USDA “Pink Slime” Petition Closes, My Open Letter to Supporters

by Bettina Elias Siegel on March 27, 2012

Exactly three weeks to the day after starting my Change.org petition asking USDA to remove lean, finely textured beef (“LFTB,” aka, “pink slime”) from the ground beef used in school food, I’ve decided we’ve reached an appropriate juncture to close the petition.  The final signature count: 258,632.

Here is my open letter to everyone who signed the petition, a link to which will also be circulated by Change.org:

Dear Supporters:

Only three weeks after launching my Change.org petition asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture to stop the use of so-called “pink slime” (or lean, finely textured beef – “LFTB”) in ground beef destined for school food, we’ve seen some truly extraordinary changes take place.

A mere nine days into the petition (when we’d already reached over 200,000 signatures), USDA announced that starting next school year it will offer school districts a choice of beef either with LFTB or without the filler.  And since that announcement many school districts around the country, including New York City public schools, the nation’s largest district, have indicated they will take advantage of this option and phase out the use of LFTB by this coming fall.   To have achieved this result in such a short time period is phenomenal and shows that our voices were heard loud and clear by USDA.

That said, there is still some work to be done.  Not all school districts feel they can take advantage of USDA’s choice due to cost and logistical issues.  USDA has indicated that it will have more information and guidance for districts after its vendor meeting in April.

Meanwhile, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree of Maine garnered the support of 41 House representatives in asking that USDA simply discontinue the use of any beef with LFTB in schools, the original goal of our petition.  Senators Robert Menendez (NJ) and Kristen Gillibrand (NY) have also sent letters to USDA in support of that goal.

Because we now have Congressional representatives to champion this issue on our behalf, I’ve decided that it’s an appropriate time to close my petition.  But you can continue to express your opposition to the use of LFTB in school food by visiting Stop Pink Slime.org, a website generously created and hosted by Jamie Oliver and the Food Revolution, with the endorsement of Moms Rising; Healthy Child, Healthy World; Center for Ecoliteracy; Cook For America; and Food Day.

I’d like to thank all of these organizations, as well as Congresswoman Pingree, Senator Menendez, Senator Gillibrand, Change.org, and most of all, YOU, for taking the time to sign and share my petition.

Together we have seen the power of our collective voices, and I have never felt so optimistic about the ability of parents and other concerned citizens to make meaningful, positive changes in the food served to our nation’s school children.

Thank you again.

Bettina Elias Siegel

That’s my letter to everyone who signed the Change.org petition, but now I’d like to add a message especially for Lunch Tray readers.

A while back, Ed Truitt, a fellow Houston Chronicle blogger, wrote this on his Facebook page:

Dear folks: want to see how to have a civil discussion online? How to “disagree without being disagreeable”? Then you need to check out The Lunch Tray, where Bettina Elias Siegel (and those who comment on her blog) shows us how it can be done.

I take no credit for Ed’s compliment and instead want to pass it directly on to you.  While this controversy over LFTB has been raging in the media, I’ve been taxed in ways I could have never imagined and at times I’ve been nearly absent as a moderator of the comment threads.  Yet I knew the blog was in good hands because TLT’ers were being their usual kind and thoughtful selves, making sure that the discussion remained civil even when it got heated.  So thank you all very much for that.

And even though there have been a few nasty comments directed at me personally (I deleted the worst of these but let some pass through), I want to also commend the majority of pro-LFTB commenters, most of whom are new around here, for also using a civil tone no matter how vehemently they might have disagreed with my petition.

I’ll continue to post here about LFTB as warranted but, absent some unexpected development, I’ll also resume my regular writing about “kids and food, in school and out.”

 

Do You Love The Lunch Tray? ♥♥♥ Then “like” The Lunch Tray! Join over 2,500 TLT fans by liking TLT’s Facebook page (or follow on Twitter) and you’ll get your Lunch delivered fresh daily, along with bonus commentary, interesting kid-and-food links, and stimulating discussion with other readers. You can also check out my virtual bulletin boards on Pinterest and find selected TLT posts on The Huffington Post.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Bettina Elias Siegel

{ 72 comments… read them below or add one }

Blind Justice March 27, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Here’s to BPI and their laid-off employees, that they should give you a thoroughgoing education in what it means to be “taxed” beyond your imagination. There are now a few hundred families without a paycheck thanks to you. Your personal assets won’t begin to cover the loss but it will be a start. See you in court.

Reply

Mary March 27, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Your assessment of a few hundred families without a paycheck is seemingly wrong. The employees are being paid with benefits for the two months the plants are closed according to numerous news articles.

