Mark Greene: Politicians think the real “bad guys” in the pink slime controversy are the people who exposed the problem?
Reuters is reporting that “ground beef processor AFA Foods filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday, citing the impact of the uproar over a meat filler dubbed ‘pink slime’ by critics.”
In case you were at McDonald’s wolfing down some ammonia-puffed slime when this story first appeared last year, let me break this whole thing down for you. AFA Foods is having some problems selling their ammonia treated beef filler, dubbed “pink slime” by people who aren’t fond of being secretly sold pureed “fat, sinew, bloody effluvia, and bits of meat” when they purchase hamburger.
Rueters reports that “Some politicians have rallied to the industry’s side, including Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, who blasted the celebrity critics (who first outed pink slime).
“This to me is outrageous,” Branstad said. “I want to expose the people who are behind this. I don’t think Americans need to be misled by a smear campaign.”
The Governor is now calling for a Congressional investigation about how this whole anti-pink slime thing got started. He seems to think it’s been drummed up by people who “don’t like meat”. Meanwhile ABC has reported the following about what’s in pink slime: “The low-grade trimmings come from the parts of the cow most susceptible to contamination, often close to the hide, which is highly exposed to fecal matter.”
So, okay Governor Branstad, I’ll tell you what. You get a big tube of pink slime, say, about the size of your head, and chow down on it on YouTube and we’ll take your comment as something other than that of a bought and paid-for political shill. (Personally, I’m seeing you as more of a filet mignon kind of guy.)
I, for one, would like to see a different Congressional investigation. I’d like to know how a cheap filler that has been widely described as “fat, sinew, bloody effluvia, and bits of meat” can be added to to my hamburger (up to 15%) without needing to be labeled as such. Bettina Siegel, a mother of two, who started an online petition to get this stuff out of school lunches, is quoted by ABC News as saying, “It disturbs me that USDA made a decision that this filler, up to 15 percent doesn’t have to be disclosed. Therefore the consumer is at the mercy of each retailer’s decision.”
Ultimately, this is not a “slime” issue. Or even an ammonia issue. At its very base, its a labeling issue. “mechanically separated beef whatever” is not listed on the label. The label is misleading, AND, it’s misleading in a very specific way. Pink slime is filler and filler is, by definition, cheap crap they use to increase profits. We’re being sold something labeled as hamburger that should be labeled hamburger and filler. Because we have the right to know the value and quality level of what we’re eating.
Bottom line. USDA? If an additive or some kind of filler is in my food. Tell me. Especially, if some asshole from the food industry is lobbying for you not to.