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Meatpacking refers to the process by which goats, cattle, sheep, and hogs are slaughtered and packing them for transportation and sale. The meat industry in the United States is the largest agricultural-based industry and produces about 40 billion pounds of meat every year. The methods used to preserve meat are usually refrigeration, canning, and also smoking.
The change in consumer habits for meat is the main determinant of the future of this industry.
Meat Consumption in the United States and the World
Meat is the most consumed food worldwide, but its consumption has been affected over the times in the U.S and the world market in general. The fear of the E.coli bacteria and hysteria, which caused several deaths and heavy losses in the meatpacking industry, led to the retrenchment of several employees in the meatpacking industries following the closure of many small, poor functioning meatpacking industries in the United States.
The meatpacking industries in the U.S employ a lot of people, most of them being illegal immigrants from Bosnia, Vietnam, and even Sudan who provide ready cheap labor under poor working conditions and poor payment. This raises negative publicity from the local and foreign consumers over the hygiene and safety of the meat, which in turn affects the market and meat consumption as well.
Future of the Meatpacking Industries in the U.S
Since the Meatpacking industries in the U.S offers the greatest number of employment, about 520000 people, there is a need to improve the quality of production as well as the volume to cater to the available ready market; the United States is the major meat exporter in the world with the main Importers being Canada, Japan, and Mexico. The government should give grants to these industries in order to be able to increase production and meet the demand.
Meatpacking and food processing industries are very sensitive to the health of the people and therefore should ensure high standards of hygiene. The government should give grants to these industries so that they can employ highly skilled personnel. The meatpacking industries need improved meat inspection methods that were introduced in 2000, which are capable of detecting even invisible pathogens. They also require money to advertise, package meat well, and carry out consumer education programs aimed at promoting safe meat handling practices to reduce cases of E.coli bacteria, which is a great threat to the meatpacking industries in the United States.
The meatpacking industries in the U.S operate under thin margins because they are expected to keep low costs and still maintain a high volume of production. The government should help in finding them to be able to meet these targets.
The meatpacking industry deserves a million-dollar grant to be able to overcome all the challenges facing it. By taking care of its financial problems, there is no doubt that this industry will give the best meat in the world and earn America a lot of revenue.
The government should also look at the solution to expand their market to the European Union, which put a ban on meat from the U.S for fear of hormone-treated meat.
Ollson, K. The shame of meatpacking, New York: Macmillan Company, 2002.