Find a Real Issue
The Midwest is farm country. Glad to be able to drive a mile outside of town and see farms, crops and livestock. It's reassuring to me, that our food source is so near.
Livestock, crops, tractors and combines are most definitely a way of life and revenue. In most parts of the Midwest, at its core, the economy is still based upon agriculture.
That brings me to my point. I'm certain, that you've heard by now, the debate over Lean, Finely Textured Beef, aka, "Pink Slime."
According to the USDA, the term Pink Slime was coined years ago, by their Food Safety and Inspection Service. It's a beef-based additive that can be added to to ground beef as an inexpensive filler. Basically, scraps.
Is it made from beef? The answer is yes. Is it safe? Well, depends on who you ask.
British celebrity Chef Jamie Oliver, who is a guest in our country, helped lead the charge with the general media, to the product and the name. I would bet that you had never heard of the product before last month. I certainly hadn't. Oliver supports claims that the product is unhealthy, because it's processed and contains less desirable cuts of beef.
Last week, a group of farm state Governors including Iowa Governor, Terry Branstad and Texas Governor Rick Perry, toured the plant of pink slime producer, Beef Products, Incorporated.
After the tour, and press opportunity, the Governors' proclaimed the product healthy and even sampled some beef patties to the delight of the media on hand.
Now this week, Beef Products Incorporated has announced they are filing for bankruptcy, citing the overwhelming negative coverage they received over pink slime.
Here's the point. Pink slime, suffers from an identity crisis. I think it's gotten a bad rap. It's been around for years. It's treated for E. coli.
No doubt, the name is what turns most people off to the product. If you've eaten a fast food burger in recent times, most likely, you've been "slimed," and probably enjoyed it.
Look, too much of any product is most likely unhealthy. In my research for this blog, I didn't uncover one case, where pink slime was named as the culprit in a direct illness. The point here is, Oliver and others are now taking U.S. jobs away and ultimately, hurting our cattle producers.
Many of the folks at BPI, will soon be looking for new jobs. Again, hurting families and communities here in the Midwest. The American farmer and beef industry produce the safest, most abundant food supply in the world, period. Somehow, I think this issue is going to make its way into the pocketbooks of our beef producers, and bottom line, I think that's wrong. All because someone thinks something sounds "yucky."
Oh, and since lean finely textured beef is going away, the market will still demand a low cost replacement food product. That need most likely, will be filled by using inexpensive FOREIGN beef products. Talk about scary stuff, these products aren't always required to meet the same U.S. processing requirements.
Thanks to the American grain and livestock producers for keeping our stores full of tasty, safe food products. Tonight I will honor them at my dinner table with a burger, or two.
By the way, Jamie Oliver, have you ever wondered what goes into a hot dog?......Lookout, folks!
Let me know what you think...