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8 April 2012 - Dude, It’s Beef!

Very seldom do I spend time on the same topic, two weeks in a row, on Samuelson Sez. But friends, I am breaking that rule this week because of my growing frustration and rising blood pressure over the unfair, often times, untruthful coverage in the media of a food product.

I refuse to use the media term to describe the product and I am alarmed at some of the misleading statements I hear from people in the meat industry that are quickly picked up by the media. It is the media that all too often doesn’t do the research and delivers wrong information on the subject.

A Reuters story, dated March 30th, headlined ‘Wendy’s Jumps into the blank blank (I will not use the term) Public Relations War’. The two lady writers, three times in the story, referred to the product as ‘filler’. It is not ‘filler’, so that is incorrect. Then the statements by people in the industry, who I guess are concerned about consumer reaction to the news stories. A representative of Wendy’s said “We have never used lean, finely textured beef (thank you for calling it that) because it doesn’t meet our ‘high quality standards’”. A handful of the top U.S. packaged food companies are saying their products do not include the controversial, here’s the word again in the story, ‘filler’, ConAgra Foods, Kraft Foods, Sara Lee, all saying they don’t use any of the product because it doesn’t meet their quality standards..

Well, now one more time, let’s examine this product. It is certainly not the term used in the popular media, it is Lean Finely Textured Beef! It is 100% USDA approved and it is 90% LEAN BEEF! And the concern over the ammonia treatment used to destroy pathogen bacteria?... that was approved back in the 70's by the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is safely used on dozens of food products today.

Finally, let’s turn to a recent gathering in the Midwest to promote the product. Iowa Governor Terry Branstad said “This is a safe and reliable product. This company has gone out of its way to protect consumers.” Texas Governor Rick Perry said “Lets call this product what it is and let ‘pink slime, become a term of the past” and Nebraska Lt. Governor Rick Sheehy coined a new slogan that is now emblazoned on T-shirts, “Dude, It’s Beef!”

That’s what it is! Get over it!

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