Beef Products Inc. Wants Us to Eat Pink Slime for the Jobs. Sorry, But We'll Pass.

Categories: Complaint Desk

PinkSlime.jpeg
BPI
Processed-meat fever came to a head over the weekend. It started with a full-page ad, which appeared on Friday in the Wall Street Journal (and is on display below), paid for by Beef Product Inc. The company branded itself a paragon of food safety and cited "pink slime" libel as a threat to 3000 jobs.

The ad was a direct response to a media blitz, started by food advocates including Jamie Oliver and amplified by news and social media outlets. A photo posted on the Internet depicting pink slime extruding into a cardboard box like strawberry soft-serve went viral, and suddenly grocery stores were declaring that their shelves would soon be "pink-slime" free.

The advertisement displayed two letters. One was from Nancy Donley, a concerned mother whose child had died from organ damage due to E. coli toxins, and the other from Eldon Roth, the President and C.E.O. of Beef Products Inc. Together they spin a tale intended to garner sympathy from prospective customers, but their arguments are full of holes.

Donely's letter paints, in frightening detail, the last days of her son's life. She says that processed meat and other foods have to be treated with ammonia and other "technologies" to rid those foods of deadly pathogens. BPI is the good guy, she says.

She ignores, however, that the industrialization of our food supply is exactly what's causing the increased prevalence of those pathogens that are making everyone sick. As cows are crowded into feed lots, they tend to get sick -- just like people do when you confine them in unsanitary refugee camps or slums or whatever. By the time the beef is slaughtered, processed, shipped somewhere else and processed again, bacteria has a lot of time to grow. BPI had to treat its product with ammonia, sort of like you do with your toilet, except (I hope) you don't eat from it. Meanwhile, alternative farming techniques -- the ones that used to be the norm before industrialization took over our food supply -- have proven safe without the use of factories and chemicals and antibiotics.

Donely also claims that the media attack on companies such as BPI will stymie innovations in food safety technology and strategy. Roth's contribution to the advertisement echos this sentiment, and claims that food-borne illnesses have never been associated with their lean beef product in over 30 years of business. But there's a problem with that, too, because BPI's products have been determined in many instances by the USDA to not be safe numerous times in the past.

The article in The New York Times that started this whole thing cited a USDA scientist's catchy reference to processed beef that looks like saltwater taffy. It pointed out that the USDA had found BPI products that tested positive for salmonella and the E. Coli bacteria that killed Donely's son. The agency had banned hamburger makers from using meat from BPI because of salmonella three times over three years, according to the article.

Just because outbreaks or illnesses don't get recorded at the Center for Disease Control doesn't mean that a supplier is necessarily safe. Had the resultant burgers from those bad batches made it through the chain, and not been cooked to the brink of desiccation, people would have gotten sick. In those instances, BPI wasn't leaning on their own technologies to prevent a food-borne illness outbreak. They were leaning on the USDA's safety net, as well as the promise that any chain desperate enough to use their product would cook those pathogens to death.

The final argument in the ad plays the most cliched fiddle: that this media campaign against BPI threatens 3,000 jobs of hard-working Americans. That, the ad implies, should be enough to ignore the 23,152 cases of illness, 1,276 hospitalizations and 22 deaths that were compiled in 2008, the latest year for which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has finalized data. But if there were less pink slime, there would be an increased demand for more more real meat, which might require more ranchers and ranch hands and other jobs. Or, gasp, we might even eat a little less meat.

Yesterday, BPI officials announced the halting of operations at three of the company's four plants, and the temporary layoff of 650 of its employees as a direct response to the media attack against its products. The media blitz cited by BPI isn't a targeted campaign against a single small producer. It's the spear on an attack against food-industry norms that have gotten way out of line with how people are supposed to live and eat. The same efficiency processes that have made windows, record players, Coke bottles and plastic baggies as cheap as possible are squeezing every last bit of profitability from our food chain. It's making a lot of people sick, and even the slickest ad campaign can't make them better

Beef Products Ad WSJ


Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
83 comments
jobs uk
jobs uk

Bacteria in beef slaughtering, processing, and to any other place, and once again to deal with a lot of time to grow. BPI's lead media blitz is not targeted campaign for a single small-scale producers. This is the specification for the food industry, has been way out of the spear of the attack line assumes that people is how to live and eat.

Jen
Jen

beef if not beef ... a calorie is not a calorie - this is labeling fraud - if don;t want to buy pink slime why is the producer trying to tell me otherwise

Jen
Jen

The public has spoken - we don't want to eat this crap. It is bad enough that the beef products inc. and the USDA deceived the public by not telling us that 300 billion meals contained previously unfit for human consumption scraps doused in ammonia. Now they want us to feel sorry for them... Sorry - I don't feel sorry for Bernie Madoff or Beef Products Inc. - fraud is fraud. When I first learned about pink slime from the blog associated with my free app Restaurant Nutrition from unifiedlifestyle.com ... I stopped eating at McDonalds, a few weeks ago I found out McDonalds stopped serving the crap. I went and bought a happy burger. That's how the market works.

