Because I was traveling yesterday, a lot of you heard the NPR All Things Considered Story about pink slime before I did and you gave me good feedback, for which I was grateful.
But when I finally could hear the report myself, I was not so happy. Just FYI, here’s what I sent this morning to reporter Allison Aubrey’s editors:
While I was glad for the opportunity to speak with NPR about pink slime yesterday, reporter Allison Aubrey greatly mischaracterized my position on the substance. She said in her report that on my blog The Lunch Tray I “pointed out that it’s [pink slime] treated with ammonia, something [I] use as a cleaning agent.”
In none of my posts on The Lunch Tray (or in my conversation with Ms. Aubrey) did I ever mention “cleaning agents” — a conscious choice — and therefore I was disturbed to hear her put those words in my mouth. Indeed, I once publicly criticized Jamie Oliver, otherwise my ally against pink slime, for doing a demonstration on his Food Revolution show in which he doused beef with household ammonia, a stunt I found hyperbolic and potentially misleading.
By implying that I started this campaign because I’m afraid of ammonia hydroxide (which I am not) greatly misrepresents my position and undercuts my credibility in the eyes of the beef industry and the public. I oppose pink slime because it comes from a highly pathogenic source, it is a cheap filler which is not “ground beef” as consumers commonly understand that term, because it is thought to be less nutritious than regular beef, and because it is widely used in our food supply without any disclosure to consumers.
Bettina Elias Siegel
[Ed Update: An on-air correction was read by NPR the next day.]