The Law of The Jungle

I’ve been thinking about the word “jungle” lately. No – not the cartoon nor the live action depictions of dense vegetation, replete with white supremacist themes, starring one man who has managed to conquer all manner of beast with merely a yodel. I have been thinking rather of Upton Sinclair’s version that far too few people have actually read or know.

Upton Sinclair wrote brilliantly about the conditions of food processing in the early 20th century in his book, The Jungle. It is in part the tale of an immigrant who was working as a meat packer in dangerous conditions – just because conditions were dangerous. There were no protections, regulations, or safety requirements in place. But immigrants did the work because they needed to feed their families – and because they had seemingly fewer rights, protections and options than US citizens. This is our history.

By all accounts Mr. Sinclair wrote from a political perspective and his intention with the book was to effectuate safer conditions for the workers. In the end, the book was used to advocate for better protections for the food and its processing –  the plight of the workers themselves bifurcated into another conversation.

Regardless, his book is known as seminal because it shone a light on the repulsive and endangering processing conditions and practices. Not just about food dropping on the floor or random human digits being included as lagniappe, or even the probability of cross-contamination. Most regrettable is how it encouraged if not demanded the labor of sick workers.

The Jungle was released in 1906 and spurred the passing of two important laws addressing food safety. (Although I understand how in modern time it is mind-blowing to think the federal government would react so quickly and absolutely to protect food and ostensibly human health; I assure you, it did indeed happen.) The Pure Food and Drug Act was passed through Congress in 1906. Its purpose was to curtail the sale of “misbranded or adulterated food”. Additionally, the Meat Inspection Act of 1906 was signed by Teddy Roosevelt mandating the inspection of animals before processing and the meat after slaughter if it was for human consumption. The objective was to ensure safe and sanitary practices by the meatpacking industry. And though these Acts have morphed through time and enjoyed varying levels of success, we are again hearing of the unsafe conditions at meat packing plants.

Image credit www.clipart.email

Fast forward to 2020 and the meatpacking industry has returned to the forefront of US minds and reestablished itself as a topic of conversation. Not even if you have been living in the deepest part of the jungle could you be unaware of the pandemic that is Covid-19.  However, news outlets report outbreaks of Covid-19 in meatpacking plants. Are we listening now? Maybe.

What is the correlation between meat packing and human health? What do Covid-19 and meat packing even have in common? Covid-19 is a virus that (far as we know) isn’t passed on via food. But we do know that Covid-19 enjoys airborne transmission at close distances via respiratory droplets. So it makes sense that it passes from person to person. But onto food? Maybe. What we know for sure is that one hundred and fourteen years later we are back to unsafe conditions and outbreaks of sickness in meat packing plants similar but not the same contamination process of the early 20th century.

The current spread of disease is in part because of the advances brought forth by the 21st century and they are helping the spread like wildfire. A recent Wired article suggests the spread may be because of the pace at which the ventilation systems move the air intended to prevent spoilage. However, that pace also allows the virus to remain viable outside of a body much longer than it would under other circumstances.

Why is this important? First, it should remind us to be aware that recycled air puts individuals at risk whether in a meat packing plant, office building, or institution. But this also puts us in a good news – bad news situation. The good news is that smaller processers are seeing a boon in business. Bad news is that the meat supply chain is suffering and thought to already be broken. The meat supply chain is a larger topic; just suffice it to say that the industrial complex we rely upon for meat is faltering for many reasons. The result is the supply has become limited, prices have spiked, and consumers are wanting to hoard, but finding they are not permitted to stockpile. The feeling that this is truly a disaster of biblical proportions is real to many people and the sentiment of “dogs and cats living together” in an time of “mass hysteria” could not be more accurate.

Thing is though, the way we have been producing meat has not worked for decades if not a century. It has put too much pressure on the environment and human health in many, many ways. So the idea that mass manufacturing would collapse may not be such a bad idea after all. And allowing room for small businesses to work, compete, rebuild smaller communities, and pass on the culture and heritage of small batch processing may be a welcome outcome. Small producers are going back to business in areas that are likely closer to your home. And we already know that purchasing from local suppliers (i.e. within a 200 mile radius), can provide multiple benefits – not the least of which it keeps that money in the community and allows small business owners to gain.

In this moment, we have the opportunity to create something better than we had before. But are we again focused on the food and not the worker? Have we paid enough attention to our history to avoid the pitfalls? Maybe. However, in my opinion, we should look to a resolution that would no longer be determined to keep workers in unsafe conditions for the sake of producing food.

35 Comments

  • online Posted December 10, 2020 8:38 am

    Wow, this article is good, my younger sister is analyzing these kinds of things, therefore I am going to convey her. Jerry Bob Herstein

  • izle Posted January 17, 2021 9:24 pm

    Very informative post. Much thanks again. Really Great. Suzi Roth Wahl

  • filmi full izle Posted January 18, 2021 1:20 am

    You made some decent points there. I did a search on the issue and found most guys will go along with with your site. Gnni Robers Dawes

  • sex tube Posted January 21, 2021 8:11 pm

    Excellent post! We are linking to this great post on our site. Keep up the great writing. Babara Early Geof

  • online Posted January 29, 2021 9:17 pm

    I like this web site very much so much superb info . Dita Harwilll Alton

  • netflix Posted January 30, 2021 7:06 am

    A person essentially lend a hand to make seriously articles I might state. This is the first time I frequented your website page and so far? I amazed with the research you made to make this particular put up extraordinary. Excellent job! Aleta Caesar Morrissey

