Many of our customers I know are also readers of the local newspaper in town Chico News & Review, we even distribute this paper in our deli for patrons of our business to read while they enjoy a delicious deli sandwich. But as I was walking out the door yesterday, two words on the front page of this week’s edition caught my eye: PINK SLIME. Seeing as how I’ve written three blog posts on it, naturally, I wanted to see what my local paper is telling my customers as well as the local public about pink slime. Well, let me tell you, I was rather disgusted and outraged to read what they had to say. Here it is:
Now if any of you have been following my blogs, you will know that their description of LFTB (“pink slime”) couldn’t be further from the truth. Here at Chico Locker & Sausage Co. Inc, it is no surprise that we like to provide our customers with correct, factual information about our industry and its processes. That is why we started this blog, that is why we aren’t afraid to show people what it is that we do. So I sat down and write a letter to the editor to set the facts straight.. And here it is:
I am writing in regards to the article written by Christine LaPado in The Green House section of this week’s News and Review. Now as a third generation meat processor and prominent blogger for Chico Locker & Sausage Co. Inc., I am outraged to see what was reported on LFTB (Lean Finely Textured Beef) coined “pink slime”. I know that LFTB has been in the media a lot lately and the News and Review felt like they needed to provide their local readers with information regarding it. But the explanation of what “pink slime” is: “Basically the fatty offal swept up off the slaughterhouse floor” couldn’t have been further from the truth. In fact the industry term, LFTB is never even mentioned in the article. Regardless of your stance on LFTB, if your paper is going to be writing about the meat industry, I would like to see you giving CORRECT, FACTUAL information. I work hard six days a week providing our local public with quality meat products and then go home and write blogs to provide that same public with correct, factual information about my industry only to have your paper publish a column such as this with misinformation to your readers many of whom are also my customers.
The kicker to this whole issue is that the author has NUMEROUS resources to consult for information regarding LFTB. My father and owner of our business was even on the radio, KPAY, giving information about the product, not to mention the author of the column follows my Facebook page where I’ve posted THREE blogs regarding the facts about “pink slime”. The first of which was posted on March 9th. I am extremely disgusted that my local paper couldn’t even consult their local resources regarding this issue, and instead provide readers misinformation. For a paper that encourages people to support local, you sure aren’t practicing what you preach by your inability to consult local. Readers of your paper trust you to give them correct, non-biased information regarding how they make choices as consumers locally. Instead, they are given complete misinformation when the correct, factual information is out there. And put out by a local source. Not only does your column give our local public wrong information, it also gives them the wrong idea about possible practices at our shop and the products we sell. In the article in 2010, the author even drops our name as a source for meat to grind your own ground beef as a solution to avoiding LFTB! Nothing is mentioned what-so-ever about our products and how NONE of our products contain LFTB (“pink slime”). Why would nobody contact us but feel it is okay to include our name in an article filled with such misinformation!? Now since the right information is not given, let me set a few things straight.
First of all, regardless a LFTB product or not, NOTHING is ever swept up off the floor in a slaughterhouse and made into a product, EVER. A procedure such as this would never, ever be allowed in a facility of any size, large or small. Any meat scraps that hit the floor would be deemed “inedible” and placed in a barrel for rendering.
Secondly, LFTB is not “fatty offal”, it is in fact much of the opposite, hence the name LEAN Finely Textured Beef. Where LFTB comes from is when beef carcasses are processed into cuts consumers use (such as steaks, roasts, etc.), trimmings result. Trimmings are small pieces of fat and meat that cannot be used for anything else but to grind. The process of LFTB uses equipment to separate lean meat from fat that would be impossible to do by hand. The trimmings are then warmed to about 100 degrees and placed in a centrifuge which basically spins these trimmings to separate meat from the fat that has been liquefied. The resulting product (LFTB) is very low fat at about 90% lean. LFTB can be mixed with higher-fat beef in order to produce low-fat ground beef and other products. What this process isn’t doing is taking something that is INEDIBLE and making it EDIBLE much like the column suggests. These trimmings weren’t only used for dog food and oil, but have always been edible for human consumption and are in fact 100% beef.
LFTB is then sent through a pathogen intervention step where the product is treated with ammonium hydroxide gas. It is sprayed with a puff of gas which alters the pH of the product and kills any harmful pathogens that may be present in the meat. Ammonium hydroxide is a natural occurring gas found in our soil, our own bodies and all over food production, not just in the meat industry. In fact, ammonium hydroxide can be found in nearly every component of a cheeseburger: bun, condiments, cheese, and beef. Naturally occurring ammonium hydroxide can also be found in anything from apples to peanut butter and squash. Please check out this article for more information: http://beefproducts.com/ammonium_hydroxide.php
It is also important to note that the process of LFTB prevents the waste of valuable, lean, nutritious, safe, beef. LFTB could be considered sustainable in such a light that it recovers lean meat that may otherwise have been wasted. Using products such as LFTB ensures that ground beef remains affordable to consumers and in fact, now that it has been pulled from the market, an additional 1.5 million head of cattle will need to be harvested annually to make up the difference. It is estimated that 10 to 15 pounds of edible lean beef per carcass is derived from the LFTB process and without this process that meat would have been otherwise thrown away.
Bottom line is regardless of whether or not you want to jump on the anti-LFTB bandwagon, please put the correct, factual information out there and let your readers decide for themselves. I work hard to provide my customers with correct, factual information about my industry. And I would like to see you striving to do the same. To put misinformation out there is not only bad form, it doesn’t make my job as a local business (whom you support) any easier by having to dispel the myths my customers (and your readers) come across in your paper. Don’t be afraid to use the local resources you recommend your readers to use in order to do what it is that you are paid to do, report.
So tell me readers and supporters of Chico News and Review and customers of Chico Locker, is this how you like the meat industry to be represented? Do you like to be given misinformation when there are local resources out there to obtain the factual information..? Please share with me or better yet, share with Chico News & Review your thoughts and your concerns with this week’s article in the GreenHouse column. It is my hope that in the future, Chico News & Review will be more willing to use their local resources when reporting and provide their local community with facts, not misinformation.
The only way to see a change is to have your voice heard. If you would like to do so…
Letters to the editor can be written to: firstname.lastname@example.org or you can use this handy dandy little form
Comments can be left on the article directly at: http://www.newsreview.com/chico/soylent-pink-pink-slime-revisited/content?oid=5574857
The author can be reached directly at: email@example.com
Chico News & Review can also be found on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/ChicoNewsandReview
For a comprehensive list of anything and everything regarding LFTB and the use of ammonium hydroxide, please refer to these numerous articles or our prior blogposts: