Ever since I took my Beef 101 class last spring and then subsequently read Michael Pollan's Omivore's Dilemma, I've had mixed feelings about the meat industry and the USDA. On one hand, I walked away from my experience at the UGA/GA Beef Council Beef 101 class utterly convinced that beef can be harvesting in a safe and efficient manner when there are skilled and caring people in charge. However, after reading Pollan's book as well as several other respected writers, I am convinced that our CAFO beef/pork/chicken farms are not the way to be doing business. Also, I am completely convinced that the USDA is completely underfunded, understaffed, and presents a great danger in its current capacity. People are walking around every day believing that the government is doing a good job protecting their food supply. The reality is quite different. I strongly recommend reading this article that traces the path of one eColi contaminated patty and its devistating effects on a young 22 year old woman. This is not a plea from the BBQgeek to embrace vegetarianism. They will have to pry my steak from my cold, dead hands before I convert to a non-meat diet. However, I do want to call to attention this complex interplay of a demand for inexpensive meat, the need to make money, gov't lobbying, and politics that has held our food supply in danger for many years.