  • bollywood Posted January 30, 2021 9:10 am

    Thank you for this entry, it has been totally useful to me! Way simpler than anything else out there. Letti Krishna Omarr

  • watch Posted January 30, 2021 6:48 pm

    Everything is very open with a really clear explanation of the challenges. It was definitely informative. Your site is very useful. Thanks for sharing! Sacha Isa Courtland

  • movies Posted January 31, 2021 3:11 am

    I could not refrain from commenting. Exceptionally well written! Marion Chaim Delmor

  • tek parca Posted February 1, 2021 9:28 am

    Lovely blog! I am loving it!! Will be back later to read some more. I am bookmarking your feeds also Hedvige Otho Thora

  • dublaj Posted February 7, 2021 7:10 pm

    Hello There. I discovered your blog the usage of msn. That is an extremely neatly written article. Mahala Jefferey Wilhelm

  • 720p Posted February 7, 2021 8:36 pm

    I definitely wanted to compose a brief remark to thank you for all the wonderful concepts you are sharing here. My rather long internet look up has at the end been honored with high-quality strategies to go over with my friends. I would repeat that most of us visitors are undeniably fortunate to exist in a perfect site with many brilliant people with insightful tips. I feel extremely happy to have discovered the webpage and look forward to tons of more fun times reading here. Thanks a lot again for a lot of things. Kameko Washington Ric

  • torrent Posted February 8, 2021 4:06 am

    This is a very exciting post. Smother them coming. Dee Kerwin Eadith

  • watch Posted February 8, 2021 6:34 am

    I love looking through an article that can make people think. Also, thank you for allowing for me to comment! Veradis Barr Missi

  • anime Posted February 8, 2021 10:52 am

    You ought to be a part of a contest for one of the most useful websites on the internet. I am going to highly recommend this blog! Gerianna Felipe Casey

  • diziler Posted February 9, 2021 2:18 pm

    Soy alexandra quiero poner una tienda y queria saber como hacer los pedidos y ver algun catalago Jackquelin Dewain Tomkins

  • turkce Posted February 13, 2021 2:00 pm

    This is a really good tip especially to those new to the blogosphere. Jammie Tristam Kirstyn

  • turkce Posted February 13, 2021 6:04 pm

    I was just looking for this info for some time. After 6 hours of continuous Googleing, at last I got it in your website. I wonder what is the lack of Google strategy that do not rank this kind of informative sites in top of the list. Generally the top sites are full of garbage. Marget Tirrell Winton

  • turkce Posted February 13, 2021 10:46 pm

    Wow, marvelous blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your web site is wonderful, as well as the content! Ethel Orion Lindeberg

  • turkce Posted February 13, 2021 11:57 pm

    The most common recommendation is to stick with whole foods, rather than processed ones. Leeanne Malvin Bounds

  • turkce Posted February 14, 2021 3:08 am

    I am so happy, my dear friend, so absorbed in the exquisite sense of mere tranquil existence, that I neglect my talents. I should be incapable of drawing a single stroke at the present moment; and yet I feel that I never was a greater artist than now. Henrietta Reuben Freida

  • turkce Posted February 14, 2021 5:51 am

    Every weekend i used to pay a visit this web site, as i want enjoyment, as this this web page conations truly nice funny data too. Marylynne Maurice Toth

  • turkce Posted February 14, 2021 9:31 am

    Really enjoyed this article post. Really looking forward to read more. Want more. Bernadene Gerrard Monjan

  • turkce Posted February 14, 2021 3:01 pm

    Pretty! This was an extremely wonderful post. Thanks for providing this info. Damita Merrel Peper

  • turkce Posted February 14, 2021 4:24 pm

    Thanks very much Russell. I appreciate the compliments. Eugenia Em Trumaine

  • turkce Posted February 14, 2021 5:58 pm

    Wow, wonderful blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your web site is magnificent, let alone the content! Dierdre Kane Weiman

  • turkce Posted February 15, 2021 6:33 am

    you could have an amazing weblog right here! would you prefer to make some invite posts on my weblog? Evita Arch Goodard

  • turkce Posted February 15, 2021 8:52 am

    Thanks so much for the post. Really thank you! Great. Pavia Filip Doralia

  • turkce Posted February 15, 2021 10:07 am

    Very neat blog post. Really looking forward to read more. Want more. Yetta Alon Roehm

  • turkce Posted February 15, 2021 1:14 pm

    I quite like looking through a post that can make men and women think. Also, many thanks for allowing me to comment! Kara-Lynn Gunar Plossl

  • turkce Posted February 15, 2021 2:47 pm

    Wow, this post is fastidious, my sister is analyzing these kinds of things, so I am going to tell her.| Sheeree Theobald Theodoric

  • turkce Posted February 15, 2021 4:42 pm

    I take pleasure in, lead to I discovered exactly what I was taking a look for. You have ended my four day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye Nanci Gauthier Alyssa

  • erotik Posted February 16, 2021 12:55 pm

    Many thanks for this article. I would also like to talk about the fact that it can often be hard if you find yourself in school and just starting out to initiate a long credit standing. There are many pupils who are merely trying to pull through and have a long or good credit history can often be a difficult element to have. Alida Rutledge Fakieh

  • turkce Posted February 16, 2021 7:53 pm

    Super-Duper website! I am loving it!! Will be back later to read some more. I am bookmarking your feeds also. Missy Agustin Jovita

  • erotik Posted February 17, 2021 6:44 pm

    whoah this weblog is excellent i love studying your posts. Stay up the great work! You recognize, a lot of persons are looking around for this information, you can help them greatly. | Eleni Gaelan Brennan

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *