The Jungle – by Upton Sinclair

Upon first reading Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle,” I was quite disturbed to see what was going on with the meat packing industry. It was disgusting and unbelievable that there were no sanitation rules and regulations required during this time. I am glad that Sinclair was able to bring this problem to

everyone’s attention. The fact that diseased animals were knowingly accepted truly disturbed me, “…where men welcomed tuberculosis in the cattle they were feeding, because it made them fatten more quickly.”

I don’t understand how the health and well being of the consumer and the workers were not a concern. TB was a dangerous and deadly disease at that time and was not easily cured; I am sickened to know the meat industry played a role in the deaths by TB. “These rats were a nuisance and the packers would out poison they would die, and then the rats, bread and meat would go in the hoppers together.” The fact that consumers had no idea they were purchasing rat remains, rats, and poison to feed their family is ridiculous. This place was disgusting. I’m surprised more people weren’t killed from the food. The workers I think bothered me a lot, it seemed they were all diseased or sick. Who would want someone like this handling their food with no protection?? This is disgusting! “…the workers in each of them had their own peculiar disease…” The fact the workers were all sick made no sense to me Congress should have been on top of this, considering the fact that these are the people handling our food.

Jurgis’ experience at this time showed the American Culture to be on of a third world culture. It seemed as if we had no morals to tolerate such behavior from the meat packing industry. I am aware that it was not at first brought to the President and Congress’ attention but it should have been something that was regulated anyway. I feel Jurgis’ experience were very significant to the development of our new regulations. In Sinclair’s book he opened our eyes to the unseen world of the meat packing industry and helped develop many sanitation rules.

After reading Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle” President Roosevelt sent two agents to Chicago to investigate, and when they arrived back they confirmed Sinclair’s story. Roosevelt and Congress then created the meat inspection act of 1906. This law required federal inspection of meats and gave the agriculture department the right to enforce sanitation standards in processing plants. Along with this, the Pure Food and Drug Act was also enacted on the same day.