Andrew Revkin admits to not eating much beef in his household. Since he’s not a huge fan of steak and burgers, it would seem likely that the smear campaign against the beef industry would please him. But, that’s hardly the case.
In a New York Times opinion piece, the Dot Earth blogger voices the phrase, “Dude, it’s beef,” and stresses how the nation’s beef supply provides affordable protein options in an efficient, safe manner.
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“In my home, we rarely eat beef. And I’d love to see the day when all beef comes from free-range herds like the one up the road from me. But given that we’re not going to a meat-free society any time soon, and that kids need cheap sources of low-fat protein, I’d like those pushing the yuck factor to consider the extra 1.5 million head of cattle that will need to be slaughtered to fill the ground beef gap. I’m all for open disclosure of food contents, but not when the labeling effort is aimed at fomenting fear over facts.” writes Revkin.
Read the entire opinion piece, which talks about beef safety, food prices and job losses here.
With three of four BPI facilities temporarily closed, the loss of jobs due to the unfair media frenzy surrounding lean finely textured beef (LFTB) will hit many American families hard this spring. Furthermore, the hype will also drive up meat prices at a time when consumers are having to cut back on expenses as a result of rising prices for food and fuel.
“The industry is telling us that the removal of this filler is the equivalent of losing 1.5 million head of cattle, and cattle already are in tight supply,” says Hy-Vee spokeswoman Ruth Comer in an interview with the Des Moines Register.
“Cattle and beef prices soared last year because cattle herds, already at their lowest levels since 1952, were hit hard last year by the drought on the big rangelands of Texas and Oklahoma. Combined with a surge in U.S. exports, cattle prices increased by 25% to record levels in late 2011 and early this year. The result was an increase in retail hamburger prices of as much as 20% last year, according to USDA surveys. Any increase in beef prices would reverse what has been a gradual softening of beef prices in the last month due to what Smith and other traders have said has been rising consumer resistance to higher beef prices,” the Register reports.
“The latest figures from the USDA’s Livestock Marketing Information Center show that the beef slaughter ran 4.4% below a year earlier for the week ending last Saturday. The fresh beef trimmings that go into the textured beef/pink slime additive, were down in price by 19% through Monday as meat processors began to cut back on their purchases.”
To read the full report, click here.
It’s amazing how quickly an orchestrated PR campaign can sink a USDA-approved and proven product that’s been in use for decades and has been served in literally billions of meals during that time, without a single complaint of foodborne illness against it. Plus, it’s a process and product that is supported by food scientists, USDA officials, consumer advocates, academia and consumers.
Check out BEEF magazine’s coverage of Saturday’s public show of support in Sioux City, IA, for BPI and LFTB here.
How do you think this controversy over LBFT has impacted the beef business? Can the industry overcome this challenge? Tell us how you’re working to spread the truth about LFTB.