They Still Don’t Get It

E. Coli

"OHAI! Miss me much?"

Given the sh*tstorm that erupted regarding the use of LFTB (Lean Fine Textured Beef, a.k.a. “Pink Slime“), and the announcement that BPI was idling down 3 of the 4 plants that produce the stuff, it is little wonder that several Governors (including our own Governor Goodhair Perry) got instructions from their corporate overlords chose to pay a visit to several of the idling plants. It is even less surprising that they regurgitated a press release of talking points from the processed beef industry issued a statement supportive of the industry’s position. What really got my attention, though, was the following sentence:

“Lean, finely textured beef is a safe, nutritious product that is backed by sound science.”

The mere thought of Governor Goodhair Perry using the term “sound science” in  a public statement would reduce me to a giggling idiot, except for the fact that some of his views on science are anything but sound – and his position in the state gives him no little influence over what our government does, including in the field of education. At the very least, he can present himself as an shining example of the total ignorance in matters scientific that is the future of Texas schoolchildren, if certain elements have their way.

The other thing this “statement” told me (other than the fact that the Governors are bought and paid for by the beef processing industry – and who else, pray tell?) is that they – and their corporate puppet masters – still don’t get it. It isn’t about the reprocessing of beef scraps that were once destined for pet food into human consumable “product”, nor is it about the use of ammonium hydroxide as a disinfecting agent in the process (gross as both of those are.)

It’s about my right to know what is in the food I eat, and my ability to make an informed decision about what I put in my body.

I grew up in an era where fast food was the preferred dining option when we were travelling, and when the standard drink was Coca-Cola. As in, we would go out of our way to find a McD’s when we were on vacation, and the only liquid that passed our lips (except when we were brushing our teeth in Spain, when we used sherry wine) was Coke. The reasons were simple: while McD’s wasn’t known for having the best cuisine around, it was consistent. As was Coke. Both of which were instrumental (in my fathers’ mind) in the prevention of diarrhea. While we may laugh at the naivety of that statement now, my father (and a lot of the WWII vets who were part of his generation) had first-hand knowledge of what this particular ailment could do, and exactly how dangerous it could be. And so, who would blame them for taking what they considered prudent steps to protect their family members’ health?

Well, they believed this propaganda “conventional wisdom” from the food and beverage industry, and I (and a lot of folks like me) are paying the price – in obesity, in diabetes, in high cholesterol, in poor health and reduced life expectancy. Over the years, I have learned to read – and pay heed to – the labels on the foodstuffs I am looking to buy. I have also learned to challenge the propaganda “conventional wisdom”, especially when claims such as “the product of sound science” and “USDA-approved” are involved. Such claims are best taken with a grain (or, better yet, a pinch) of salt.

So, what does all this have to do with the LFTB kerfuffle?

Lost in all the echo chambers is a simple fact: the main objections that Ms. Siegel expressed were (1) ground beef with up to 15% LFTB was being sold to school districts, using taxpayer dollars; (2) reports that up to 70% of the ground beef offered for sale contained LFTB (along with industry types expressing hope that someday that number would approach 100%); and (3) there was no way to tell for sure (short of having the butcher grind up the steak in front of you, or doing it yourself) if the ground beef you bought contained LFTB or not, because there was no requirement to explicitly identify it on the food labels!

For those of us who actually read the labels, and use the information on them to help us choose what to eat, this is a slap in the face. And, to be perfectly honest, the condescending attitude of the beef processing industry and their bought-and-paid-for political puppets “allies” just adds more insult to insult. So, I am going to put it about as simply, and as bluntly, as I can:

I don’t give a rat’s ass* if your “product” has been given a clean bill of health by the Surgeon General, has been declared “scientifically safe” by Bill Nye** Himself, and was bathed in a puff of sweet, magical unicorn farts. If you are going to put it in my food, then put it on the goddam label.  Capiche?

Do you get it now?

More to come…

* No implication that LFTB contains ass, or any other part, of rat.
** the Science Guy
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