Dozens of U.S. Catholic church leaders grant dispensations to Lent-observing church members to eat beef this St. Patrick's Day. Fred Katayama reports.
American Catholics can freely chow down corned beef on St. Patrick's Day, even though it falls on a Friday this year during Lent. The dispensation came from dioceses around the country. And it made a lot of people happy, including the meat industry. St. Patrick's Day celebrates Irish culture, complete with a family meal of corned beef and cabbage. It's also one of the top holidays for beef consumption in the United States, according to the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. Sales of corned beef jump from less than one percent during the rest of the year to nine percent in March. The largest U.S corned beef producer, Colorado Premium, says it sells about 28 million pounds on St. Patrick's Day. The U.S. meat industry hopes such volume will help offset the tight margins it faces.