To the victor go the spoils, the saying goes. And so on Tuesday Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak took delivery of 10 pounds of hamburger from Jim Schmitt, mayor of Green Bay, Wisc., in fulfillment of the friendly wager they made on the Vikings-Packers football game. But the Vikings’ win wasn’t the only news since the mayors made their bet. On the day between the bet and the game, the New York Times published an expose on the serious health hazards of hamburger meat, focusing on a Minnesota victim and corporation and a processor in Wisconsin.
The Times article probed the source of hamburger meat that sickened Stephanie Smith of Cold Spring, Minn., in 2007, sending her into a medically-induced coma and eventual paralysis from which she is still trying to recover.
The meat was produced by the Minnesota-based Cargill, under its “American Chef” label. It was processed from sources around the country and hemisphere at Cargill’s plant in Butler, Wis.
Rybak’s reward for the Vikings’ 30-23 victory at Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome: “10 lbs. of All-American Hamburgers, Seroogy’s Chocolate, and Wisconsin-made cheese,” according to his office.
The Times article didn’t mention “All-American Hamburgers” and there is no reason to suspect that Green Bay’s gift is any different from any other hamburger – besides, as its name suggests, being made from exclusively domestic sources.
“I want to thank Mayor Schmitt for giving us a taste of Wisconsin in addition to the delicious taste of victory we’re still savoring,” Rybak said in a statement, adding that the hamburger and other booty would be donated to Sharing and Caring Hands, a local charity that serves needy individuals and families.
Processed meat also hung in the balance with a separate wager between the states’ governors: Wisconsin sausage versus Minnesota pork.