PRIME RIP by Wayne & George Schultz Swanson


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A hyperbolic report on dirty doings in the meat marketplace. Following up a 60 Minutes probe, attorney Schultz and investigative reporter Swanson tackled the entire meat industry and found widespread abuses which, they claim, combine to push up meat prices as much as 20 percent. Using a combination of personal testimony, court records, and government documents, the authors inveigh against the declining quality of meat and describe numerous infractions--meat-grading scandals, corruption in packing houses, the bribing of USDA inspectors. We hear about whistleblower John Coplin's lifelong battle to root out corruption in the USDA (and payoffs within the meat industry), and the attempts of former Agriculture Asst. Secretary Carol Foreman to have chemicals, pesticides, and antibiotics eliminated from meat. There's criticism of the meat-pricing system and a look at consumer ripoffs by unscrupulous supermarkets. But in the rundown of wrongs, there's no discrimination--nothing right. We hear that the giant packers are gaining control of the industry and there will soon be ""needlessly differentiated national-brand marketing of fresh meat,"" extra-costly because of the expense of advertising it; barely 20 pages later, however, the authors are lamenting a supermarket chain's fraudulent labeling of meat: ""Fresh meat, with no brand name and no standard packaging direct from the factory, is easy to tamper with."" However justified the outrage, the book doesn't do much to put affairs in order.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1981
Publisher: Prentice-Hall