April 4, 2012
By Heather Callaghan and Michael Edwards
“So they are retaliating because we found out they use nasty ingredients in their meat. Here is a solution – if everyone became vegetarians, then what would they do?” –KTRN
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.
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: