BREAKING: USDA To Allow Voluntary Labeling of LFTB; Branstad Requests Congressional Hearing

by Bettina Elias Siegel on April 2, 2012

Meatingplace.com, a meat industry online publication, reports today that USDA has received and approved voluntary requests from meat purveyors to disclose on product packaging the inclusion of lean, finely textured beef.  Meatingplace.com is a members-only site but the relevant excerpt of the post reads as follows:

USDA has agreed to approve requests by ground beef product makers to voluntarily label their products that contain lean finely textured beef (LFTB) or similar products that have been the focus of media and social media reporting that has frightened consumers.

“Several companies have chosen to voluntarily pursue a new claim on their product labels that will allow them to clarify the use of Lean Finely Textured Beef.  USDA has received this type of application for the first time through the normal label approval process and the department has determined that such requests will be approved,” USDA spokesman Aaron Lavallee told Meatingplace. “By exercising this existing option, these companies can continue to provide a lean, safe and nutritious product to an informed customer base.”

This is a clear victory for consumers who have expressed their concern in recent days that LFTB has been included in reportedly 70% of the nation’s ground beef, up to 15%, without their knowledge.  It follows on the heels of introduction of the REAL Beef Act by Representative Chellie Pingree, as well as letters in support of labeling submitted to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack by Reps. Rosa DeLauro and Sam Farr.

In other news, Iowa governor Terry Branstad has called for a Congressional inquiry into what he refers to as the “smear campaign” against LFTB:

The governor said he suggested an inquiry to U.S. Reps. Steve King and Leonard Boswell and raised the issue with Vilsack, a former Iowa governor. King and Boswell did not immediately return messages left Monday requesting comment.

You’ll recall that Branstad was one of the five governors and lieutenant governors who came to the aid of Beef Products Inc. at a recent press conference, which Marion Nestle described as “breathtakingly high-level—and perhaps unprecedented—support for the public relations troubles of a private food company.”

Stay tuned.

 

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{ 78 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary April 2, 2012 at 3:12 pm

I am happy to hear that news not only for myself and my family so we can choose to not buy it. Also for all of the companys that produce LFTB and those consumers that wish to purchase ground beef with LFTB included in it. We can all vote with our dollars.

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Erin April 2, 2012 at 9:26 pm

Thank you Mary for a great reply to this! I am on the other side of the fence but we have the same idea…let the consumer choose

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Matt April 3, 2012 at 7:23 am

@Mary, I too agree we should have the CHOICE to purchase LFTB. I would most definitely purchase ground beef WITH LFTB as my own research tells me it’s a SAFE American made product.

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Mark April 2, 2012 at 3:23 pm

Labels? That’s all you wanted? So, you smeared BPI, put their employees out of work just for kicks and giggles? Good thing BPI can document every nickle of the damage you’ve done them — shouldn’t be difficult to win restitution via civil suit. All over labels? C’mon, we’re not that naive. Your motives are much more transparent than that.

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EdT. April 2, 2012 at 5:02 pm

Mark, you are not adding anything to the discussion, and quite frankly, your repetitive calls for lawsuits has become tiresome.

Please do us all a favor, and Go Away, Troll.

~EdT.

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Fish Sticks April 2, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Sure thing, EdT. Let’s make the whole ugly embarrassing deliberate mess just “go away”! While we’re on the subject we can’t help noticing you seem to be the designated dude in charge of damage control on this blog. Obviously it is a big job. How many posts have you contributed here in past few days? All dedicated to a droning defensive/apologetic support of internet vandalism. How many posts before one is deemed a “troll”? We are confident you have outstripped any competition, chum.

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SuperMom101 April 3, 2012 at 5:53 am

Dear Fish Sticks (like the name),

Wish I could favorite all of Ed’s polite, respectful, thoughtful intelligent, engaging and insightful comments. Then you would see that many of us “mommy bloggers” agree wholeheartedly with his contributions.

And, we can’t post as often as the industry trolls because we’re busy working, raising children and reading the labels on the food we’ll be placing on the dinner table.

