Posts Tagged ‘meat industry’

Why the Meat Industry is Freaking Out Over Pink Slime

Read my article for VegNews on why it’s time to pull the curtain back on Big Meat even further.

Pink Slime Outrage is Not a Vegetarian Plot

The debate over the use of so-called pink slime in ground beef, what industry refers to as lean finely textured beef, is heating up. Over the weekend, the meat industry hosted a massive picnic in Iowa (with what else, free burgers) to show its support for Beef Products Inc, maker of the filler. The event was held, fittingly, at the Tyson Events Center.

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BPI’s Response to Outrage over Ground Beef? 3 Governors and a T-shirt

In a surreal press conference yesterday, Beef Products Inc took its best shot at making up for its silence during weeks of public lashing over what has been dubbed “pink slime,” an additive in ground beef made through a high-tech process that BPI invented. (See my previous posts here and here.) The event came in the wake of major grocery chains announcing they would stop selling beef containing the filler.

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10 suggestions for female judges for NY Times’ “ethical meat” contest

Yesterday, I wrote about how the New York Times’ contest for meat eaters is great PR for the meat industry. Upon sending that missive to the Times, I had an email exchange with Ariel Kaminer, the paper’s Ethicist columnist, about various aspects of the contest. When I asked why all the judges were male, Kaminer replied that she couldn’t find one female expert in food ethics with a fraction of the name recognition of the men. She argued that the famous male judges would bring far more attention to the contest, and in turn get more people to consider the ethics of meat eating.

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New York Times’ “ethical meat” contest is great PR for meat industry

The New York Times is holding a silly contest for meat-eaters to have their say. Here is my entry.

Was this really a burning problem that needed solving, the lack of justifications to eat meat? What do you suppose has caused America’s love affair with meat in the first place? A rapacious and deceptive industry that has brainwashed people into thinking that life cannot be lived without meat.

It saddens me that given all the pressing problems of our day, many of which caused by excessive meat eating (global warming, contaminated air and water, chronic disease, worker injury, and yes, animal suffering, just to name a few) the Times is promoting such a self-indulgent contest.

I am sure the meat industry is jumping for joy.

Moreover, we don’t need even more ways to polarize people over personal dietary choices. Let’s stop the infighting and focus on the core of the problem: corporate control of the food supply. How about a contest on how to fix that?

Protein propaganda: It’s what’s for dinner

Most vegetarians are tired of being asked, “Where do you get your protein?” by a seemingly concerned family member, friend, or even stranger. I know many vegetarians and none of us have come close to suffering from Kwashiorkor. Never heard of it? It’s a form of malnutrition from lack of protein, found in areas of famine and extreme poverty. Protein deficiency is rare in the developed world, despite a significant portion of the population eschewing meat. So where did this idea come from that vegetarians and vegans are doomed to a life of protein deficiency? Read rest at Grist…

Safe, Organic Animal Foods Too Expensive? Eat Less

In an email exchange with Dr. Richard Raymond over my recent article on the massive Cargill recall of Salmonella-tainted ground turkey, the former head of food safety at USDA warned me that a likely result of tightened food safety laws would be “higher food prices making meat and poultry unaffordable sources of protein to some.” To which I replied: “I have no problem with that.” Read the rest at Food Safety News.

Why the Meat Industry Sells Salmonella

As a lawyer who writes about food policy, one of my biggest frustrations is how reporters often get the law wrong, or omit critical pieces of information. Last week the latest massive food safety recall hit the news – 36 million pounds of ground turkey possibly tainted with Salmonella, courtesy of meat giant Cargill. While some media outlets were asking good questions about why it took the federal government so long to release such vital information (problems began in March), others reported that it’s currently legal to sell Salmonella-tainted meat. While the meat industry might like it that way, that’s not the entire story. Read the rest over at Food Safety News. See also this handy 6-point summary by Mark Bittman of the New York Times.

Meat Safety Politics: A Decade of Inaction at USDA on Non-O157 E. coli

In the wake of the horrible E. coli outbreak in Germany, many food safety advocates are calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to get off the dime and expand required beef testing to strains beyond the standard 0157:H7. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approximately 160,000 people in the United States are sickened each year by non-O157 E. coli. Six serotypes, known as the “Big Six” (E. coli O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, and O145) are currently under scrutiny. Far from being a new issue, the evidence for why we need expanded testing has been available for at least 20 years, maybe even 30. According to the petition filed against USDA by the law firm Marler Clark , as early as the 1980s, non-0157 strains were first identified globally. The first outbreaks were reported in the U.S. in the 1990s. What has happened since? Quite a lot, but little of which can be called progress.
You can read the timeline in my article at Food Safety News.

Will Germany Crisis Affect USDA Policymaking?

Thanks to Food Safety News for allowing me to cross-post my articles; here is my first.

In the midst of what has tragically become the deadliest E. coli outbreak in history, serious questions are being raised about the need to step up testing here to protect the American public from a similar calamity. Food safety experts and consumer groups have for several years now recommended that USDA require testing in ground beef beyond the most commonly tested E. coli strain, 0157:H7.

As recently reported by Food Safety News, the USDA has at last drafted a notice of rulemaking (how agencies promulgate laws) to expand the definition of “adulterant” to include 6 non-0157:H7 STECs (Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli), which would force industry to test for these other strains. But now the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) appears to be holding things up.

The question is, why?

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