While consumers pay high beef prices at the grocery store, very little has trickled down to ranchers — in fact, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the gap between the retail price for beef and the price producers receive is the largest it's ever been. In interviews, eight ranchers in seven states agreed their profits have stagnated or even decreased, while the meatpacking companies — which buy the animals for slaughter, then package the meat to be sold at grocery stores — have benefited.
If you live in one of our nation’s urban areas – Miami, Austin, Los Angeles, New York or Portland you might have seen on T-V this little ditty promoting Burger King's newest offering, the “Wopper with Reduced Methane Emissions Beef.”
Let's all sing along:
“When cows fart and burp and splatter,
Well, it ain’t no laughing matter.
They’re releasing methane every time they do.
And that methane from the rear goes up to the atmosphere,
And pollutes our planet, warming me and you.”
ByCynthia Voelkl/Midwest Center for Investigative Reportiing |
In 2018, 3M agreed to pay Minnesota $850 million to settle a case alleging the manufacturer damaged natural resources and contaminated groundwater by disposing of the chemicals over decades. Studies have associated certain PFAS chemicals with increased risk of cancer and damage to organs such as the liver and thyroid. The suit alleges that the defendants knew or should have known that the chemicals persist in the environment and do not degrade, that they would inevitably accumulate and build up in humans and animals, and that it is a potential or confirm carcinogen.
ByKaolin Sewell/The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting |
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a first-of-its kind pill that reduces the amount of ammonia gas emissions in beef cattle and their manure. However, some critics are doubting its overall effectiveness.
The number of new concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) have increased across the U.S. over the past six years - bringing the total operations just under 20,000, according to data from the Environmental Protection Agency. From 2011 to 2017, the United States saw more than 1,400 new large-scale concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) established. That’s up 7.6 percent. Here's a look at the issue in maps and charts.
The federal government has taken steps aimed at reducing the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, a serious health threat that sickens an estimated 2 million people in the United States each year. But nobody knows if those steps — many focused on monitoring the antibiotics given to cattle, hogs and chickens raised for food — are working.
Last week, several news outlets reported on a World Health Organization study that linked processed meats such as bacon and hotdogs to cancer. Industry groups were quick to denounce the findings, including the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, which argued science does not support the findings.
Meat sold in the United States could soon lack a label that maps its origins. In 2009, Congress mandated that all livestock must include a country-of-origin labeling throughout what is commonly referred to as the COOL law. Under the requirements, the label must show where livestock was born, raised and slaughtered.