So, keep-on posting…it makes for very entertaining reading.

What exactly is: “dedicated to a droning defensive/apologetic support of internet vandalism?”

Common sense is not so common. – Voltaire

p.s. This applies to the “daddy bloggers” too of course.

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Matt April 3, 2012 at 7:25 am

Speaking of Trolls…EdT….speaking of trolls….. Hmmm….

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Paula April 3, 2012 at 6:49 am

Bettina hasn’t smeared anyone. She has created awareness of a process that has clearly struck a nerve with consumers. When consumers know about this product, they don’t want to buy it. (Except you, Mark. So go ahead–buy it for YOUR kids! Hope they enjoy it and you feel good about it.)

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Mary April 3, 2012 at 7:20 am

Mark read the petition. My children do not participate in the local school lunch program due to more than just LFTB. However I do purchase and feed them ground beef on a regular basis and I would like to opt out of LFTB if you don’t mind. But thanks for assuming that I shouldn’t have that choice. Thank god for voices like the ones I’ve found here that as I do care about and will always question and fight for transparency and safety in our food system regardless of those who would oppose such things.

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EdT. April 2, 2012 at 3:31 pm

It makes one wonder if the industry and government types have been following our conversation.

~EdT.

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Matt April 3, 2012 at 7:28 am

Don’t be paranoid EdT. While you are spending the better part of your day smearing LFTB and the companies who make it you better believe there are plenty of people out there that want LFTB. You aren’t going to “brainwash” everybody.

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Hondo April 4, 2012 at 11:02 am

Matt,

I can understand the people that don’t want LFTB.

I can understand the people who just don’t care either way.

What can’t understand is why would anybody actually demand it?!?

You’re vehemence in defending the use of LFTB defies logic, since there is a sum total savings of 3-4 pennies per pound when using LFTB (and that is the total amount that using it reduces the price to the consumer). That is, your vehemence defies logic unless you are actually just a beef industry lobbyist posing as a ‘concerned consumer’.

That savings, of just a few pennies, comes at the ‘cost’ of the overall integrity of the ‘ground beef’ product since much more of the ‘lean beef protein’ that you are touting as being in LFTB is in the form of collagen and is not from the actual muscle tissue of the cattle.

Collagen is what makes up the silver-skin connective tissue that covers the individual muscles like a sheath (most people call it gristle, and any good butcher trims away as much of it as possible from cuts of beef like chuck, sirloin, or ribeye as undesirable and basically inedible). Collagen is also a main component of cartilage (which is what makes up the fairly stiff but still flexible parts of your ears and nose).

While there is no harm in eating collagen (you do to some small extent when you eat any meat product), there is also almost no actual nutritional-value in it. So the tiny cost savings when using LFTB as a filler in ground-beef is almost completely offset by the decreased usable food-value that is then available in the product.

All that being said, it’s easy to see that there should at least be labeling requirements (which there actually were until 2001, before which this product you currently call LFTB had to be labeled as ‘mechanically separate beef’) which would allow thoughtful and concerned consumers avoid it if they desired (because using it really benefits no one, except the beef processors who get to sell that last 2-3 pounds of protein off of each carcass as ‘ground beef’ instead of having to selling it to be used in making Alpo Dog food! ).

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Brad Borchers April 2, 2012 at 4:13 pm

Once again the naive few who shout the loudest gets their way. Nothing but spoiled little brats. Whats next? The ground beef is to pink, needs to be blue?

Here is the LABEL

Ingredients: BEEF, plus more LEAN BEEF.

That was easy.

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EdT. April 2, 2012 at 4:59 pm

Actually, that was indicative of dis-ingenuousness bordering on defiantly clueless. The whole “Dude, It’s Beef” thing was tiresome about the second time it was said. I personally do not believe you are that out of touch with labelling requests. Therefore, I suspect that you (and through you, the beef processing industry) have something to hide.

~EdT.

