“Till the cows come home.” This popular and overused phrase now has some actual weight behind it with recent developments in the United States. Normally languid and sloth-like, the Elsies of America may soon be rushing off our menus in their delicious burger forms if certain groups get what they want.
Bill Marler, an expert of food safety litigation, has sworn off the All-American hamburger for good since the Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak in the 1990s. This may be somewhat old news, but the risk is still serious to the public. E. coli ends up in ground beef due to haphazard slaughtering practices. Marler has not eaten a burger since the Jack in the Box debacle and has been pushing other Americans to do the same ever since then. This is the primary reason why low-quality and sometimes dangerous burgers are ubiquitous to the American fast-food diet. E. coli can end up in the ground beef when the slaughtering spills it into the edible meat that then gets ground up, mixed throughout our burgers. Yuck.
Once again, big businesses are to blame here. Their profit mongering seems to be the cause of a lot of food safety and E. coli outbreaks. Their large-scale and careless production practices are the crux of the situation. In order to feed millions of overweight and hungry American people every day, these conglomerates have had to speed up the normally skillful process of cutting, cleaning and processing meat, and have put it into the hands of mostly unskilled and careless workers at the costs of food safety for the consumer – whom they rely on for their profits. These workers do not care about our safety. Quite relieving, isn’t it?
Chef Anthony Bourdain of the Food Network even has a few choice words concerning the meat processors and their negligible processing practices.
“We (are) designed to eat meat. We are not designed to eat fecal coliform bacteria,” Bourdain said, adding that the practices of the meat processors and grinders are “unconscionable and border on the criminal.”
Perhaps we do not have to cut out hamburgers out of our diet after all. Ideally, Americans can purge low-quality and dangerous fast food out of our diets and force the conglomerates to clean up their acts. Or they can force them to end up by the wayside with other corporations that have had the fate of dealing with the American public and losing.
Elsie may come home, after all, to my dinner plate. But as a homemade burger, of course.
Danny Peters is a junior psychology major from Fort Worth.