Self-Policed Meat Inspections: A Disaster Looking for a Place to Happen?

Self-Policed Meat Inspections:

A Disaster Looking for a Place to Happen?

While this topic sounds like a new Trump Administration move, this is a topic that has been tossed around for multiple presidential administrations.  In short, the meat industry wants to police itself for safety and eschew the federal and state health inspections of meat.  Is this a good thing, or does this pose a public health risk?

A rarely used scientific approach to meat safety.

A rarely used scientific approach to meat safety.

            Good afternoon, everyone!  We are so glad that you are here to join us, and we are happy to say that more and more of you are reading our stuff!

            Now, more of you should download our e-book, learn more about the meat industry in that way, and send us love in the form of comments on our posts.

            Seriously… we would really love to hear from all of you – what you liked, what you did not like, questions, comments… and yes, I will even take insults.  Let’s just start a conversation!

            Sound good?  Cool!  Let’s move ahead with today’s topic:

Meat Safety

            Now, this is not going to be your normal “meat safety” where we talk about how you heat, handle, serve, and store your meat.

            No, this topic goes back to long before the meat hits your table.  We are talking about the safety that occurs after slaughter, but before the meat gets to stores.

            We are talking about meat inspections, and proposed changes that may come to the industry.


            The big meat industry has been fighting for a number of presidential administrations to be allowed to inspect its own meat and apply for waivers to avoid federal or state inspection.

            Seriously, this is something that has they have been fighting to get, and it is start looking like this might actually happen.

            Now, the article that is listed indicates that most of the big farms that provide meat are inherently corrupt in a number of ways.  These companies hire illegal immigrants, ignore union laws, treat animals poorly, terrible and inhumane working conditions, and often substandard (illegally low) pay.

            Bearing these various points in mind, is this an industry that has a number of different issues that we need to be concerned with.  The argument to be made is simple; if we cannot trust these factory farms and big meat processing plants to do the right thing in these cases, how can we expect them to inspect our food to a degree where it is safe?

            Federal inspections.

            What is interesting is that federal inspections are likely to perform better than the proposes internal inspection processes that are being discussed, which is probably why this battle has been going on for decades.

The seat of Federal power!

The seat of Federal power!

            Bearing that in mind, do you have any idea how long a federal inspector has to inspect an animal carcass before it is sent into the bandsaws that split it apart?

            Really, each inspector gets about 4 seconds with each carcass.  Somehow in this timespan the inspector is supposed to be able to determine if the meat is free of hair, major blemishes, disease, fecal matter (that is just gross, let’s be honest), or otherwise contaminated…

            And now the meat industry wants to police itself so it can “streamline and shorten” the process? 

            I have got to say – that does not give me a warm and fuzzy feeling in my stomach…

            State inspections.

            This point does not directly relate to what is being said, but I figured it was worth mentioning all the same.

            State inspected meat has to have standards that meet or exceed that of federally inspected beef (or other forms of meat).  That being said, most states have stricter requirements for meat inspection than the federal government!

            More interestingly, did you know that state inspected meat, which is more heavily inspected than federally inspected meat, cannot be sold outside of the state in which the inspection occurred?

            So, here is what we are given to understand:

            The real issue…

            We already know that state inspected meat is the way to go, that has been demonstrated in the cited articles that are hyperlinked above.  However, most meat has to be federally inspected because the bulk of meat comes from a few states. 

            We know that federal meat inspection is inefficient and ineffective...

            And now a bill is in place that is going to remove the “time wasting process” of federal meat inspection, allowing a corrupt group of people “inspect” their own meat in a manner that is “more efficient” (read as faster; anyone know how you can do better in less than 4 seconds?), and then allowing this meat to be sold across state lines with limited oversight.

            This is not a nightmare scenario that might happen – a number of slaughterhouses have already been granted waivers and have reduced or eliminated the federal inspectors in favor of their own inspectors paid for by their own industry.

            PLEASE tell me that you understand the problem with this picture?

           What are my Options?

            Well, the good news is that it is not all gloom and doom. 

            No, really, it is not – and here is why:

           Remember that federal inspections cost more than state inspection sand only massive companies and factory farms can afford these waivers.

           Now, this is a good thing – this means that your local farmers that are selling their meat within their home state have the following benefits:

·       They are subject to the more stringent state inspections

·       They do not have a waiver in place that allows them to skirt the system

·       Most smaller farms are smaller because they choose to act ethically in all capacities

           Really, these three points are the crux of the matter.

           Seriously – all you should need to think about are those three points above.  If a farm has to be subject to state inspections, and you know that the farm is acting ethically from top to bottom, then you know that what you are getting is quality meat.

           It is SAFE meat.

Where do I get it?

Meat Market in action!

Meat Market in action!

This is where we get excited over here at Wayside… most of the time this meat does not go to your “big box” grocery stores.  If you think about this, it makes sense since they are trying to get a wholesale price by buying as much as possible, and that is normally not going to happen when they are buying from smaller farms.


           So, where do you go to KNOW you are getting the safest meat?

           You go to your local butcher and meat market! 

           Yeah, really, you do… most of these guys are not buying in massive bulk, so they are getting what they can from local suppliers.  Not only is the meat safer right from the get-go in most cases, but you know that it did not travel as far, so it is fresher, and it tastes better.

How can we Stop the Madness?

            Unlike our last post where there was no petition, there is an online petition to sign if you want to make sure that safety stays a priority!

            The link for it is HERE, and please take the time to ensure that the government makes sure our meat is still as safe as possible!  After you sign there is also an email link… have people you know and love that would sign this but don’t read blogs?

            (Well, send them here anyway…)

            Email them the link to protect our food!  We look forward to staying happy and healthy, and making sure our animals are also happy and healthy!