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Lauren April 2, 2012 at 5:17 pm

It may be BEEF, but it has been ALTERED, so it should be LABELED as such, just like cocoa powder that has been Dutch-processed is labeled as Dutch-Processed cocoa, and flour that has been bleached or enriched is labeled as bleached, enriched flour, and shredded coconut that has been sweetened is labeled as sweetened coconut. Get over it.

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Brad Borchers April 2, 2012 at 11:37 pm

Dear mis-informed people. How was it “altered”? They added BEEF to BEEF.

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Mary April 3, 2012 at 7:29 am

Brad is that meat not reclaimed through additional processing via a centrifuge and ammonia gas injection? That is “processed” beyond the 85% of the ground beef that is a whole piece of raw product. However I do realize you will not see it the way we do no matter how many times it is reiterated. But thankfully we do have a voice and we do vote with our dollars and the company’s that want those dollars are changing to accommodate that request. That is called a free market.

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BikerMom April 2, 2012 at 6:22 pm

Can they label ground beef that does NOT contain pink slime? That is what is needed.

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Brad Borchers April 2, 2012 at 11:41 pm

“Pink Slime” is a term coined by a ,disgruntiled, former USDA worker that a ,washed up trying to get his career restarted, reporter over used to get ratings for a segment he did. No company makes “pink slime” unless you are thinking of the stuff kids play with.

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Tracy April 2, 2012 at 11:48 pm

You’re right, Brad. There’s not really such a thing as pink slime. When I worked there it was more like an off-color brown slime. I’ve been wondering where the pink coloring came from.

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Brad Borchers April 2, 2012 at 11:59 pm

You worked there, then you know all this blown out of proportion.

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Tracy April 3, 2012 at 12:38 am

Yes, to a certain extent. However, this is a perfect example of what happens when the consumers suddenly find out that they didn’t know what exactly was going into their burger. I do not desire any of BPI’s product in my burger, and I most certainly do not desire it in my kid’s lunches. Even though I worked there I was unaware that it was so widely used by so many different companies. The public backlash that BPI is being subjected to is not completely undeserved, in my humble opinion.

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EdT. April 3, 2012 at 5:17 am

The pink coloring is the result of the treatment with ammonia.

~EdT.

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Carl April 3, 2012 at 7:29 am

Our official apologist deliberately adds more calculated misinformation to the smear. The pink color is due to the presence of myoglobin in muscle tissue, a normal and essential part of beef as it is in all creatures. Clearly EdT does not know what he blathers on about. Big surprise.

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Matt April 3, 2012 at 7:29 am

EdT…where do you get your info from? The ammonia gives it the pink color? Seriously? Seriously????

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Matt April 3, 2012 at 7:31 am

Better yet, why don’t you try and citing your “FACTS”? Oh wait, you can’t, and haven’t yet…despite being asked. You pass off your opinions as FACTS. You must be Jim Avila’s long lost brother.

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EdT. April 3, 2012 at 8:43 am

OK, let me clarify. Beef muscle tissue has a reddish color naturally. Freshly ground beef tends to have a brighter red to somewhat pinkish tint. As it oxidizes, it turns a brownish gray (one of the signs that the meat may be “turning” – the odor of decay would be the sign it has definitely turned, and should not be consumed.) One of the effects of exposing it to “ammonium hydroxide gas” is that it assumes, and maintains, a pink coloration (indicating that oxidation is being inhibited? A result of the change in pH?)

You can see a similar effect at work if you take an avocado, cut it open, put the two halves in different bowls, and squeeze lemon juice on one half. The half without lemon will turn color, to an unappetizing brown. The half with lemon, OTOH, will maintain its “normal” green.

~EdT.

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White Knight April 3, 2012 at 9:09 am

We MUST protest lemon juice on avocados!! Imagine treating my child’s avocado with lemon juice — too icky to contemplate. RISE UP, RISE UP to put despicable avocado growers out of business unless they inform us specifically of the lemon juice status of any possible mysterious processing. Thank you, EdT for bringing this heinous social injustice to our attention. No juice. No way. We are the angry mommies. Hear us roar!

