job correctly requires a cut that even veteran butchers find difficult. Botching the cut means spraying the contents of the animal's stomach onto the meat, and not surprisingly, tired, underpaid, and unskilled slaughterhouse workers often do just that. While no one knows exactly how frequently this occurs, if it only happened one time out of a hundred, meat eaters would still have cause to worry. The miracle of modern, efficient beef processing means that a single fast food hamburger can contain the remains of over one hundred cattle.

It would be nice to think that the USDA protects Americans from eating shit, but unfortunately even this is no longer the case. Intense beef industry lobbying in the late 1980's resulted in the Streamlined Inspection System (SIS), a new set of industry guidelines that replaced most federal meat inspectors with in-house employees. As a result, USDA officials now see less than one percent of carcasses processed annually, and thousands of animals with pneumonia, measles, abscesses, and fecal contamination pass by the myopic eyes of in-house inspectors every day.

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