Where have you gone, Upton Sinclair?

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Policy wonks, journalists, and consumer activists all hail Upton Sinclair as their own hero and role model since his muckraking expose of the American meat-packing industry, “The Jungle.” But how much has really changed since the inspirational (if nauseating) book was published 94 years ago?

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Not much, according to the GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY PROJECT’s new report, which slams new federal rules on meat inspection implemented last year by the Clinton administration. The new guidelines set up what amounts to an honor system, moving accountability for meat safety out of government inspectors’ hands and to the meat-processing companies themselves. Now, according to a press release from PUBLIC CITIZEN and the GAP, agribusiness is pushing to privatize meat inspection entirely, with the presumption (on which all privatization theories usually rest) that private monitoring will work because what’s good for the consumer is good for business.

But that’s just not true: Inspectors interviewed for the report said they allow more meat contaminated with vomit and feces to pass by under the new dictates than they had under the previous guidelines, and that company-employed inspectors were sometimes threatened with firing if they acted on violations which could expose the company to legal problems.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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