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George from UC April 8, 2012 at 7:06 pm

Matt & Carl, you keep insisting on FACTS, how about Eldon Roth’s original patent 5871795 “Method for modifying pH to improve quality of meat products” that states “treatment with anhydrous ammonia gas has been shown to improve the color substantially, both at the time of treatment and during storage”.
Filed on February 21, 1997 and issued on February 16, 1999. Look it up!

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Mary April 3, 2012 at 7:57 am

The term was coined by a former USDA scientist whom was working at the USDA at the time and sent in a private internal e-mail by him to a co-worker. That e-mail was never intended to be viewed by anyone else at the time and apparently wasn’t until years later.

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Mary April 3, 2012 at 7:58 am

Bikermom the products will be labeled it seems along these lines:
“LFTB Free” or what ever other catchy names the companys will come up with to make thier product stand out from the rest.

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David Terry April 2, 2012 at 10:01 pm

So now that the “victory” has come, and the “battle” is over, where is the push to have tofu labeled? Tofu has 4x as much ammonia compared to the ground beef in question. If this was not a “smear campaign” then this group would be pushing for all products being “altered” by the use of food-grade ammonia to have labels. Obviously, this group is satisfied with their “smear campaign” and putting thousands of employees out of a job so they can put one label on one product.

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Laura April 2, 2012 at 10:58 pm

David, can you tell me what brands of tofu add NH3 aq during processing? I have called a few companies and the ones I have contacted don’t use it and are not familiar with its use in tofu manufacturing.

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Brad Borchers April 2, 2012 at 11:44 pm

I hear that trees aren’t green enough. Lets cry foul about mother nature and have her recall all trees.

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Mary April 3, 2012 at 7:33 am

LOL!

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Mary April 3, 2012 at 7:53 am

Brad I assume you will be starting a blog and leading the charge on that one? But I have to say that one seems a bit silly. Your a funny guy!

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Donna April 2, 2012 at 11:38 pm

If you go back to the original petition, you can see that it was very specifically targeted to LFTB purchased by the USDA for the school lunch program. There wasn’t any group doing a smear campaign – just an individual with an objection that was laid out for others to support or ignore. The general public’s reaction was swift and clear in supporting the petition and then, as awareness rose, people started asking questions about the beef they were purchasing for their own families. They didn’t like the answers they heard from grocers and they demanded action. LFTB may be substantively beef, but it is not what the consumer thinks of when they think of beef and therein lies the issue. If it was merely ground beef, same as all other ground beef, then it wouldn’t have a separate nomenclature “LFTB” as designated by the industry itself. Hence, it is not the same. The label could read “Beef with X% LFTB.” Then consumers could decide whether they prefer one package over another based on content and price. I’d think that BPI employees and supporters who are proud and confident in LFTB would not take objection to identifying it.

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Lenée April 3, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Excellent summary, Donna. I’m frustrated when I read so many people’s assumptions about this whole issue and its origins.

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Brad Borchers April 3, 2012 at 12:02 am

Everyone wants to attack the beef producers. Where are these attacks coming from? Bettina Elias Siegel seems to be a stay at home bored mom who creates this to keep herself busy. No where could I find that she has a job or even married. She gets paid to write articals about things she knows nothing about.

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Laura April 3, 2012 at 12:33 am

Her bio is right here on The Lunch Tray.
Why would it matter if she has a job or is married? She is a concerned consumer with a right to voice and share those concerns.

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Mary April 3, 2012 at 7:51 am

If more people knew the realities of our “modern” industrial food system they would be aghast at the deplorable conditions, inhumane treatment and drug filled animals they eat every day. And many people are also afraid to question or ask for change. They are complacent in their lives and do not want it disrupted in anyway especially by people they presume to be “stay at home bored moms”.
I would dare venture to say that they whole heartedly trust the federal government to be ensuring the right thing is done 24/7 as that is what we pay taxes for. And that is what should be happening but the reality is that doesn’t happen all the time and as Americans and people whom pay taxes we have the right to ask why, where, when, how etc… and DEMAND change by the elected officials we put in those offices. There will always be someone somewhere who will disagree and some of them will throw out insults, derogatory remarks, spew their hate for those that ask the questions because intellectually it seems they have nothing more than that to offer.

