Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Activism works: ‘pink slime’ manufacturer files for bankruptcy

credit: Reuters/Nati Harnik/Pool
Madison Ruppert, Contributor
Activist Post

AFA Foods, a leading American processor of ground beef, has filed for bankruptcy, citing the wave of negative media coverage surrounding their so-called “pink slime” product.

The huge amount of media coverage that has recently been devoted to the Boneless Lean Beef Trimmings (BLBT), better known as “pink slime,” can be chalked up almost entirely to the attention of countless activists across the United States.

The USDA was a major purchaser of the pink slime product, recently purchasing some seven million pounds of the highly unappetizing product.

This pushed over 250,000 Americans to sign a petition online which demanded a complete stop to the use of pink slime in school food.

The USDA’s response was especially lackluster given the fact that even fast food chains who are infamous for using incredibly unhealthy products renounced the product.

This is hardly surprising given the fact that supposed regulatory bodies are increasingly run by those who they are supposed to regulate as evidenced by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) refusing to ban Bisphenol-A (BPA) as well as spying on the emails of employees who expose the agency’s malfeasance.

AFA Foods announced that they had to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection due to “recent changes in the market for its ground beef products and the impact of media coverage related to Boneless Lean Beef Trimmings (BLBT).”

Of course, these “recent changes in the market” are due to the negative publicity and public outcry that has ensued from the exposure of these disgusting products.

AFA Foods, run out of King of Prussia Pennsylvania, dubs itself one of the nation’s largest ground beef processors. They claim to produce over 700 million pounds every year, most of which goes to food service companies.

“The best way to preserve value for its stakeholders is through an orderly sale of some or all of its assets,” AFA Foods said in a statement explaining the rationale behind their decision.

BLBT, better known as pink slime for its less-than-appetizing appearance, is produced from the beef trimmings which would otherwise be used in food for animal consumption as well as cooking oil.

These trimmings, which used to be widely regarded as waste products, are treated with ammonia in an effort to kill the E. coli bacteria and then processed to be served to humans.

The product, which looks a bit like strawberry-flavored soft serve ice cream, is usually added to ground meat products, like hamburgers, as an extremely low-cost filler.

The loud public outcry over pink slime pushed the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to state in mid-March that they would leave it up to individual schools to make the ultimate decision as to the usage of BLBT.

Unfortunately, this was far short of what many activists hoped for, as the USDA’s National School Lunch Program provides food for over 31 million children in schools across the United States.

Many of these children come from low-income families and thus don’t have a choice when it comes to what they eat at school.

Even McDonald’s declared that they would stop using BLBT as a filler in their hamburgers, although it is hard to tell if they have followed through as of yet.

Regardless, their public rejection of the product says quite a lot.

Unfortunately, it is not just the producers of the wretched pink slime that will suffer the consequences of their actions.

Over 1,000 employees of AFA Foods will likely be the ones who ultimately feel the pain of the bankruptcy most, as they will likely be losing most, if not all, of their employees and closing down their seven production facilities.

If historical precedent is any indicator, we can expect the executives to get off scot-free while the employees are the ones who feel the pain from these unsustainable and unhealthy business practices.

I personally hope that all of those who unduly suffer economic woes due to the pink slime publicity make a rapid recovery while those actually behind the creation and widespread use of BLBT are held accountable for their parasitic business practices.

Did I miss anything or would you like to submit some of your own original writing or perhaps send a story tip or some other information my way? Email me at Admin@EndtheLie.com

Meat Industry to Retaliate for Pink Slime Exposure with Higher Prices
Activist Outrage Causes Major Supermarkets to Drop 'Pink Slime' Meat

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This article first appeared at End the Lie.

Madison Ruppert is the Editor and Owner-Operator of the alternative news and analysis database End The Lie and has no affiliation with any NGO, political party, economic school, or other organization/cause. He is available for podcast and radio interviews. Madison also now has his own radio show on Orion Talk Radio from 8 pm -- 10 pm Pacific, which you can find HERE.  If you have questions, comments, or corrections feel free to contact him at admin@EndtheLie.com


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Anonymous said...

