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Making a Racket: Christopher Leonard Goes Behind the Scenes in the American Meat Industry

Factory farmed chickens have it bad, but in Christopher Leonard’s new meat industry exposé The Meat Racket, it’s the farmers who get plucked. Leonard, a former agribusiness reporter for the Associated Press and now a fellow at the New America Foundation, subtitled his book The Secret Takeover of America’s Food Business, and he’s not kidding about the “secret” part. When Leonard set out to investigate how four huge companies came to more or less dictate the state of our meat supply, he ran into balky bureaucrats and fearful farmers. Read more

Two-Thirds of Chicken Tested Harbor Dangerous Bacteria

Consumer Reports’ latest test of fresh, whole broilers bought in 22 states reveals that two-thirds of birds tested harbored salmonella and/or campylobacter, the leading bacterial causes of food-borne disease. The report reveals that organic “air-chilled” broilers were among the cleanest and that Perdue was found to be the cleanest of the brand-name chicken. Tyson and Foster Farms chickens were found to be the most contaminated. The report is available, free online (note, you have to click through the side bars to the left of the story) and in the January 2010 issue of the magazine. Read more

Oprah Gives Out Free KFC in Most Hypocritical Move Yet

Perhaps it was all just too much, too kind and too ahead of the curve, all that work she had done recently to expose what truly goes on for chickens and other animals in the factory farm setting. Because now Oprah has decided to bolster one of America’s worst offenders when it comes to support for factory farming, KFC, by giving away two pieces of chicken to every human in America.

It may seem harmless: a mass market “they want it, so I’m giving it to them” kind of campaign. But because Oprah has marketed herself as one who cares about animals, even getting a “Person of the Year” award last year from PETA, this KFC campaign is a serious disappointment to say the least. Read more