Archive for April, 2012

Our Pink Slime Food System

April 12, 2012

Finally one small aspect of our failed Industrial Food Production System has gotten some attention as the Wall Street Journal, the Nations leading business publication, the NY Times and others began reporting on “Pink Slime”. The Industry formerly used the meat scraps ligaments, bone particles, etc. left after butchering for dog food. Some time in the mid two thousands the industry with USDA approval began  high speed blending of this material for use as a cheap hamburger filler. Among other advantages was the reduction in cost to the Federal school lunch program by 3 cents a pound. They also added ammonia hydroxide to kill the e-coli, which was becoming an increased Public Health risk. The e-coli bacteria develop as a result of feeding corn in lieu of grass to cattle and destroying their rumen’s natural digestive ability to kill bacteria. Ground meat is particularly vulnerable to extensive contamination because the e-coli on the surface become mixed throughout. The mixture was dubbed pink slime by employees because of its appearance. Tyson’s CEO said the controversy is hurting beef sales but he thought it to be a short-term event. History suggests he is right.

Since 2009 the three major world cancer organizations have been reporting a strong connection between high corn fed red meat consumption and both cancer and heart disease without any significant affect on meat sales. For decades environmental groups have been reporting the connection between corn production used primarily for feeding farm animals and the destruction of our soil and water resources including the Chesapeake Bay without any adverse effect on meat sales.

In a few weeks grain farmers will again start the yearly cycle of destruction by tilling vast acres and applying 3 times more fertilizer to corn than it can utilize to produce corn the raw material for sugar and meat. The consumed volume of sugar is primarily responsible for our obesity and diabetes epidemics and the consumed volume of red meat both beef and pork is the primary cause of heart disease and cancer. The tillage and the excess fertilizer are primarily responsible for massive erosion and the nutrient and sediment contamination of our rivers and estuaries including the Chesapeake Bay. This cycle of destruction receives modest attention and certainly has not affected meat sales. What is it about Pink Slime that has raised such a public outcry and will it cause changes in the way we produce food? History indicates that it will be a two-week event as the Industry expects.