Dr. Oz is a popular TV personality/medical professional who loves to use his credentials to scare his viewers about the foods they eat and convince them that with each day, he’s found the “secret to weight loss.” While I’m not fooled by the sensationalism, the fact remains that thousands of viewers watch him each day and believe his personal brand of B.S., hook, line and sinker.
Last week, Dr. Oz aired a segment titled, “Is America’s beef healthy?” The episode followed food journalist Mark Schatzker as he visited ranchers in Texas and Georgia and investigated America's beef production.
It’s troubling to me to see such a biased, slanted report being shared on such a popular TV show, and it’s even more alarming to watch the cheering from the crowd as Dr. Oz pretended to slay the dragons that are America’s beef producers. It’s disheartening to see this mistrust in farmers and ranchers grow, and I’m worried the chasm between producers and consumers continues to widen.
The segment was filled with misinformation about grass-fed beef vs. corn-fed beef, antibiotics, feedlots, and the USDA quality grading system. No doubt it left some lingering questions and major doubts about conventional beef, and I think some response to the Dr. Oz segment from real beef producers would be positive to balance out the conversation.
Lauren Schlothauer, blogger for Dare to Cultivate, wrote a great post about the segment titled, “Decoding Dr. Oz’s special on American beef.” She does a fantastic job of debunking the misinformation presented in the Dr. Oz segment, and I love the infographics she created within the blog post that could easily be reposted and shared on social media.
After sharing the facts on the many topics the Dr. Oz show brought up, Schlothauer writes in her blog, “In the end there are different ways to raise cattle. Regardless of if cattle are grain finished, grass fed, naturally raised or organic, it is always a safe, wholesome and nutritious option for your plate.”
Ultimately, Dr. Oz knows that fear mongering about food always makes for good TV, and the beef industry is typically a pretty good punching bag for Hollywood elitists. As for our consumers, I think we need to urge them to ditch the Dr. Oz show and find more accurate, less sensationalized information from a more reputable source. And perhaps we could be that source, if we only can make a spot for ourselves at the discussion table.
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Penton Agriculture.
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