The main features of the beef industry in the United States are those that surround the issue that employers want the biggest profit possible, the workers, usually immigrants, want the work and the money that comes with it, while the end customer wants cheap products in the stores. This, combined with an immigration policy that is not consistent, allowed a situation like the one in Postville to develop, whereby cheap labor was used and exploited, that may yet occur in other areas.

The industrial processing of beef has affected many towns in the American Midwest, especially Postville, in a positive as well as a negative way. Before the Immigration raid on the Agriprocessors meatpacking factory, the town was coping well with its economic development and cultural diversity. However after the raid, and the population has shrunk by forty percent, homeowners are experiencing negative equity in their homes, a situation which is sadly repeated in many small towns across the area. In order to prevent this happening in the future an overhaul of immigration, employment and humane standards is needed.

Some connections between American food culture and social and economic values and the meatpacking industry are that they are linked through the supply and demand of the workforce and products. The American food production markets demand is massive however the supply of labor to produce these goods has been affected by social and economic reasons since the 1980s. The need to produce enough to meet demand in a formerly unionized factory, with no benefits attracted a workforce comprising of immigrants willing to do the work for low pay, long hours and no benefits. American food culture, the fast food nation, and portion size dictate that this market always has high demand, and therefore creates pressure on the manufacturers to deliver a cheap solution to the consumer.


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