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Paula April 3, 2012 at 6:54 am

Why would you bother leaving this ill-informed comments? Um–WHO is writing things to keep busy? I think the answer is obvious. And, one other point, Bettina isn’t getting paid to do this, she doesn’t have a PR machine (like the uber lobbying beef industry) and she is a reporter–reporters get information and tell the story. I say, bravo to Bettina!

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Erin April 4, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Beg to differ she hasn’t ever received money for being on talk shows or the news….do you do her taxes? If not none of us know who gets paid its an assumption

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Bettina Elias Siegel April 4, 2012 at 12:22 pm

Erin: I have received no compensation whatsoever from any television appearance in connection with this controversy. Shows like ABC News, etc. do not pay those they interview. To appear on Anderson Cooper I was flown from Houston and put up in a hotel at the show’s expense, the customary practice for all guests who live outside of the NYC area.

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Brian B April 3, 2012 at 6:43 am

Is it true that Bettina went to Harvard Law and graduated with President Obama and they are good friends?? I read her Bio and I know President Obama went to Harvard Law from 88-91 as well…..

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Brian B April 3, 2012 at 7:08 am

Hey Laura of course the Tofu companies arent going to tell you that their product has NH3 because then we would be here talking about how to get Tofu back in our stores…..

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Laura April 3, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Cite your sources, please.
This is the 3rd time I have asked someone to name a brand of tofu that is treated with NH3 aq (when they have brought it up), and to date, no one has been able to come up with one.
I’m not saying that no tofu has ever been prcessed with NH3 aq; I would love more information on it.
There is a difference though, between a process being allowed and a process actaully being implemented. The fact that it is allowed on tofu, does not mean it actually happens.

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Chris Beasley April 3, 2012 at 7:47 am

BETTINA,

You seem like a well informed educated individual. I believe your goal was to have the LFTB labeled so you and others have a choice to decide to eat it or not. My issue is with the words you chose to portray this product which were inflammatory and misleading. The constant reference to a derogatory term were unfair, ( I know life is not fair). I have not read all of your LFTB articles so I am not sure if you have cleared this up or not with your (now my fellow) bloggers, If a child is mentally challenged, I do not let my children refer to them as anything but, no aka’s or other derogatory names. Anything else is used to incite a negative emotion. Please take the time and let your bloggers know that this is an issue you have with a product and the way it is labeled or not labeled, and remove all other derogatory names for it in your posts and peoples comments. I believe in this product 100%, would and do eat it, would and do let my children eat it and make my living keeping one of the plants that produce it running. I believe wholly in choice, yours and mine. Letting my opinion sway others with misleading labels would not be responsible or fair. I hope I am making sense in what I am asking. I am very new to blogging.

“Even at Harvard Law School, well before the launch of his political career, Barack showed a remarkable ability
to hear all sides of an issue find the common ground to bring people together. Now more than ever, we need
these traits in a president of the United States.”
–Bettina Elias Siegel, Harvard Law School classmate of Sen. Obama

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Mary April 3, 2012 at 9:53 am

Bettina never asked for it to be labeled in the petition. The petition asked that the product be removed from the national school lunch program.

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Chris Beasley April 3, 2012 at 10:42 am

Mary,

I’m not trying to be augmentative here but I do not know what is in nor did I read Bettina’s petition. I will take the time to read it now though. I was referring to the articles I had read and the comments by other people as I thought I made clear in my first post. As I said before I am new to this so any help you can provide me in proper blogging etiquette would be greatly appreciated.

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EdT. April 3, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Chris – here is a good rule of thumb for blogging/commenting etiquette (and it’s also applicable to life in general):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wil_Wheaton#Wheaton.27s_law

~EdT.

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EdT. April 3, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Also, in case you haven’t seen it yet – an even better source on information on etiquette, tailored to this specific site (but again, good rules of thumb for commenting on blogs in general.)

http://www.thelunchtray.com/a-message-and-a-warning-to-commenters/

~EdT.

