Just when we thought Lean Finely Textured Beef or in the news media known as “Pink Slime” was behind us.. It rears it’s ugly head again. But this time it isn’t the news media leading the way, it’s BPI. They came out today announcing a lawsuit against ABC and some of its main reporters. For more in depth information check out this link. And now LFTB and pink slime is all the buzz again with some people calling the lawsuit “without merit” or simply a “publicity stunt”. I will admit, I am not thrilled to resurrect LFTB in the public sphere once again simply due to the misinformation that was literally plastered on every computer and tv screen across America.
I will not deny the fact that I completely understand that consumers felt “duped”. Like BPI was trying to put the veil over their eyes. And if you’ve read my posts before you will know that I am 100% in favor of transparency. But in no way do I think that BPI was trying to “hide” what they were doing. And yes, this product probably should have been labeled from the get-go as most meat items are but since this product was technically all beef, I really don’t think they saw the need for it. Anyway, we can beat a dead horse all day long (is that a politically correct terminology anymore?), the point I am trying to make here is that is it so wrong for a company to stand up for itself…? It’s no surprise the meat industry is constantly being beat up by the news media. You watch when there is an outbreak of salmonella or E. Coli, the news media WILL show burgers frying on the grill even if the contaminated product is a vegetable. Food companies all across the board are constantly filing lawsuits for all kinds of silly issues and yet when one company stands up for itself people cry “publicity stunt” and criticize the lawsuit being “without merit”..?
I sometimes think that people forget that businesses are in business to do just that, business. It doesn’t mean that we don’t care about producing safe products or that we don’t care about animal welfare. Both of those issues are taken VERY seriously in the meat industry. But this “campaign” waged against LFTB in the news media went way beyond simply “exposing” this product to consumers. They took it a step further and continually aired it because they knew it was getting views and let’s face it folks, news media thrives on people watching their program. Let’s not forget that news media is in business to do business too! And business to them equals views! More importantly, their “campaign” they waged on LFTB eventually led to 600 people out of jobs and also requiring 1.5 million more cattle to be slaughtered each year in order to make up for the difference in demand being met by production of LFTB.
Regardless of your stance on the actual product of LFTB, you can’t go bashing a company that has since closed three locations and filed for bankruptcy for standing up for themselves to the news media. To let the news media know that you won’t be bullied, that calling a food product “slime” more times than necessary is uncalled for, and most importantly that the lost jobs of 600 people won’t go away without some sort of retribution. And to all my meat processors out there even if you aren’t thrilled with LFTB, much like the organic vs conventional issue with farmers, we need to get over our issues, stick together, and show support to one another in our own industry.
So good for BPI, regardless of what the public thought of my actions as a business, if I had to distinguish the livelihoods of 600 people as well as file for bankruptcy, you betcha I’d be seeking retribution. How about all you business owners out there..? What are your thoughts? Retribution rightly sought or just a publicity stunt?
For more on the history of LFTB on this blog, check out these links: