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Cover story

Food facts
  • Poultry processing has almost doubled the injury and illness rate in U.S. workplaces, with a worse injury rate than trades like coal mining and construction.
  • Meatpacking plants, at 26.7 per 100 employees, had the highest nonfatal injury and illness rates among industries in the year 2000.
  • After reports about the spread of mad cow disease in Europe, six out of 10 Americans polled said they were concerned that the disease may affect beef here. Nearly 20 percent of Americans reduced their beef consumption at that time.
  • As much as 8 percent of the weight of supermarket chicken is not meat, but a “fecal soup” from water used in processing chickens into meat. If the U.S. Department of Agriculture were to repeal the 8 percent rule, Tyson Chicken alone would lose about $40 million in annual gross profits.
  • The creation of a single hamburger patty (often containing the flesh of up to 100 different cows) uses enough fossil fuel to power a car 20 miles and enough water for 17 warm showers.
  • If water used by the meat industry were not subsidized by taxpayers, common hamburger meat would cost $35 a pound.
  • Sixty-one percent of U.S. adults and 20 percent of U.S. children are overweight.
  • One-fourth of Americans eat a fast food meal at least once a day.
  • One out of every nine health care dollars in the United States is spent on conditions related to excess weight.

National Catholic Reporter, May 24, 2002