System Failure: Millions of Pounds of U.S. Meat Left Uninspected

A new multimillion-dollar computer system that is supposed to facilitate meat inspection at the nation's 6,500 meatpacking and processing plants crashed for two full days last month, potentially placing millions of Americans at risk.

This is not the first time the updated system, which is designed to test millions of pounds of meat for E. coli, salmonella and other pathogens, has gone on the fritz. A March report by the Agriculture Department's inspector general found problems with meat sampling at 18 plants. At one plant in particular, auditors discovered that over 50 million pounds of beef were not sampled for E. coli over a five-month period.

While some in the agricultural industry are trying to downplay the computer failure, Congresswoman Rosa L. DeLauro is not persuaded. Of problems she describes as "staggering," she remarked: "Data errors that threaten the health of Americans are unacceptable."

There's no doubt that meat production is a dirty business. Mercy For Animals has conducted over 20 undercover investigations inside factory farms and slaughterhouses, documenting not only filthy conditions but appalling animal abuse.

By choosing to leave animals off your plate, you can eliminate your contact with potentially tainted meat and also help reduce animal suffering. For information on transitioning to a delicious plant-based diet, visit