Is this the only issue with meat that can be protested against? Really? It's fat. Fat is good in certain proportions. It's ground beef, right? Ground beef is usually marked on the package what percentage ratio is fat to muscle. The one thing I am having a problem with is the treatment with ammonia; is there not a better way to preserve meat products than this? What about that thick steak or the big roast? Are those products also treated with a spray of ammonia, or some other nasty treatment? How come all we keep hearing about is "Pink Slime"? What about all the cuts of meat "glued" together with other cheap cuts and sold for more expensive cuts? Are those sprayed with chemicals or radiated as well?

Furthermore, lest we forget the condemnable CAFOS and all their disgusting and dangerous practices that many, many people don't give much thought to when they take a bite out of that tender fried chicken leg, or the southwestern omelet they order at any of the interstate exit pull-offs. Oh, but then again, pulling off the interstate for an omelet might prove too expensive these days as gas prices have gone above the $4 mark, so those eggs will be eaten at home most likely...Huh. And while we're on the subject of chicken, why not protest the way chicken nuggets are made and why they're being served to kids in schools. Or the or the pesticidal GMO soy mixed in with the "Pink Slime", the pesticidal GMO corn chips, the pesticidal rBST Antibiotic milk or the food dye in the jello?

The point is, all the screaming about "Pink Slime" (the name itself) is more of a distraction than a comprehensive examination of ALL the other grotesque practices
by the meat industry on down to the last genetic splice and chemical bath. Sadly, it seems we have "Pink Slime" to latch onto as a weak bellwether until the media forgets everything else and waits for other rather weak arguments to rise around a single issue, to keep the big picture as out of focus as possible. Oh well, at least it got people thinking a bit more deeply about where their food comes from and how it's delivered.

Anonymous said...

The USDA is a government entity that deliberately and unnecessarily caused a health pandemic by using pink slime and deliberately tried to bury it's harmful effects on people.

Who will get fined or go to jail for this?

We need answers from the actual plant workers as AFA obviously will lie and steal as long as possible.

motomojo said...

Well here we go again Problem Reaction Solution right in your face and once again you cannot see it.

Pink Slim makers know they can make much more cash selling their product if they didn't have to pay union wages and provide all the health care and 401k benefits etc... for their American Human Resources to produce their slim and instead used say Chinese labor.

Great for profits...But how to actually do it without causing a lot of outrage to another company moving overseas putting Americans out of jobs.

Well first you build new plants in China and when they are ready to go you let a story about Pink Slim hit the MSM who are happy to go along and hype it to death then the controlled opposition gets going and wala you have the sheep screaming this cannot stand something must be done!!

So something is done plants shut down throwing hundreds more Americans out of work and production shifts to China and all is forgotten as business goes on as usual.

End result:

More Americans out of work.

Corporations making even more profit.

Your still eating Pink Slim.

Your even paying more for the privilege as it's now imported slim and who is going to police this now or even think to police it as its use has now been (supposedly) discontinued.

Think your voice has been heard it the marketplace?
Think anything has changed but your perception?

If so enjoy that Burger.

Anonymous said...

@anonymous @ 8:13 AM

"It's ground beef, right? Ground beef is usually marked on the package what percentage ratio is fat to muscle. The one thing I am having a problem with is the treatment with ammonia; is there not a better way to preserve meat products than this?"

I understand what you're saying about not concentrating on the big picture. But, to answer your questions about pink slime, see the article: http://www.activistpost.com/2012/04/meat-industry-to-retaliate-for-pink.html

To quote the pertinent details from that article,
"America's food regulatory agencies approved, as safe, meat trimmings not fit for animal feed that will only preclude death by food poisoning if first soaked in ammonia -- which is poisonous and not effective against all pathogens, especially newer resistant ones.

Robert Menendez told Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, 'The leftover scraps...come from parts of the cow with high exposure to fecal matter.'"

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