Minnesota beef producers can begin using radiation to kill bacteria and extend the shelf life of everything from hamburger to filet mignon. But a number of scientists, scrappy idealists, and small farmers still say it's not a good idea.
For the rich and educated there will be cows, raised organically by small farmers getting paid a reasonable price for maintaining high standards of cleanliness, which will fetch a premium price--$8 burgers clean as a new Rolex. Costly branded premium grocers like Mississippi Market will be the only place where educated consumers will be assured of getting clean food, since they adhere to private standards vastly higher than those the FDA enforces.
Whichever group of food experts you choose to believe, whether you think meat irradiation is the new DDT or the new chlorine-in-the-water, it's clear that for us as a society, meat irradiation is the next cynical step toward a separate and unequal food supply.