Eric Schlosser

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Halleigh Benner
Dr. Wiley
English 701
Section 21?

Contaminated Meat Every Step Of The Way

Eric Schlosser’s book Fast Food Nation, Michael Moss’ article The Burger That Shattered Her Life and the documentary Food Inc. all come together to inform people on the facts about the food industry’s contamination issue. The food industry has many slaughterhouses and meat packing industries in the United States. People never think about where there meat has come from, how it is prepared, stored, or made. Unfortunately, the sanitation of our meat from where it starts to when we eat it is appalling. Many farms now raise livestock in mass groups in dirty environments, they gather into unsanitary slaughterhouses to be killed with unsanitary utensils, methods, and machinery, the meat gets combined with other meat in filthy meat packing industries, and is then packed away for us to eat. Farms should raise cows how they used to be raised, consumers should make healthier and wiser decisions on their choices of meat, people need to demand better food safety standards by re-introducing Kevin’s law. The industry doesn’t want you to know the truth about what you are eating, because if you knew then you might not want to eat it, but now the truth is revealed.

Our farm animals such as chickens and cattle are not raised how they used to be raised. In the documentary Food Inc. many farmers would not let the camera crew inside the chicken houses, but one woman that was interviewed did. Carole Morison said, “I understand why farmers do not want to talk because the big companies that they are controlled by can cut pay.” Companies control everything about what the farmers do but Carole also stated, “It is not right what is going on and I made up my mind that I am going to say what I want to say, it doesn’t matter anymore something has to be said.” The documentary showed that her chicken house was full of dust and feces everywhere. The mass amount of chickens cooped up close together couldn’t escape from the unsanitary environment. Many chicken farms are exactly like her’s. Carole said, “This isn’t farming anymore, it is mass production.” The spread of disease is more likely within these mass production chickens because Carole informed us, “Antibiotics are put into the feed, but the bacteria builds up a resistance and the antibiotics don’t work anymore.” Cattle are not any different than the chickens. The documentary Food Inc. showed viewers that feedlots contain hundreds of cows that stand ankle deep in their own manure all day long. If one cow has a disease such as, E. coli then the others will have a higher risk of getting the disease as well. The unhealthy sanitation of our food even begins when the cows and chickens are alive in their environment that they are being raised.

The environment of slaughterhouses where the livestock is killed is horrific and disgusting. To hide these sickening scenes, most slaughterhouses are simple buildings with no windows to see inside. In the book Fast Food Nation, the author Eric Schlosser put on knee high boots because his host from the slaughterhouse said, “Tuck your pants into the boots, we’ll be walking through some blood” (Pg. 169). Walking through deep puddles of blood is unhygienic. If one cow’s blood is infected and is then mixed with other blood that is gathered into puddles on the ground; workers have to walk through the puddles and it can contaminate machines, utensils, or other meat that is being worked on by the puddles being splattered. Bacteria grows and spreads in moist and humid conditions. Eric Schlosser states, “The kill floor is hot and humid. It stinks of manure. Cattle have a body temperature of about 101 degrees, and there are a lot of them in the room” (Pg. 170). Bacteria thrive in these places and can be harmful to us in the long run. The process of how our meat is made is unhealthy. The article The Burger That Shattered Her Life by Michael Moss stated, “Slaughterhouses have...
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