The Meat Industry is Still Trying to Get Over the Pink Slime Thing. It's Not Going Well.

Categories: Chewing the Fat

HugeBeefPatties.jpg
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All beef hold the slime and half-truths.
Meatingplace is a trade publication for, you guessed it, the meat industry. NPR reported last week that the magazine's most recent cover screamed in bright pink "SLIMED," followed by the subhead "What the hell happened."

In her article, April Fulton at NPR outlined what four editors of Meatingplace contend caused the LFTB (lean finely textured beef, aka pink slime) industry to self-implode: Social media sparked a spread of half-truths from non-experts, the name is unappealing, the pictures of the supposed slime didn't do it any favors and the USDA didn't fight back quick enough or tough enough in social media. All this in a time when the public is highly skeptic of corporate deception.

I think there's comfort in hanging your hat on any of those pegs if you work in the meat industry.

Social media does spread half-truths, as does my pain-in-the-ass neighbor. But social media can also spark revolutions. While the Internet floats fallacies, it also opens the door for more research. Truth is, if you're trying to hide, the Internet is an extremely small world. And if insider leaks are going to hurt your business, prepare to take a punch.

The editors of Meatingplace went on to suggest that the meat industry open their process and steer away from their historically private practices. Because "consumers think the meat companies are hiding something."

I think we all just figured out they actually were.

One thing not often being defended in the aftermath of the pink slime fiasco is pink slime itself. Maybe the USDA didn't fight back because they were painted in a corner. No one seems to be arguing the point that it's a cheaper product made with undesirable parts that is mixed into beef to lower the cost for the producer -- while technically overcharging the consumer 15 percent.

Which I think is the biggest issue. People feel they were bamboozled.

Raoul Baxter, former Smithfield Foods executive and 30-year industry veteran, in a story on Meatingplace.com, pointed the finger at an irrational world where it isn't easy to "find facts and to verify basic truths."

Just before that he remarked that the meat and livestock industry are taking "more arrows than Custer did at Wounded Knee." Which is literally a perfect case in point, as a commenter pointed out, because Custer fought and died at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. The "Wounded Knee Massacre" was a full 14 years after Custer's death.

Trivial points. The real issue, Raoul Baxter blogs, is that "a lot of people writing blogs and writing articles who know as much about agriculture as a pig does about Sunday School. We have to confront them at every turn. With boring facts and open honesty - but that is the only way."

So while he too admits the industry has to be more open, at the same time he depreciates consumer (and blogger) demands for honesty.

Baxter's biggest point is that the industry does what it has to do to make things affordable. Which is probably fine (for those who chose to eat it). Just tell us the beef is mixed with crap. Heck, we eat hotdogs all the time. But we do it knowingly. Not blindly as a result of being fed partial-truths from the meat industry.

There's an obvious disconnect. A lot of meat industry executives seem out of touch with the meat buying public. No one wants to be bamboozled. If you put crap in the food, that might be all right, just be honest about it. Label it. Because if we find out on the flip side, we'll continue to be skeptic. And you'll have to continue to supply us with boring facts and open honesty.


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9 comments
Justin Julian
Justin Julian

We've turned into a nation of six-year-olds.  When confronted with a food that our ignorance tells us is 'yucky' we lash out against it.  Any food that's green is yucky, right, because green isn't a food color!  So goes the toddler brain, anyway.  Now we're all grown-up toddlers running around refusing to eat things because they -sound- unpalatable...when we've been eating them and worse all along.

We attain life by eating things that were once alive, and that's always going to have a certain amount of 'yucky' factor.  The question is, are we in harm's way?  Obviously not, after decades and decades of eating stuff like 'pink slime' that is just -how- many steps away from your average hot dog?  

We're a bunch of spoiled, privileged brats, larders stuffed with food, yet complaining we have nothing to eat because we don't LIKE it.  1st world problems indeed.

Phelps
Phelps

At least they didn't run that tired pic of mechanically separated chicken with this story.

Marianne
Marianne

The weekly pink slime/slow news day dredge at the Observer.

LaurenDrewesDaniels
LaurenDrewesDaniels

That "first world problem" is just as over played as pink slime. How is wanting  pure beef spoiled? Would settling for happy meal dollar burgers every day quell our spoiled sense of mind? Shall I go to the Dollar Store and load up on cheap food for the kiddos? 

I'm not worried about the name. That doesn't bother me. It's that they've been cutting in up to 15% of a really cheap product (I think it goes for one dollar a pound) into more expensive beef. That's deciet. Did you read the whole article? I referenced your same point about hot dogs. Asking questions and holding people accountable for what they sell isn't spoiled. Asking that people at least label food is responsible. I never complain we have nothing to eat. We have plenty to eat. And we also have responsibility to not take our wealth and privelge for granted. 

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

Wow, JJ, nice work!  And it is truth. I love hot dogs, and I don't give a sullen crud what's in em..........I just know that they are delicious!  I love the first world problems; our biggest news story in the past week is some effhead falling from a crane.  People have REAL problems-no food, no work, diseases, etc. 

DoubleOJoe
DoubleOJoe

A food blog discussing food!

GASP! SHOCK! HORROR!

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

that means next up is either:

-Matt Mcalister-Chesterfield's-Food Trucks

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

never seen this sort of vitriol from the LDD.  go gizzerle!

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