Once word leaked out that pink slime could be found in 70% of the US ground beef supply, an outraged public responded loud and clear… Given a choice we don’t want to eat scraps of beef formerly deemed unfit for human consumption separated and chemically treated with industrial grade ammonium hydroxide and mixed into fresh ground beef to increase yield and profit for its manufacturer.
Seems simple enough… given a choice, who would choose to eat pink slime? The real problem is, the public’s two cents worth of opinion falls short of the estimated three cents per pound of profit pink slime adds to yield, so now the manufacturer is crying foul.
Spin doctors for the USDA, American Meat Institute and Beef Products Inc. are insisting and remain focused on convincing the consumer that pink slime, or what they prefer to call lean finely textured beef trimmings is safe to eat.
While food safety is certainly an issue, this is also a matter of public trust, integrity and of course money.
The USDA, the organization that purposefully hid pink slime from public knowledge is the true culprit. Don’t expect any apologies, the USDA remains adamant that the chemically treated scraps do actually come from a cow, therefore the USDA is under no obligation to inform the public or list the controversial additive on the packaging.
Beef Products Inc. (BPI) the inventor/ profiteer has taken a no less callous approach, launching a war of words, resorting to scare tactics, threatening price increases and a guilt trip.
On March 23rd Beef Products Inc. bought a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal that featured the tragic story of Nancy Donley whose six-year old son died from E.coli contaminated ground beef, alongside a personal misguided attempt of systematic manipulation from BPI president, Eldon Roth.
While sad and heartbreaking, I don’t understand the mothers plea since the ingredient in question ‘pink slime’ / lean fine textured beef trimmings unlike fresh ground beef is highly susceptible to E. coli and other pathogens, and must therefore be treated with “a puff” of ammonia (according to the Roth endorsed beefisbeef.com) to kill the bacterial risk.
The term “puff” sounds suspiciously innocuous and inefficient to conclusively kill potentially deadly bacteria that otherwise fresh ground beef does not require. BPI likes to point out that Ammonia is naturally occurring in humans… but then so is Arsenic. Commercial grade Ammonium Hydroxide however is a poisonous, corrosive substance used in cleaning products that can burn skin, eyes, respiratory tract, mouth and digestive tract. I just don’t see any upside to pink slime other than for the financial gain of Mr. Roth. Too little ammonia bacteria lives and you potentially die, too much ammonia and you, your digestive tract and liver are at risk.
Roth’s defensive opening statement in the full page WSJ ad is dripping with irony: “…we could not have imagined the personal, professional, financial and spiritual impact of the campaign of lies and deceit that have been waged against our company and the lean beef we produce.”
So let me get this straight Mr. Kettle… I mean Mr. Roth, you don’t like to be lied to, or deceived?
More importantly… how exactly was BPI lied to or deceived when in fact it was the public that was clearly defrauded according to the textbook definition:
Deceit, trickery or breach of confidence, perpetuated for profit
According to Politico, Roth and his wife have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to pro Romney groups and PACs … while Roth definitely shares the “No Apology” message he apparently does not share his candidates belief in the “free market” or free will when it comes to the all American burger.
Romney who has yet to publicly support Roth or pink slime did write about Roth in his book calling him a successful businessman with a “very large jet”.
So safety and alleged nutritional quality aside, Mr. Roth please stop insulting us … for you, this is about one thing and one thing only… money!
You boast your company has served 300 billion servings over the past 30 years. However it was only since 2001 that the USDA aided and abetted your operation approving the clandestine additive. You seemed to run a profitable venture before squeezing out a few more cents per pound. You have failed to explain why exactly this unwanted additive is necessary?
Beef is beef, much the same way chicken beaks are chicken, that doesn’t mean I have to eat them if I want a white meat chicken breast for lunch.
You and the AMI have threatened without lean finely textured beef trimmings, it may cause price increases, and the need to produce more cattle. The solution seems simple…keep on producing pink slime, but – LABEL IT and you will see you that you will have a surplus of meat on your hands. Or are you just temporarily closing three of your plants for dramatic effect?
Roth has in fact temporarily suspended production in three facilities, and he is holding the media and public personally responsible “…the public perception is so negative that it now may result in the loss of over 3,000 jobs”(FYI it’s actually 650 at the moment).
Apparently Mr. Roth would like us to keep our mouths shut except to open them to fill with pink slime infused beef?
Roth’s closing argument ends with a handful of lies. “NEVER has food borne illness been associated with our lean beef in over 30 years.” When in fact BPI products have been deemed unsafe numerous times. The New York Times provided evidence that BPI products tested positive for E. Coli and salmonella… the very same bacteria that killed Nancy Donley’s son, three times in 36 months.