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Chris Beasley April 3, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Thank you EdT. I have read Bettina’s article and I haven’t made it through Wil Wheaton’s wiki yet but I plan on it.

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EdT. April 3, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Chris – one thing to keep in mind when reading Wil Wheaton’s law: do not read into it any sort of implication on my part regarding your behavior so far. It is simply the first thing that comes to mind when people ask about blog-comment etiquette.

Cheers!
~EdT.

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Mercy April 3, 2012 at 1:58 pm

It is such a wonderful blessing to have EdT policing this comment board. What would we ever do without him? None of us would know how to act. Thank the good Lord Ed is ready at hand to tell us how he wants it done. EdT is a national treasure.

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Bettina Elias Siegel April 3, 2012 at 2:28 pm

Agreed. LFTB supporters seem to think Ed is my personal flunky but in fact (a) we have never even met and (b) I had no idea how valiantly he was defending his position on these boards. He has done so with grace and humor and I am profoundly grateful to him for that.

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Mercy April 3, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Ed is so definitely not a troll. Sure he re-posts the same 2 or 3 soundbites over and over but he is riding to the rescue. Eds diversion is crucial at times like this. Now that Bettina deletes opposing opinions Ed can take a well earned vacation. Way to go Ed!!!

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Bettina Elias Siegel April 3, 2012 at 9:52 pm

Just to be clear, Mercy, I’m not deleting “opposing” opinions, just ones that are not civilly expressed. :-)

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tj April 4, 2012 at 12:11 pm

i hope and pray that someday all you hollier than god men and women that have anything 2 do with this in a negative way are post your comments about “how this is so bad they didnt label this wawawa stuff and o feed it 2 your kids then blah blah blah.. UMMM HELLO ALL OF YOU HAVE BEN EATING IT AND FEEDING IT 2 YOUR KIDS 4 YEARS AND OBVIOUSLY YOUR FINE!!!! But anyways i hope somday all of you have 2 go thru the adversity the people that all of you help put out of work have 2 go thru! i hope your husbands wifes life partners are whatever lose there jobs and you have 2 find somthing like a job rather than make somthing up that hurts so many!!!

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Paul April 4, 2012 at 12:39 pm

None of us are happy that you or others lost your jobs over this, but lets be honest here. If it was known sooner, like lets say 1990, that this was going to be in our ground beef, this being the cheap filler known as LFTB, then you would not have been employed making this stuff at all. For 20 years, unbenounced to the consumer, ground beef has been cut with a cheap filler and now that we know, we don’t want it. There are cases like this where consumer no longer demand a product and that company goes out of business. It is the nature of business, unfortunate, but the nature of it. Good luck and best wishes in finding new work – and I mean that.

Mary April 4, 2012 at 9:55 am

@Chris, No problem. For humors sake for everyone here are a few things I’ve learned about posting comments.
Lessons learned:
1. Someone will misread it
2. Someone will read into it
3. It is guaranteed someone will just plain flat out assume you’re picking a fight and attack you
4. After the “attack” you’ll be wondering; “what the heck?!”
5. Most people do not get sarcasm when it’s in writing. 
6. Some people just enjoy being mean, nasty, vulgar, insulting etc…
7. Some people just can’t control their impulsiveness and post the first thing they are thinking which is usually an insult of some manner.
8. Things not to discuss on a blog! Politics, religion, birth control, abortion and LFTB. ;)
9. MOST people do not check facts before they make a post about ANYTHING. Check your facts, it keeps the attacks down!
10. Your own Opinion is completely irrelevant, pointless, misleading, a lie as well as elitist, arrogant, obnoxious and argumentative to anyone falling into numbers 1, 2, 3, 6 and 7.
Happy commenting!!!!!

