Food and Finance
Economist Andy Samwick also found Sunday's New York Times expose on beef production to be reminiscent of the mortgage market. We once got our meat from slaughterhouses, and now we get our meat from something akin to livestock holding companies. "As in the mortgage mess," Samwick writes, "finding the party to hold accountable is difficult, since the responsibility is shared among a number of entities, public and private, domestic and international." And if no one is ultimately responsible, no one has a real incentive to improve the situation. From the Times article:
Costco said it had found E. coli in foreign and domestic beef trimmings and pressured suppliers to fix the problem. But even Costco, with its huge buying power, said it had met resistance from some big slaughterhouses. “Tyson will not supply us,” Mr. Wilson said. “They don’t want us to test.” [...]
The food safety officer at American Foodservice, which grinds 365 million pounds of hamburger a year, said it stopped testing trimmings a decade ago because of resistance from slaughterhouses. “They would not sell to us,” said Timothy P. Biela, the officer. “If I test and it’s positive, I put them in a regulatory situation. One, I have to tell the government, and two, the government will trace it back to them. So we don’t do that.”
Enjoy your burger.
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