Why People Shoplift Meat

The Food Marketing Institute issued a report this month concluding that meat (followed closely by analgesics) is the most often shoplifted item. Now Slate has a piece that endeavors to explain the meat-lifting phenomenon:

    Meat’s dubious triumph is due in part to a law enforcement crackdown on methamphetamine use. Meat used to be the shoplifting runner-up to health-and-beauty-care items, a category that includes cough medicines containing pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in home-cooked meth. In 2003, for example, a quarter of shoplifted products were HBCs, while meat took second place at 16 percent. But states began passing laws that require stores to move medicines containing pseudoephedrine behind secure counters. That was enough to cut the pinching of HBCs, which fell by 11 percent between 2003 and 2005.

The drop in HBC’s has shoved meat-lifting into the spotlight. Meat-lifters love “luxury” cuts like rib eyes, filet mignon and anything that says “Certified Angus Beef.” Crime never tasted so good. —MEGHANN MARCO

The Purloined Sirloin [Slate]