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KIM April 3, 2012 at 9:22 am

Well said Chris

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julie April 3, 2012 at 9:59 am

So everybody is upset about pink slime—or lean finely textured beef, which is treated by having a gas blown on it to keep it safe. The LFTB also makes the hamburger leaner, so we have less obese people. That said, now instead of being able to use 1/2 of the cow to make hamburger they now can only use 1/4 or less of the cow to make your hamburgers. So this means that your next cheeseburger can cost 20 dollars or more. Really want that? Eat chicken or pork you say? They are going to want as much $$ as the beef producers are getting because the beef guys now have to raise more cattle. Which in turn is going to raise the cost of grain because you have to feed the animals, which will raise the price of your cereals, syrups, and boxed food. Glad that we got rid of the pink slime and put even more people out of work.
Oh, one last thing, I hope that you never eat cold meat, cheese, puddings, condiments, relish, jam, jelly, cereals, sport drinks, eggs, fish, fresh veggies and fruits or beer. Because all of these are treated with the same or in the same family of gasses that the pink slime is treated with. So now what do we feed our kids?

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Bri April 3, 2012 at 10:27 am

Here’s the thing…I get local grass-fed beef for less than some grocery stores are already charging for the industrial stuff that contains LFTB. And it’s not fattier than the LFTB variety. (Even if it were, the fat of grass-fed cows is substantially less damaging to human health than grain-fed cows.) Besides, trying to dangle the “it makes people less obese” argument seems pretty shaky to me, given that the national obesity rate, especially among children, has skyrocketed during the exact same period of time that LFTB has been in our food supply. So throwing out red herrings about reduction in obesity is really a weak argument.
As to what I should feed my kids? Well, I already don’t feed them boxed foods. I already don’t feed them cereal. I already don’t feed them commercial puddings, sports drinks, and beer. :-) As to the other items you listed, I source them responsibly and generally get them just-picked from organic local farmers who are decidedly NOT using ammonia gas on their items. And lest you decide this makes me an elitist, affluent foodie: I spend less on this food than I did when we bought “regular American” groceries. So let’s not perpetuate the myth that untreated, unprocessed foods are totally unaffordable, or that it’s impossible to properly feed a family without the use of such.

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julie April 3, 2012 at 12:11 pm

I did not say that unprocessed foods are out reach for cost wise, because I know they are not. This was not directed to you personally But think how many americans buy pre-packaged food? How many buy cold meat and puddings for their kids lunches? or snacks? and please really???? You know darn well that the comment about beer was not directed at kids, smiley face or not. And the obese rate has gone up not because of LFTB but because of High Fructose Corn syrup and video games, and parents that are too busy to make anything from scratch for meals. I made my kids go outside to play for at least an hour after school, I cooked home cooked meals, when they got to high school I encouraged them to go out for sports, both eat all food groups, and choose healthy foods over junk, and are at normal weights. Video games went away during the school year, they were allowed only during summer break and winter break.
I also never said you were a food elitist grass fed beef is great if and when you can find it, and if it happens to be cheaper then regular beef.
Now because I really don’t like beef, I don’t eat it that much, but that was not my point in the first place, my point was that beef prices (including grass fed) will go up in price, along with every other food in markets and most likely farmers markets also.
One last thing, not to be mean or anything but even if you buy from organic farmers this does not mean that the farmer next door or down the road is organic and winds blow, so you still may not be getting 100% pure organic food.

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Bri April 3, 2012 at 12:43 pm

You’re absolutely correct that obesity has not gone up because of LFTB. My point was that neither is there any kind of argument to be made that LFTB reduces obesity.
As to the rest of your points — you’re right that you weren’t speaking specifically to me, but I can only speak from my experience. And the real overarching point here is that yes, we SHOULD be worried about ammonia being added to all those processed foods, we SHOULD be worried about what’s in cold cuts and packaged puddings and so forth, and what’s really needed — radical or not, price-inflating or not — is a whole change in the way Americans view food and how we feed our children. The idea that we should not question what is in what we eat because it may drive up prices or challenge people’s perceptions of what’s a good thing to pack in their kids’ lunchboxes doesn’t sit well with me.

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Tracy April 3, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Seriously now, julie, your cheeseburgers didn’t cost $20 before BPI came along and they won’t cost $20 after BPI is gone.

