Now usually I run WordLESS Wednesdays, but I have far too many words that need to be said regarding a major tragedy that is occurring in the meat industry due to the effects of “Pink Slime” . So here we are, WordFUL Wednesday.
I got online yesterday morning and found my Twitter and Facebook full of stories about the major beef producer in the United States, BPI (Beef Products Inc.) stopping production indefinitely at three out of its four plants. Articles can be found HERE and HERE
Now regardless of your stance on “Pink Slime”, bullying people out of their jobs is NO WAY to “win a victory” in our food system. I have never been a fan of bullying and fear tactics that is commonly seen throughout our food system in order for people to gain followers in their agendas. But much to my dismay, it happens. And people praise these events calling them “victories”. The article reports closures of plants in Texas, Kansas, and Iowa, that could eventually become permanent, are a “direct reaction to all the misinformation about our lean beef”. Closures of these plants could result in a loss of jobs for 650 people! Could you imagine losing your job all due to a campaign put out by a facet of news media?? To us in California, we don’t realize that in other states large companies such as BPI are the LARGEST employers of people in some rural areas. They provide the local residents with a means to support their families and without those businesses there, people would be out of work and possibly having to travel for HOURS just to work. To these people BPI is providing them with a secure job, benefits, and a way for these people to work locally to provide for their families.
In my first post about Pink Slime I talk about repercussions and how scary it is to me the powerful effect that news media and individuals with agendas against my industry can really effect the meat industry. And this is something that consumers don’t realize when you choose to join campaigns such as the one “pink slime” has been generating.
American Meat Institute issued a statement lamenting the tragedy that “pink slime” has wreaked on the industry which can be read HERE. In the statement he brings up several good points:
Today, a three-week war waged on a beef product called lean finely textured beef came to a painful head as hundreds of people lost their jobs when one of the primary processors shuttered three plants. While lean finely texture beef was given a catchy and clever nickname in ‘pink slime,’ the impact of alarming broadcasts about this safe and wholesome beef product by Jamie Oliver, ABC News and others are no joke to those families that are now out of work.
Those who have tried to inject reason and facts — many of whom are from the meat science community and in the best position to deliver accurate information — have been attacked as so-called ‘slimewashers’ because their characterization is different from the popular misconceptions.
I actually had a personal experience along the lines of the second statement. I was criticized on the social media platform Twitter after posting an article supporting the production of pink slime. The individual not only called me stupid and ignorant, but also called me a “slimetard”. How kind is that? And what a way to promote your own agenda!
Which brings me to the point, why is it okay for people to criticize and bash me for my choices in my food selection?? Where did this food elitism come from?? Why do we have this “holier than thou” attitude about what we buy?? To me, the beauty of our food system is that it provides us with CHOICES. And it is all about CHOICE. I can choose to buy organic, non-organic, natural, commercial, whatever. And our food system accommodates everyone and gives everyone a choice. That would be like if we only sold one type of steak at our shop.. There was only one choice because that’s what the majority of people THINK is right/okay/better to eat. Well, we wouldn’t be in business very long because people enjoy having choices. And that is what our current food system allows us! What is there not to like about that!?
You don’t see me as a meat eater and industry supporter going around and criticizing people who are vegan or vegetarian in their choice. No, I respect the fact that that’s how they choose to eat and I will continue to provide for those of you who eat meat. I am not out picketing against these people, I am not throwing stones. For those of you who are religious amongst us, the verse from John 8:7 comes to mind, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” I will be the first to admit my industry is not perfect and yes, it can use some changes. I am more than willing to take criticism based upon solid factual information, however, fear-based campaigns against my industry are not something I will stand for. And like I’ve said before, there are people that spend their whole lives working towards creating quality, safe products.
Now to say this wasn’t a deliberate campaign against BPI with ABC and Jim Avila running the “smear campaign”, here are some alarming facts for you laid out in this fantastic article by Fox News.
ABC has covered the story almost round the clock in recent weeks with stories on “World News with Diane Sawyer” and “Good Morning America.” Print and web outlets have reported the story, but Avila has been the face of the anti-beef attack. — Competitors at NBC did only two stories and CBS just one.
Predictably ABC News has hyped its reports by using the term “pink slime” 52 times in just a two-week span (making it harder than usual not to associate Avila’s activist reporting with the word “slime”but that’s another story.)
Now if that isn’t bullying, I don’t know what is..? So what can we take away from all of this..? Well first of all, before you go following or supporting a campaign, think about the possible repercussions it could yield. Could supporting this cause possibly put people out of work..? It may just be my own opinion but I believe that not giving into the “food elitist” perspective could help become a solution rather than adding to the problem. To quote my good friend Katie of Pinke Post, “If you want to change the food system do it with what you purchase and eat.” Be a supporter of choice and change the food system through CHOICE, not through bullying and media targeting.
Happy Wednesday everyone!