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About The Center

The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting is an independent, nonprofit newsroom devoted to educating the public about crucial issues in the Midwest with a special focus on agribusiness and related topics such as government programs, environment and energy.

May 4, 2010 |

Information on factory farms is spotty at best. The government has been hogtied from doing more.

CAFOs have been a point of contention between the livestock industry and environmental activists since they began to proliferate in the 1990s, overtaking small, pasture-feeding operations as the dominant form of animal agriculture in the US. As the number of livestock producers has declined, the number of animals — hogs, cattle and poultry — has skyrocketed over the past several decades, in part due to rapid consolidation in the industry.

February 25, 2021 |

GRAPHIC: Leafy greens have caused more than 40 E. coli outbreaks in the past decade. The FDA is trying to change that.

After a 2018 E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce hospitalized more than 100 people and killed five, the US Food and Drug Administration put together an action plan to reduce E. coli contamination in leafy greens.

February 23, 2021 |

Missouri meat processing plant workers cite unsafe COVID conditions

Meat processing workers at Smithfield Foods in Milan, Missouri, were raising concerns about their working environment even before nearly 600 employees of a Smithfield plant in South Dakota contracted COVID-19.

Smithfield shut down its South Dakota plant indefinitely Sunday, and some workers in Milan fear it’s only a matter of time before the coronavirus overwhelms their community, too.

April 17, 2020 |