Jnj7707
Jnj7707

This is an example of an industry that went a bit too far. This has nothing to do with politics, it has everything to do with what we are eating. This stuff used to go into dog food - what does that tell you? Beef trimmings? Fine, call it what you like, but there is a reason that crap was trimmed away! You want to eat that be my guest but I choose not to. AND, I want it labeled if it's in my hamburger. You have a problem with that?

Mary
Mary

LFTB = trimmings that are simmered in low-heat, the fat and tissue are separated using a centrifuge and the product is sprayed with ammonia gas to kill germs. Yum!I would like to opt out of this if you don't mind, label it as a filler/additive or some other catchy name, maybe even LFTB so I can avoid it. Stop hiding it. All of the LFTB from the BPI plants HAVE to be sprayed with Ammonia because it is highly susceptible to e coli and salmonella more so than most of the other stuff that goes into "100%" ground beef. And their track record is flawed, e coli has been found in their meat on numerous occasions despite their best efforts. The USDA I do believe considers all parts of the cow "beef" so that tells you something. Here is what really goes into "100%" ground beef.1.beef from advanced meat recovery (AMR) systems2. low temperature rendered lean finely textured beef (LFTB)3.partially defatted chopped beef4. partially defatted beef fatty tissue5. heart meat. 6. 2 piece chucks and other primal/sub-primal cuts intended for use in raw ground beef or other raw non-intact product7. raw esophagus (weasand) meat8. head meat9. cheek meat All of the above plus fillers like soy, starch and the like can also be added. However if starch or some other “not beef” ingredient is put in it that has to be labeled. None of those nine items above do because they are all considered “beef”. The main ingredient in ground beef is actually “major cut of single-ingredient raw product” like a chuck, which can consist roughly 85% the rest can be any or all of the above.

Everyoneisahippo
Everyoneisahippo

If your a smoker and is against "pink slime" then you my good sir or ma'am are a hypocrite.  And for those who aren't you should check all the labels in the products that are in your cabinet because 99% of them will contain preservatives or ingredients that are not healthy and should not be in food, and the same goes with using any plastic container to store any type food or drink because some release dioxins that can cause cancer. So If your going to start some health campaign and cry about the shit you are being fed you might as well throw all this other crap along with it and then some. But I'm sure if the court of public opinion knew all the health information about every single thing they would rather die than live with out it. 

ObserverFan
ObserverFan

Apparently everything we put in our mouths has been fcked with in some way. I can't wait to find out which food is unsafe next! Salmon & beef patties anyone?

Grumpydemo
Grumpydemo

Man BPI PR consultant must be getting paid per post.

Yeah, I trust a corporate sycophant that immediately calls it's critics names without address the core criticism of their crappy products.

The Rovian Dark Forces are strong in this one.

What about truth in advertising? You're wonderful product is being put in product is call "Ground Beef" not "Ground Beef and pink slime".  If you're product's so great, as you claim, why hide it? That's unethical sleazy business practices, but if you don't have a problem with that I've got a case of Spam I'll sell to you as pork pate.

gwa
gwa

Bravo Scott. Thanks for sharing this. I am now only shopping at stores who assure its customers that they do not use pink slime.

TomTomGo
TomTomGo

Wow, don't think I've ever seen a comment section where it is so blatently obvious there are paid posters from a particular lobby/company.  I mean, I've heard of it, but Jesus its so obvious in here.  Love the one that kept calling Scruffy a "libtard".  Sounds like one of Jim's "admirers".

Mervis
Mervis

Gainsburger?      Anyone? Anyone?

Ed D.
Ed D.

So sad that BPI could only afford one shill, not clever enough to change their writing style or remember under what name they last posted. Better luck next time, BPI!

Ben
Ben

I have been in hundreds of meat plants. Bpi is by far the cleanest I have ever seen. This may actually be the cleanest, most healthy product you will find in any burger....no fat 100 percent lean meat......I find the social media and comments made shocking.....they have no understanding of the product, the process, or the company.

Industry Expert
Industry Expert

The other point that many don't understand is the trim that BPI extracts the protein from will still make it into the ground beef supply. Grinders have already said this on the record. They have not eliminated anything but actually made it less safe because BPI tests it product 100% before releasing it to customers. In addition, the leanest ground beef will be 80/20

Anti Pink Slime
Anti Pink Slime

This article makes some great points. Eldon Roth is trying to justify his case by saying that 3,000 people are going to lose their jobs. Would we rather have people eat unsafe food and die? I don't want people to lose their jobs, but food safety takes precedence here. Plus who wants to eat a 95% lean beef anyway? I think i will pass on the pink slime.

cynical old bastard
cynical old bastard

If beef is beef and this stuff is made from quality trimmings, why aren't burgers made from 100% of this stuff?  Why is it only used as a "filler"?