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julie April 3, 2012 at 12:23 pm

the price of feeder cattle (the babies that are bought to be grown and fattened up for market) has been going up since this pink slime came out they have gone up in head by more then 75 dollars a head just since the plants that make the “pink slime” closed down. If the cost of the producer goes up to buy the calf’s then the price goes up when those animals are fat enough to take to market which means that the slaughter house has to pay more, which means the market has to pay more which means You will have to pay more.
feeder cattle today in Iowa is now 115.00 dollars a head.

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Tracy April 3, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Two cheeseburgers, a small fry, and a large vanilla iced coffee please. And hold the LFTB, even if there is a fluctution in price based on temporary market conditions!

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Laura April 3, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Julie, are you saying that a month ago, the average price for feeder cattle was $40/head and now it is $115?
Can you please point me toward where I can find that information? I did a little looking around, but I couldn’t find any historical data about what feeders cost in the past.
Thank you.

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Laura April 3, 2012 at 2:37 pm

I did find this, from 2011, which seems to indicate that the prices have been increasing due to drought conditions and limited supply and expected to increase further.
http://blogs.extension.iastate.edu/iowabeef/2011/01/
And if I am reading these tables correctly, the price/head for feeders was well over $100 last year.
http://www.lemarssentinel.com/story/1767148.html

I may be misunderstanding some of this information, so if you can offer any insight, that would be great.

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Karen April 4, 2012 at 9:42 am

What’s really puzzling is that Julie says the price per head of cattle has gone up since this whole thing started, while on another comment to another post, someone else (who is raising beef cattle) says she expects to get $10 less per head in this market because demand for beef is going to go down. Chaos in the marketplace; what is happening is agribusiness and the processed food industry is changing and there are a lot of tough days ahead for those deep in it.

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Erin April 4, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Okay for those not in the live stock market….when the slaughter house has to pay more the price goes up….in turn demand for the product will go down….at the end of the day less cattle will be bought because supply and demand……producers want a good price per head but not overly priced because they have to have a demand to make money…..if LFTB is taken out they are stating all beef prices not just hamburger are going up.

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Paul April 4, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Yes Erin – your marco-economic principles are correct. However what is not accounted for in your commnent is that the price of the beef is going up because the cheap filler previously used to round out the ground beef is going away. You also should appropriately note that because of this cheap filler, big agriculture has made millions by using this it. If the price goes up too much as a result of the entire ground beef being 100% muscle meat, then I will buy a little less and let the supply and demand principles work themselves out.

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Paul April 4, 2012 at 11:10 am

I am concerned Bettina and other supports of eliminating pink slime from our children’s school plates and my own, that a voluntary labeling vow will create a false sense of security for us consumers. We will believe that if a package of gorund beef says it does not contain “the slime”, then it does not. Since it is really hard to track which plant the ground beef comes from compared to which plants label and don’t (even with a list of plants that do provided by the USDA), a voluntary labeling program does not cut it. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but a voluntary labeling program could easily be used to dupe consumers. The beef industry and USDA did it once already…only a mandatroy labeling program will do for “the slime”…

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Angela April 4, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Good work to Bettina and all who fought hard and signed petitions. Positive step in the right direction. To those who call this a smear campaign; – – many consumers, including me,were simply asking for labels so we can make a choice about what we eat and feed our children. If an accurate label constitutes a “smear,” then the industry is “smearing” itself.

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Anna April 4, 2012 at 3:43 pm

God Bless you and your family tj. You are right, We have been eating this stuff for years because the beef industry and the USDA decided that I didn’t need to know that my ground beef contained a cheap filler.(in my opinion this product was processed and then added to ground beef, hence filler) effectively taking away my choice. I’m sorry for anyone who has lost their job as I have personally have experienced the stress and fear associated with that a job loss, however I have and always will believe that I, and not the government and big business have a right to choose what I consume. Likewise if someone wants to consume this stuff they have that right as well. Labeling this product will allow consumers to make informed choices, which we should have been able to do all along. If people want to eat LFTB there will be a demand for it and jobs restored.

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