Where have you gone, Upton Sinclair?

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


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?

Recent Must Reads

9/16 – That sinking feeling

9/15 – Fighting jelly with jelly

9/14 – Marx as globalization prophet

9/13 – Patient rights, nurse wrongs

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.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate