It’s the Lies About Beef that are the Slime… Course In the End, Isn’t the Lies About Almost Everything (from the Government and the media) that is the Problem? And Why It Is So Hard to Decide…
Two Views… On the Slime
It’s the Lies About Beef that are the Slime
By Alan Caruba
I am subject to various enthusiasms and, in 2008, I wrote a series about beef and the vast network of phony consumer advocates, vegetarian types, animal rights groups and headline chasing media folks who love a good scare campaign, all trying to convince Americans that beef was bad for them.
Today, it is a smear campaign about a type of meat promoted in the media as “pink slime.” Typically, it is a pack of lies and it’s going to cost some folks their jobs and drive up the cost of beef if allowed to go unchallenged.
What is being demonized in this 21st century reincarnation of the 1989 Alar apple scare is finely textured, 95% lean beef. It is composed of small parts of beef that are still available for use after the cuts with which we are more accustomed, like sirloin, brisket, top round, flank, porterhouse, and some forty other selections, are taken.
This lean beef is routinely added to lower quality hamburger to increase its protein content and its production has long been approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It actually improves the nutritional quality of a lot of cheaper hamburger.
While the media may not approve of this beef, plenty of others do. A March 29 article in The Wall Street Journal reported that after being hammered in the media for weeks, the lean beef, “is getting support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the governors of five states, who argue it has been unfairly labeled and is actually a safe, low-cost way to make ground beef leaner.”
Other supporters include food safety activists like Nancy Donley, who lost her son, Alex, to e.coli and now advocates for tougher food safety laws to prevent similar deaths. The founder of Safe Tables Our Priority (STOP), Donley wrote in the March 17 edition of Food Safety News about her experience learning more about the modern American meat industry and her tour of a Beef Products, Inc. (BPI) plant which produces the lean beef now under attack.
“I got to know the owners, Eldon and Regina Roth,” wrote Donley, “and was impressed by their complete commitment to the safety and wholesomeness of the meat products they produced. I was also impressed by the food safety culture they instilled throughout their company.”
The company and its owners were also the subject of a June 12, 2008 Washington Post article titled “Engineering a Safer Burger.” In profiling Eldon Roth, the Post noted that Roth, “discovered his process for separating meat from fat had the unintended effect of making the lean beef more alkaline and therefore less conducive to bacteria.
The Post further reported that Roth and his staff, “began working with ammonium hydroxide, a food additive already approved by federal regulators for use in processing cheese, chocolate and soda. It also exists naturally in beef. By increasing the level of it in beef, Roth hoped to reduce its acidity and create less hospitable conditions for bacteria.”
It worked! Exposing the meat to a tiny amount of ammonium hydroxide gas during processing elevates its pH and increases food safety. There are no reports of illness related to the consumption of the company’s finely textured lean beef.
However, if there is one thing reporters love to use to scare people it is the name of any chemical. Thus, media coverage against this beef hypes ammonium hydroxide, ignoring the fact it that exists naturally in beef. It exists in many of the fruits and vegetables one might harvest from an organic garden. Furthermore, our bodies safely produce ammonia.
That hasn’t stopped media outlets like ABC News and others from reporting scary stories about the product and smearing BPI. In a March 23 opinion posted on the Fox News Forum, Dan Gainor, vice president of business and culture for the Media Research Center, summed up the latest scare campaign, writing “TV news loves a health scare. Think deadly Tylenol. Killer tomatoes. Mad Cow disease. Alar in apples, and lots more.”
Like the Alar apple scare this is a totally invented media scare. It’s the way, as Gainor wrote “Slimy journalists” use these stories as “a path to winning journalistic awards—facts be damned.” It’s also why this card-carrying member of the Society of Professional Journalists since the 1970s keeps exposing this shoddy journalism and the groups that generate it for their own selfish agendas.
Have a hamburger. Have a steak. Eat beef. Don’t run scared every time some so-called journalist exploits your lack of knowledge of where beef comes from, how it is processed, and why millions of pounds of it are eaten with pleasure and the knowledge that it is the safest found anywhere in the world.
© Alan Caruba, 2012
Image Credit: Brian Yarvin/Getty Images
Pink slime factories shuttered after massive public backlash
by: Jonathan Benson
(NaturalNews) For several decades now, the conventional beef industry has secretly been lacing ground beef products with an industrial, ammonia-laced byproduct known as “pink slime,” a disturbing fact that recently came to the forefront of national attention after Food Network chef Jamie Oliver first drew attention to its existence. And consumer backlash has been so strong ever since that a number of supermarket chains, restaurants, and even schools have decided to stop supplying it, which has caused its primary producer, Beef Products Inc. (BPI), to close three of its four manufacturing plants.
USA Today and others are reporting that Dakota Dunes, South Dakota-based BPI is temporarily closing its Waterloo, Iowa; Garden City, Kansas; and Amarillo, Texas plants for an indefinite period of time as a result of widespread consumer rejection of pink slime products. Workers at these plants will continue to receive pay and benefits for the next 60 days, but it is unclear what will happen after these next two months expire, should the plants continue to remain closed.
Meanwhile, BPI is launching an aggressive public relations campaign to fight back against its critics, which includes claiming that pink slime is “100 percent beef,” and that it is a highly-nutritious and safe product. And many in the media are jumping onboard this propaganda bandwagon by spinning the situation back against consumers, who are technically victims that have been been duped all these years into buying ground beef products that were secretly adulterated with pink slime.
In case you missed the original story, pink slime, which is officially known as “lean finely textured beef,” is basically a low-cost ground beef filler composed of beef scraps that are mashed, processed with a chemical ammonia solution, and turned into an unappetizing pink paste, the pictures of which have circulated the internet in recent months
This pink slime has been added to roughly 70 percent of all ground beef products since the 1990s, but few were aware of it. Pink slime is obviously not labeled on ground beef packages, and the only way consumers can know for sure that they are not consuming it is to buy local or organic ground beef, or to watch the beef being ground fresh before buying it.
BPI, mainstream media launch attack on consumers for rejecting pink slime
It is abundantly clear that the vast majority of American consumers are not interested in feeding their children a highly-processed additive that has been treated with toxic ammonia, which is why the product is being pulled from grocery store shelves, restaurant menus, and schools all across the country. But BPI is not going down without a fight, as it is launching a campaign that basically insults the intelligence of Americans by claiming that pink slime is no different from real beef.
But according to former U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientist Gerald Zirnstein, pink slime is not actually meat, nor is it as nutritious as meat, a sentiment to which his former colleague Carl Custer also agrees. And Kit Foshee, a former executive at BPI, appears to hold the same view, having told ABC News that pink slime is processed from fat and cuts that would otherwise not ever be used as food.
“Microbiologically safe and nutritionally complete are two different issues,” said Custer to ABC News, referring to BPI’s claim that pink slime contains little fat and is pathogen-free. “It may be pink [but], nutritionally, it is not equivalent to whole-muscle tissue” (http://abcnews.go.com).
Turkey & Cheese? No. Pink slime? Yes!
The lunch police have made headlines recently, particularly when one school official actually confiscated a packed lunch they deemed unhealthy. But at the same time, the FDA has approved wide usage of a food substance called ‘pink slime’ that, as the name suggests, is allegedly not healthy. Glenn, Pat & Stu talk processed foods: as bad as people say? WATCH
Between the hormones given the cattle and the pink slime, most countries will not import or eat American beef… Why are we???
My final vote is still out on the pink slime…partly because I respect Alan Caruba, although all in all it doesn’t sound like a good thing, but the hormones are definitely something to be concerned about… as well as GMO foods of all kinds. I’ll keep doing some research on the so-called slime.. but in the meantime, you be the judge…
(However in the meantime, as much as possible I will be buying locally raised and butchered meats (from the butcher) and organic cuts from known sources as much as possible. We had friends whose family are butchers and they are very negative about the meat glue and meat slime) M~