Steve
Steve

It's Fat, Lisping Jamie Oliver, innit?

Rick
Rick

BeefisBeef (dot) com is a site created by BPI in the last couple of days so excuse me for laughing my butt off.

Industry Expert
Industry Expert

I think everyone is so worked up about the ammonia gas issue. Do people not understand it is a food grade ammonia? I would be astonished if all these industry haters even knew what they were talking about. Nothing like jumping to conclusions and creating an unrealistic scare. It is the Ametican way...

Ellen
Ellen

Have you ever visited the BPI plants?  Have you ever watched the process? Your pious indignation about BPI meat is nothing more than a scare tactic.  When you trim the fat from steaks or roast, you get some of the meat along with the fat.  The process at BPI involves separating this meat from the fat - it is beef trimmings - not pink slime.  Get the facts and quit spreading this hysteria.  www.beefisbeef.com.   

Jeff
Jeff

Ive seen plenty of feed lots and they are far from crowded.   You could put 1000 head of cattle in a lot the size of Dallas and they'd still pretty much hang out all together.

No Slime
No Slime

I see the beef industry is well represented here right Aviry and Brian. 

 I don't care what you eat, but I do care what I feed myself and my family.  Ammonia is not the complete issue, it's the junk meat scraps they are using that requires the ammonia processing.

So belly up to the bar and fill up on pink slime. The more you eat the less I have to worry that that crap is making it way into my food stream

cynical old bastard
cynical old bastard

 Better yet, only buy ground beef at stores that grind their beef on-site so you can watch the process yourself.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

We're supposed to trust a person that thinks we want a burger made from 100% lean meat? Fat is flavor, dingus. I don't buy anything leaner than 80/20 for burgers, if I don't just grind it myself.

Talk about not understanding the product, "Ben".

Aviry
Aviry

Because of the finer texture that results from the process they use to separate the beef from the fat. The texture is about what you would find in a hotdog or brat so they mix it with heavier textured beef. The two differently textured beefs mix together very well and make better hamburger in my opinion.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

Brian
Brian

So you are laughing your butt of because you think you are smarter than the scientist who say this meat is safe. They also go on to say this is the safest meat you can get. Or are you laughing because you are to dumb to understand science so you don't know what else to do. Or maybe you are just one of those liberals like we have in office that don't know how to get things done correctly, and safely. I get how a person can laugh at that site becuase it states the facts and it goes totally against what ABC news reported and what this stupid article above reported. You must be a Obama lover who wants to destroy all the good businesses out there so eveyone can sit by and have the government tell us what to do. You must believe the socialistic way is the only way. WAKE UP PEOPLE

Grumpydemo
Grumpydemo

Mmmmm, "food grade amonia".

Perhaps "Industry Expert" you can join me for a tall glass sometime, of course you first.

primi timpano
primi timpano

 Food grade ammonia?  Like food grade bleach?

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Pick a name and stick with it. At least BPI's PR folks are guaranteed jobs...for now. I hope your resumes are better than your defense posts.

Aviry
Aviry

It's not junk scraps that are used, it's lean trimming left over after making roasts, steaks, etc. Ground beef has always been made out of these trimmings. BPI has a manufacturing process that is able to recover more of the ground beef from the trimmings. Most meat manufactured in the US is either irradiated or treated with small amounts of NH3 to kill E Coli and other pathogens. Both procedures are safe and regulated by the USDA. BPI's products are safe and even won the Black Pearl Award in 2007 for their outstanding food safety practices. I am not employed by the beef industry but I do have many friends that work at BPI, friends that raise beef, and my father's company has built some of the manufacturing equipment in BPI's plants. We are simply trying to educate people that this is not a bad product. Also, the last recall of beef in the US was organic beef produced in California. BPI's products have never been recalled due to contamination.

Mary
Mary

Aviry, I understand how and where LFTB comes from and just don't want to consume it. I would like to see the USDA revamp it's idea of "labeling" of all processed foods so I can make choices that I cannot currently. Just because we can doesn't mean we should.

van
van

When the average American orders a burger or buys ground beef in the grocery store they think it is made from unprocessed, unadulterated beef. When they buy a weiner or bologna they know it is processed beef going in. This pink slime seems like an attempt to slide something by the American consumer based on their preconceptions of what constitutes ground beef. Why not just make bologna or hot dogs or better yer, pet food out of this stuff? Oh, lots of schools don't serve bologna or hot dogs anymore.

Scott Reitz
Scott Reitz

 Aviry,

There is absolutely no way that a burger made from beef-trimmings-is-beef, would stand up to a burger made from freshly-ground, primal cuts of meat -- ever.

