AirTalk for February 18, 2014

Investigative journalist Christopher Leonard looks into America’s “meat racket”

Christopher Leonard's new book “The Meat Racket: The Secret Takeover of America’s Food Business” (Simon & Schuster, 2014),

In a new book about the takeover of the American meat industry by a few large companies, investigative journalist and New America Foundation fellow Christopher Leonard hones in on Tyson Foods.

Tyson is the biggest of the U.S.’s meat giants, bringing in $28 billion in annual sales and $780 million in profits. The company’s model of vertical integration and farmer control helped it take over the chicken and hog industries and now threatens the cattle business, even as independent farmers hold onto their independence.

How has the “chickenization” of American farming changed the industry? Are Tyson’s cost-cutting methods helpful to consumers, or harmful to the meat business? What does the future hold for meat?  

Guest: 

Christopher Leonard, author of “The Meat Racket: The Secret Takeover of America’s Food Business” (Simon & Schuster, 2014), and former national agribusiness reporter for the Associated Press


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