has no flavor any more. Is it the short life? The antibiotics? No exercise, or what? I haven't had any good ground beef in 10 years, including ground sirloin. The Beef Council owes us an answer to that question! I would find it hard to believe that too much corn is the answer since cattle have always been fattened on my understanding.

Jim Johston
Tampa, Fl


You will probably get many vegetaarians who respond to this program in horror. I am one of them, but I am more than that. Coming from Montana, we have a large amount invested in cattle ranching. The kind of ranching that has been traditionally practiced in our state was the small family farm. This type of ranching has all but been killed out by the huge agro-businesses, but in Montana we still hold on to the ideal of the family farm, and so it is still possible to get hygenic beef. With the slow replacements of even our state's family run farms, you can say goodbye to the last traces of clean meat.

Nick Matthaes
Missoula, Montana


The United States has the safest food supply in the world and industries like the beef industry are continually taking steps to improve the quality and safety of their product. It is in their best interest to do so. It is interesting that a majority of your report utilized PETAish scare tactics with an emphasis on making the meat industry appear demonic. Biased and irresponsible reports like yours do not help make improvements, but rather do the opposite by causing declines in the market resulting in less money available for increased research and technology.

michael gerbo
marshalltown, iowa


The narrative was not very clear on many points and seemed to make inferences that were not accurate. For example: the 'fired' meat inspector from California was presented in such a way to imply that Dr. Murano was responsible for FSIS firing the inspector. She was fired before Murano or the current administration came to Washington. In fact it occurred when Mr. Glickman was Sec'y of Agriculture and Tom Billy was head of the FSIS. The report also failed to point out that the poultry industry has a much higher incident of salmonella in its raw product then does beef and pork. The same thing is probably true about the incident of listeria.

The segment on the import of live cattle implied that Mexican cattle carry foot and mouth disease and are infected with BSE. Those implications are patently not true. Neither disease exists in the 3 countries that are party to the North American Free Trade Agreement Mexico, USA, Canada. All three countries have strong collaborative programs to keep those diseases out of our livestock herds.

Further it is illegal to import raw red meat from countries where FMD and BSE are known to exist. It would have been useful for the former USDA Inspector General to explain what criminal actions he took against the persons responsible for importing the 650,000 lbs of product from an FMD infected country.

Finally, no sane person avocates mixing feces with meat products as Mrs Tucker-Foreman implied the beef industry is planning to do. Use of electronic beam irridation is a final safe guard against a deadly bacteria, not a license to sell contaminated products.

Certain segments such as the interviews with Theno of Jack In The Box were useful and informative. In total, however, the program was more a commercial to help the author sell his book, Modern Meat, and to promote his agenda then it was a balanced presesntation of fact on a complex topic.
Can you send me back 50 minuites of the hour I spent watching the show?

Stanley Miller


The increasing globalzation of the worlds food market dramatically increases the risk of introducing new and potentially deadly microorganisms into the U.S. food chain. It becomes all the more imperative that we have a thorough and reliable system of checks and balances as more and more meats and agricultural products come in from the far reaches of the planet.

Prof. Alonzo Carr
Brooklyn, NY


As one who is involved in the design and construction of food processing facilities, it is painfully evident that very little consideration was given to the recent advacnces made in the industry in the area of food safety. For example, production floors in Ready to Eat RTE facilities the rooms are pressurized with HEPA filtred air that is cleaner than any emergency room and most surgery wards in modern hospitals.

It would have added credibility to the report if the advances in both quality control and testing had been covered by the investigation to make the report both fair and balanced.

Chris McGill


As a farmer your program was very informative. I would like to say the small family farmers have never like the consolidation of the meat industry. This type of industry has kill the family farmers. Unfortunately the eating habits of the american people with the fast food industry has put the death of the family home meals. People are not willing to take the time to cook their own meals. I've always take the time to grow,cook, and prepare my family meals. The culture of today family is around the fast food industry. Whether its breakfast, lunch or dinner. I know many parents are working today. My mother work also but always took the time to cook and get the proper nutrition inside me. This is just the beginning with the agribusiness consolidation. I do believe many American diets will consider of five major grains and three meats. As a vegetable grower I have lost many acres of land through lack of customers and land being lost to development. I know business is good for the economy but what cost is it to the American cosumer? I've known for years the grass fed beef and other animals are better off for the enviroment and the health of the American consumer. I feel for the consumers and the people who are worried about the food safety. It going to be tougher more in the future. The USDA has many problems that need to be look out. I would like to ask if your viewers like to eat more vegetable and fruits? Why is it the Fast food industry doesn't try to market vegetables and fruits in today people diet? I hope this program open ups more opportunity to look for better ways of getting safety food in the American people.

David Mac Intyre


Interesting topic for PBS documentary. As a 4th generation cattle rancher in Northern Nevada, I was interested in the fact that the beef industry was singled out to represent all incidence of meat and foodborne illness. The U.S. beef industry has clearly demonstrated its ability to provide safe nutritious products for consumers throughout the world. In the wake of the FMD and BSE disasters of Europe, I take pride in knowing that the U.S. beef industry has actively prevented the outbreak of such disasters here.

Product quality and safety are priorities of producers in this country. Right now, U.S. beef producers are producing healthier and safer products than ever but receive a smaller portion of retail sale price than ever in history. Slaughter and processing facilities with sub-standard sanitation practices are not endorsed by hardworking producers as spokesman for our industry.

Craig Benson
Eureka, Nevada


Why does noone seriously suggest that we reduce or eliminate meat from our diets? The health risks of meat include not only salmonella and e.coli, but heart disease, cancer and obesity as well.

Martin Stone
Brooklyn, NY


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