The arguments that these campaigns stem from liberal leanings are false. This article and the hundreds that have proceeded it are calling into question the level to which industry should squeeze efficiency from a carcass.

Even if it's "safe" (as branded by a government agency  that used to let BPI inspect itself, but now does not) it's still not good food.

If you'd like to eat burgers made from meat produced from tertiary processing you should do just that. But I think most people, given a side by side comparison of real, freshly-ground meat, and the product your You Tube link is selling, would always choose the better beef.

DoubleOJoe
DoubleOJoe

Don't pervert the ideas of science to fit your own agenda.  How many doctors and scientists told us for years that cigarettes were safe?  How many of them were paid by the industry to parrot corporate propaganda, while subverting and undermining the very ideals of science? 

Representatives of an industry are suspect, no matter their qualifications.  The only objectivity comes from outside, unbiased sources, and it seems fairly clear that the majority of outside sources are against this practice.  Food safety is not up for debate, or interpretation, or profit.  The only reason this practice is used is to increase profits and make the company more efficient.  That's all.  Cloaking it in jingoistic rhetoric only damages your position.

Mavdog
Mavdog

Could you explain how the desire for fresh ground beef with no additives is a "liberal" or a "conservative" concept?

In your view do "liberals" or "conservatives" have different wants as it relates to what they want to put in their bodies?

Ridiculous. There's nothing political about the desire to have fresh, non-prepackaged food.

Mariana Griggs
Mariana Griggs

Wow, very interesting stuff you guys have going on. Eating less meat would help. Also, scientists not trained by industry would help. Having to keep and slaughter your own animals probably would go a long way too. I'm a scientist, I don't like Ammonia in anyone's beef, food grade or not. Cheap meat is never cheap if we have to go the extra mile to make it safe because all we were thinking of was the bottom line, not the health and safety from the beginning. I don't have a dog, or cow in this fight but I do find the discussion interesting. Ya'll know you're not going to convince each other right? It's such a nice day, maybe harvest an egg and a salad today and use that instead of BPI meat. 

cp
cp

Yeah and all kinds of other "food grade" shit. Doesn't mean it's good for you!

Ellen
Ellen

I'm not employed by the beef industry.  Take some time to read through the information on the website I posted before you make your uneducated responses.

Mavdog
Mavdog

It may be technically accurate to say the "BPI's products have never been recalled due to contamination", however that is only accurate due to the contaminated products being caught before they have entered the distribution channels.

"government and industry records obtained by The New York Times show that in testing for the school lunch program, E. coli and salmonella pathogens have been found dozens of times in Beef Products meat, challenging claims by the company and the U.S.D.A. about the effectiveness of the treatment. Since 2005, E. coli has been found 3 times and salmonella 48 times, including back-to-back incidents in August in which two 27,000-pound batches were found to be contaminated. The meat was caught before reaching lunch-rooms trays.

In July, school lunch officials temporarily banned their hamburger makers from using meat from a Beef Products facility in Kansas because of salmonella — the third suspension in three years, records show."

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12...

The effectiveness of the ammonia treatment is a bit questionable; it appears that to minimize the after taste and smell of ammonia being in the meat, which was a problem and mentioned in the story, BPI lessened the amount of ammonia the meat was exposed to, allowing for these pathogems to not be eliminated.

Grumpydemo
Grumpydemo

Yep, it's called being "healthy" not Liberal.

However mindlessly defending anything corportions do, no matter how unethical, unhealthy, or desctructive to our country NOW that's a Tea Birther FOXtard Right Winger.

concerned
concerned

What about ammonia in all the rest of your food. Like in a hamburger the bun, condiments, cheese, tomatoe and lettuce all have more of the ammonia then the beef has in it, even the finely textured beef. Wish morons like those on here knew what they were talking about before they decide on what they say.

DoYouKnowWhereYouGetYourInfo
DoYouKnowWhereYouGetYourInfo

Ellen, Please tell the class who made the website that you posted.  (Hint: It starts with a B and ends with an I.)

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

You're on a privately operated website, so they have more control over your or my "right" to express an opinion on here than you think. Go stand on the corner of a street with a sandwich board and preach on if you'd like.

I thought the piece was a little bit paranoid myself, but it's much more entertaining to rile up generic defenders. 

Ellen
Ellen

The last time I checked, this is still the United States, and if I want to express an opinion, that is my right.  I didn't realize this was only a Scott Reitz fan club.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Newsflash--public perception is nothing but uneducated responses. And while the process is indeed "safe" depending on your definition, the perception of it is that it's chemically-treating material that's not quite good enough to be meat and mixing it in with meat. It's a perception problem, and it's not going to go away anytime soon. 

And generically-named posters all happening to defend BPI and the process coming out of the woodwork smells worse than rotten meat. Also a perception thing.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...