Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Meat Market is a Dangerous Place

So, the title of this post is a two-pronged observation on both the state of the dating scene in Western culture and the prevalence of disgusting disease in the beef industry. I recently read two articles on the New York Times website that didn't appear to be interrelated at first, but upon further inspection I realized that they actually encompass the same subject. So let's look at the articles.

The Dating Game, Ivied and Pedigreed

This article describes a new trend that's apparently cropping up in the urban centers of our nation. It's a business/personal networking group aimed at the "Ivy Plus" crowd- people that went to Ivy League colleges, as well as lesser schools with top programs in certain fields, such as law and medicine. According to the founder of the group(s), it's a great way to meet people with similar interests as you.
“You can say: ‘Hi James, you went to Harvard? My brother went there.’ Or, ‘You went to Dartmouth? I remember when we used to sail there and the awesome Dartmouth regatta parties.’"

I remember the awesome regatta parties we had at the University of North Texas. Man, we partied like crazy at those regatta parties. We'd put on our blue blazers with gold buttons, white canvas shoes, khaki pants, and get all kinds of rowdy as we talked about what kind of knots best secure a line to an anchor or what cast member of Gilligan's Island we were most like. Ok, not really. It seems to me that this is a great way of pointing out to other people that you spent a lot of money at a college without actually proving that it made you any more interesting or intelligent. In reality, I've known some brilliant people to come out of Ivy League schools, and I've known some real turds as well. I guess what I'm getting at is that pedigree doesn't really mean much to me and it's hard for me to understand why it's important to other people, but I guess that doesn't really matter.
“If you wanted to describe these schools, these are all highly selective, academically rigorous institutions,” she said, although social reputations also come into play. “The Duke people are so much fun. There’s just some schools you want to make sure you include.”

Duke has around 14,000 students. It's strange to me that one can make a generalization so broad based on something as arbitrary as an academic institution. I guess I still have a lot to learn about the culture of class. In the meantime, enjoy reminiscing about the time those guys from Dartmouth vomited in the coat check room at that regatta blast back in 2007.

The second article I read, which was much less mysterious to me, was about the state of safety in the American meat industry. According to this piece, basically it's terrifying.

E. Coli Path Shows Flaws in Meat Inspection

According to this article, which revealed a number of interesting things, there are serious issues in the meat industry with quality control. Ground beef is a gamble, simply put. Because not every company tests its meat products for E. Coli, it's hard to determine whether or not a frozen beef patty (which can contain cow parts from as many as 1000 different cows and several countries) is safe to eat. Surprisingly, Costco seems to be one of the only major distributors of meat that actually checks its meat for e. coli prior to grinding. I also found it interesting to discover that Cargill is America's largest private company.

Many big slaughterhouses will sell only to grinders who agree not to test their shipments for E. coli, according to officials at two large grinding companies. Slaughterhouses fear that one grinder’s discovery of E. coli will set off a recall of ingredients they sold to others.

Uh, yeah. That kind of thing should set off a recall. That's the purpose of a recall- to take defective and dangerous products off the market. Somehow I just can't get behind the sentiment expressed by the big slaughterhouses that a little e. coli isn't anything to raise a fuss about. So the moral of the story is, eat ground beef at your own risk.


Diana Davis said...

Ok, at first I thought you made up that Dartmouth regatta party quote. Wow. I think North Texas should seriously consider adopting that tradition.

Nick said...

alas my East Coast undergrad is too proletariat for them...