Roth then asks us to “look at the overwhelming support from food scientists, USDA officials… “
OK, let’s do that.
The USDA’s own scientists actually coined the term ‘pink slime’, microbiologist Gerald Zirnstein assigned to the initial USDA approval process for the finely textured lean beef additive reported to the USDA:
“I do not consider the stuff to be ground beef, and I consider allowing it in ground beef to be a form of fraudulent labeling.”
While I have much disdain for Mr. Roth’s attitude in his defense he is not to blame. He is a businessman that submitted a substandard product treated with ammonia to the USDA and asked if he could add it to fresh ground beef to make more money.
The USDA is the organization that we should be outraged over and demand they pick a side – industry or public health (even though they clearly have). The USDA approved pink slime in spite of the lead scientists recommendation and the USDA made it impossible for the public to have any choice in the pink slime matter since they unilaterally decided not to label the additive.
Let’s get another thing straight, despite the USDA’s claim that pink is not an additive… that it’s beef. It is in fact added, that is another textbook definition. If it is so nutritious, if it really is “beef” then why add it to ground beef, why not package it up and sell pink slime as a standalone product? The USDA, Roth and the AMI are trying to convince you that not eating pink slime is somehow wasteful? Nothing goes to waste – before the USDA decided Roth could chemically treat scraps to serve to humans it was destined to be dog food.
The real criminal is the USDA. I have long spoken out against the USDA’s duplicitous nature. It is time the American people demanded an independent arms length third party to advise us on how we should eat to improve human health and not cater to industry and lobbyists.
It is simply inexplicable that the USDA is charged with advising Americans what constitutes a healthful diet while simultaneously supporting the food industry through the provision of subsidies and devising the strategies to improve farm income and expand agriculture markets.
It is unethical and impossible for the USDA to serve two masters without bias… The USDA serves the Food Industry – a $500 billion enterprise, laden with capital and lobbyists, human health is secondary.
Until the public revolts and demands change, the USDA will remain the greatest obstruction to providing consumers with pertinent information that will allow an individual to make an informed decision to achieve / maintain a desired level of fitness (maintaining a healthful body composition through the delivery of the essential nutrients needed to support and sustain life in a disease free state)
The USDA guidelines are purposefully vague so that no food product or manufacturer is omitted or disparaged – the USDA never says “don’t eat something” instead uses a less industry offensive term: “use sparingly”, allowing even the junkiest of junk food to fit neatly into the equally ambiguous daily caloric availability.
Legal Case and Point
In 2000, following the release of the USDA Food Pyramid / Guidelines the USDA was charged with what amounts to acts of duplicity, purposeful vagueness of information and bias to the benefit of the food industry in the creation of the nations nutritional advice: USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE (USDA), FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION (FDA)
The USDA was found GUILTY of conspiracy when the court ruled the USDA had violated the federal law that prohibits bias to special interest groups that revealed a full 6 or the 11 Guideline creation advisory board were food industry representatives / spokespersons.
Despite the verdict, the USDA dietary guidelines then and to date remains ambiguous at best. The USDA’s imprecise and influenced recommendations are used to reward industry with the lucrative government food services contracts for the nations schools, military, prisons, public employees and hospitals worth billions of dollars. This ill informed cycle is perpetuated with the egregious use of the weak and indefinable advice that forms the unsound foundation of our educational institutions curriculum for future nutritionists, dietitians and health-care providers.
Obesity and related disease continue to skyrocket. They had to change the name of adult onset diabetes to type II because it is epidemic amongst our youth. Yet the USDA largely unchanged recommendations continue to promote and conduct the worst ongoing experiment in the history of nutritional advice. It’s not working!
In stead of just coming clean, acknowledging and assuming responsibility for the devastating effects of bad advice, misinformation… and correcting the position, the same authorities are now trying to tell is the solution is now just an even simpler matter of counting calories… Wrong again. All foods are not created equal. If you don’t consider the essential nutrients your body needs, you can literally starve to death in a state of obesity from malnutrition regardless of how many calories you consume.
The USDA cannot be trusted to advise consumer what they should eat. We need an independent third party based on real science and clinical trials not paid for directly by the very companies seeking positive results.
I would like to think I had something to do the disclosure of pink slime and the American public response. My FREE – Restaurant Nutrition App powered by Unified Lifestyle is approaching two million active daily users. When I informed my app users that McDonalds contained pink slime, people stopped eating there.
In January, McDonalds due to pubic pressure (money) the fast food giant announced they no longer serve pink slime, and I know my app users went back. You see Mr. Roth that is the way the free market works, so stop groveling over pennies and give the public what they want… or go right ahead and close your plants… someone else will supply our needs.
© 2012 – Copyrights Grant Roberts, All Rights Reserved
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