"In a time without radio, TV, movies, or the internet - newspapers and reading were still the way that people circulated knowledge, learned about broader national issues, and shared ideas with each other across local and state lines. Sinclair's impact on the U.S. - through a literary/historical expose such as this - would have its equivalent in a 21st century viral internet campaign today." - interview with Professor Lori Flores
"Meat packing is the most dangerous factory job in America,"
- Lance Compa, author of the Human Rights report pertaining to meat packing in America.
"Today, America's meat industry is the nation's largest agricultural sector and sales of meat and poultry exceed $100 billion a year in the U.S. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the animal slaughtering and processing industry employed a total of 506,000 people at the close of 2005. The average earnings of production workers that year was $11.47 an hour, about 30 percent less than the average wage for all manufacturing jobs in the U.S. According to REAP, a union-affiliated group, union membership among meat packing employees has plunged from 80 percent in 1980 to less than 50 percent today." -PBS.org
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Despite Upton Sinclair's grueling efforts for reform, and even the many laws passed after the publishing of the novel, issues still remain in not only the meat packing industry but the food industry overall in America. In 2004, the Human Rights Watch even wrote a report on the conditions inside U.S. meat packing plants called "Blood, Sweat, and Fear." This was the first time that the Human Rights Foundation had ever criticized a single U.S. industry. The timeline above includes dates and recent newspaper headlines regarding issues of concern in the food industry throughout the United States. Although The Jungle brought about extensive food regulation and safety laws, many sanitary problems and outbreaks, such as E.coli and salmonella still occur. This causes one to question the effectiveness of the regulations in place today. Is this due to a lack of awareness from the public of the United States? Is another Upton Sinclair needed to open the eyes of the people of the United States and bring them back to their senses in order to insure their health and safety?