Synopsis by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.
Modern Meat states that 5,000 people die each year in the United States from food poisoning, many from tainted meat. Is American meat, Frontline asks, safe? Many consumers began to question the safety of meat in 1993 when 600 people who had eaten at the Jack in the Box chain became sick with an unknown illness. Eventually, investigators learned that the culprit was a new strain of E. coli. While many embraced HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) technology as a method for detecting bacteria in the wake of the outbreak, the meat industry fought federal regulations. Despite opposition, the USDA persevered and by 1996 new regulations had been adopted and salmonella levels began to drop. Unsafe meat, however, continued to appear in supermarkets and many pointed to an increase in imported meat. Others were troubled by a federal ruling in favor of the meat industry in early 2002. The appeals court agreed that the government did not have the right to shut down Supreme Beef's operations, even when a plant failed to meet the USDA salmonella standards. Modern Meat includes interviews with industry and government officials.
agriculture, beef, contamination, food-poisoning, industry, meat, meatpacker, public-health, regulations