Monday, April 2, 2012

Meat Industry to Retaliate for Pink Slime Exposure with Higher Prices; USDA and FDA Escape Scrutiny

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Heather Callaghan and Michael Edwards
Activist Post

Beef Products International (BPI) is facing their biggest public relations disaster yet.

The people have spoken and want nothing to do with their flowery sounding "lean finely textured beef." Kroger Co. chain has added itself to the growing "We do not carry Pink Slime" list as well as countless delis reassuring customers on their signs.

BPI is closing three out of their four branches in Amarillo, Texas; Garden City, Kansas; and Waterloo, Iowa -- South Sioux City, Nebraska will remain open. BPI has one month to placate customers or possibly vanish forever. One month to undue 20 years of silent profit. Profit from supermarkets, fast food chains, and school cafeterias.

But what about the real foxes in the hen house -- the USDA and FDA?  And what will happen to the price of "healthy" meat?

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."

So the USDA graciously gives school lunch programs the option of not buying meat with filler that literally is not considered fit to feed dogs only after petitions with hundreds of thousands of signatures begged them to remove it. Unlike the producers of pink slime, the regulatory agencies themselves have escaped media scrutiny -- they aren't closing any branches. No PR disaster for them, even though they waved it in for school children as adequate for their nutritional guidelines.

But the truth is, it is not meant for human consumption. Period. And no amount of PR painting can undue the damage of people's trust in the current food industry.

The Threat

This exposure is already leading to higher meat prices, and there are signs that the beef industry is set to retaliate against an awakening public.  A piece in USA Today entitled, "Beef Industry Braces for Loss of 'Pink Slime' Filler" reads more like a beef industry press release as it refers to the hazardous material as a "low-fat beef product" that has been essentially victimized by social media, as if there is not ample evidence to back up the public outcry.  An inset image of a BPI worker and his family reads:
The Licons are just one of many families who face an uncertain future after Beef Products International suspended operations at its Holcomb, Kan., plant.
While this outcome is unfortunate, it is quite a bit more unfortunate that the product itself was ever allowed onto the table of countless millions without their knowledge about what they were actually eating.

The USA Today report goes on to emphasize that social media is the culprit in all of this, adding nothing factual to refute what the public has come to understand:
'This shows the impact of the social media,' said Kevin Concannon, former director of the Iowa Department of Human Services and now Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services. 'There is absolutely no evidence that this product is unsafe, and it is low-fat.'
Those comments are nothing more than a desperate attempt to redirect the argument as an appeal to people's programmed positive response toward anything deemed "low-fat," as if the poisonous ammonia bath it receives should be dismissed as a natural consequence of offering something that is ultimately healthy. Moreover, this refrain was echoed by the industry itself, giving further credence to "fat free" being a propaganda point:
'It’s crazy,' said Des Moines meat wholesale Phil Barber of Brewer Meats, which he said has not knowingly used meat with the filler. Barber nonetheless said of the fillings, 'they’re free of E. coli, and they’re 95 percent fat free.' (Source)
Beef prices are just coming off all-time highs, and it appears that the industry will use this scandal as justification for surging prices in its wake.  According to a spokesperson for the Hy-Vee supermarket chain:
'The industry is telling us that the removal of this filler is the equivalent of losing 1.5 million head of cattle, and cattle already are in tight supply,' said Hy-Vee spokeswoman Ruth Comer. Hy-Vee is pulling ground beef with the 'lean finely textured trimmings,' also referred pejoratively as pink slime, from its shelves.
And, again, there is a thinly veiled condemnation of the now-educated consumer.  But it certainly sounds like something positive for commodity traders such as Dennis Smith of Archer Financial Services in Chicago:
'Long term the refusal by consumers to use this product (lean finely textured beef) will make less beef available and force prices higher. If that’s what the consumer wants, that’s what they’ll get,' Smith said.
So, how many schools will actually opt out of buying pink slime in the face of rising prices? My best guess based on having worked in the public school system and viewing how schools go for the lowest bid on lunch foods -- most schools will not opt out if they have to pay one penny more for slimeless meat. Food quality is one of the first casualties of budget issues.

For the first year of this scandal, they will tell concerned parents that they've already ordered next year's food based on their allotted budget. The next year, if the buzz hasn't died down, they will wait until there is an outcry and then bemoan the higher meat prices.

A similar scenario played out in last season's Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution after he tirelessly overhauled a cafeteria with healthy fresh foods for the same price. He came back to find them serving garbage again. A school lunch program minion also forced him to serve french fries because his seven-veggie pasta only counted as one vegetable according to their guidelines!

