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According to this CNN Money report from last year, Cargill, the manufacturer of the ground beef that partially paralyzed the dance instructor profiled in Sunday’s New York Times, is the second largest privately held company in the country. Fortune magazine estimates that Cargill’s 2007 revenues were $88 billion. The company’s third quarter net earnings in 2008 were more than $1 billion.

And yet according to the Times‘ story, Cargill, despite its wealth, can’t seem to follow its own safety practices, doesn’t want to test its suppliers’ meat before grinding, and seems to enjoy some measure of protection from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.