Why We Should Laugh At Price Threats

Here's a thought: higher meat prices will put typical staph-infected, radiated hormone-pumped beef neck in neck with grass-fed organic beef prices -- that, amazingly, for all the care that goes into the real happy cows, has only cost a few dollars more per pound this whole time. Grass-fed producers will not be affected by these price hikes -- they've never used filler and their prices are based on the care that goes into their stock. So why pay more for less when the same dollar amount can bring real nutrition?

Our current food mafia is losing ground as the ugly truth continues to spread. If you watched, read, researched, talked about, signed petitions, or shared this food fiasco with anyone -- you're an activist, not a wet blanket! The agencies that take our money to give us poison and call it nutrition should be ashamed, not us.

We vote with our forks -- Decentralize!

Read other articles by Heather Callaghan and Michael Edwards here.

This article may be re-posted in full with attribution.


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ed said...

then everyone should boycott their meat altogether. F*%& them. buy only from your local farm or buy organic. let's put these POS out of business.

Anonymous said...

This is the sick world we live in -- speak out in defense of consumer rights and just be told to eat your pink slime ... or pay.

Anonymous said...


When they figure out a couple million people are ready to go without it, they'll drop the price so fast it will make our heads spin!

Anonymous said...

You have options. Just don't eat any beef. Just eat poultry. Beef isn't good for you anyway. Chicken is cheap and turkey is cheaper than beef, so it should be easy to avoid it. More and more people are growing their own chickens. Chickens can eat bugs and scraps. They can roam around and they go into their house at night. A cow you've got to have a big pasture and butchering a cow is lots of work. I haven't eaten any beef in years and only eat pork tender loins, Half the time I eat chicke and turkey and if I can do it you can to.

Rupert said...

The Beef Industry apparently does not want me as a customer.

Who put Chik-Fila in charge of PR for cattlemen?

Manda J said...


Anonymous said...

Grow your own meat...problem solved.

Anonymous said...

I saw this coming 25 years ago, when I started noticing that children were being born with more and more birth defects, and were hitting puberty earlier and earlier. When I wrote a college paper on the ills of intensive beef and dairy operations, I became ill myself, after learning the truth. Since then, I have taken great care to eat only locally produced meats, where I personally know the grower. I also raise rabbits and chickens myself. Here's a hint-use only organic feed you make up yourself if you can. That stuff from the feed store is likely contaminated with GMO's, growth hormones, antibiotics and pesticides. I'll stop now because I'm feeling ill just thinking about how the American public has been swallowing The Big Lie in so many ways over the years.

Anonymous said...

The meat industry sickos should be force-fed this filth through funnels while they are buried up to the neck like in the movie Motel Hell.

Anonymous said...

Of course, the high meat prices could be a thing called "supply and demand". The largest beef producing region in the nation is just coming off of a record drought, and even organic calves have to eat. A huge number of cattle were sent to slaughter. To top it off, pushing off feed grains (NOT FOOD GRAINS - ther is a difference) to the ethanol industry has not helped. I guess a juicy conspiracy theory is always better than the truth ...

Heather Callaghan said...

Hi supply and demand is a good point. I think the demand for grass fed will go up soon. And perhaps there will be lower demand for regular meat after this bad PR which might keep the prices the same or even lower them.

Pasture fed animals rely mostly on the land for grazing and not every region is effected by drought. I'm no economist - looks like a lot of factors can effect the meat market. I don't see where the conspiracy theory is coming in?

Right Turn Only said...

I think the biggest problem we have with this product. Is that it has to be disinfected with a cleanser we use to clean our floors.

Surely another use can be found so the manufactures can remain in business.

But to hold the consumer hostage. Shame on them for such a hollow threat.

Because alot of markets are not selling the product and appearently are still able to sell the meats they have.

Anonymous said...

We can and should retaliate too. Simply stop eating their pink slime altogether. Let's see who wins that one. Hopefully, the 1% will come bail each other out and eat themselves to death.

Anonymous said...

If you'd ever seen the conditions in which beef is raised in large commercial operations, you wouldn't even THINK about using the phrase "healthy meat" unless you're talking about the kind where cattle roam around in a field eating grass.

Anonymous said...

This is called KARMA. You kill the cow, that is a very serious SIN.

These people who are being poisoned are getting the results of their karma.

STOP EATING MEAT ALL TOGETHER and you won't have to suffer any of this.


Kimberly Anne said...

Heather you are the greatest! I will facebook this on our

Now, lets go after the CAFOs!


Anonymous said...

Anon Until vegetarians acknowledge that there is a humane way to produce meat, we will continue to ignore them.

Heather Callaghan said...

Kimberly - YOU are the greatest!! Thanks for all your hard work and for sharing!

No more CAFOs!!

Anonymous said...

Live a vegetarian life instead. It's healthier for us; it's a less cruel way of living; it reduces pollution and has a lower impact on land and resources.

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