Reply

Alice March 27, 2012 at 3:00 pm

See there, corporations are not so fundamentally greedy and evil as you foodies like to claim. Besides, it will make it much, much more convenient to tally the final cost of the damage inflicted by Bettina & her cult. It will be a lot easier for attorneys to represent BPI to recover wages and benefits paid out during the foodie-forced lay-offs. BPI continues to do the right thing…and the smart thing!

Reply

Deborah Neyens March 27, 2012 at 5:10 pm

Alice, just so you know, BPI is paying their employees for 60 days because payment is mandated under federal law. The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act requires employers to pay workers for 60 days following notice of a plant closing or mass layoff. The continued payments tell us nothing about whether or not they are greedy and evil, only that they are complying with the law.

Reply

Roy March 28, 2012 at 7:45 am

FYI – FACT: BPI is not required to do this under WARN as it was a forced shutdown. The owner, Eldon Roth, is doing this on his own. Please get FACTS before spreading your opinions as “facts”. That is what got BPI in this situation in the first place.

Reply

ben March 27, 2012 at 1:23 pm

thanks for taking the time with making your blog come to life and be a part of our lives during this pink slime controversy.

unfortunately, i don’t have any kids.

but if you get bored, perhaps a blog on adult lunch trays might be interesting to the rest of us.

ben.

Reply

EdT. March 27, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Bettina – one minor correction: the URL for StopPinkSlime.org should be http://stoppinkslime.org/ not http://stoppinklslime.org/

~EdT.

Reply

Bettina Elias Siegel March 27, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Fixed. Thanks, Ed.

Reply

Sandie LaMaster March 27, 2012 at 3:08 pm

How about reading http://www.pinkslimeisamyth.com just to increase your knowledge of the facts. It won’t hurt you to read it.

Reply

DH March 27, 2012 at 3:38 pm

I doubt she would do that no one likes being wrong

Reply

Bettina Elias Siegel March 27, 2012 at 4:04 pm

It seemed almost too obvious to say so I haven’t responded to the countless comments from LFTB supporters referring me to this industry website, but did you seriously think I’d maintain my position WITHOUT looking at the arguments offered by the other side? Of course I have visited that site, both in its first iteration as “pinkslimeisamyth” and as newly named, “beefisbeef.” I’ve also read many other pieces of information offered by beef lobbyists as well. That nothing there has changed my views must disappoint you, but I can assure you there’s no need to keep posting the link endlessly on TLT.

Reply

DH March 27, 2012 at 4:09 pm

You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him or her drink.

Sounds all to familiar here.

http://www.Beefisbeef.com

Reply

ben March 27, 2012 at 5:59 pm

Ms. Siegel,

Don’t fall prey to the “flaming”.

Most newsgroups prohibit flaming because its used to artificially stir up the pot.

Reply

I am a brainwashed food system vandal March 28, 2012 at 10:36 am

Seriously do you really think readers of TLT haven’t gone and checked the industry propped up websites? Consumers did a great deal of fact checking. We’re capable of doing our own research and voting with our dollars, and engaging in the democratic process. It sure builds credibility for BPI when two former USDA food microbiologists recommend not using this, and the former undersecretary of the USDA passes it off as food, and then later is appointed to the board of directors. There was a lot of money to be made in that deal – and mostly for BPI. A revolving door that it only takes a bit of digging to find. I can shoot holes through your facts all day long – but apparently Bettina has already done that in almost every post in the past 3 weeks. So has ABC News, the NYTimes, NPR, and an entire array of talented, tireless, passionate food bloggers and investigative journalists. So have fun leaving comments on all these sites because *obviously* we are all wrong.

Thus BPI’s “unfood” pinkslime, er, LFTB is now out of major grocery store chains and out of the several food assistance programs, and it gets labeled. So consumers can know what it is – and choose to buy it, or avoid it. In fact most other food and beverage companies have to comply with this rule so why does BPI get the opt out? @DH kinda like how you can lead a horse to water right?

The corporate puppeteering (beefisbeef and pinkslimeisamyth) and commenting on sites makes a very wrong and careless assumption that consumers are complete idiots. We’re not idiots we are brainwashed food system vandals!! #sarcasm.

We’re not – we voted – we asked for change. The facts about BPI have come out and they are not pretty – ABCNews did a great expose on this. As Mariel points out below, and many readers that have participated in civil discourse in the past 3 weeks, BPI, the beef industry, and to a greater extent USDA have lost major credibility and trust. They could begin to reverse this by taking some responsibility, and acting like a business (and the USDA as a federal agency) that wants to stay in the game by correcting their actions. Something is very wrong with BPI’s business model and product if they are closing up shop. Food borne illness outbreaks have not broken the fast food industry. The US has an insatiable appetite for beef, but now there is more demand on quality at every level, and it will probably create more consumer demand for locally raised meats by farmers and ranchers that offer it together with transparency. Don’t tell me I didn’t say I was a brainwashed food system vandal.

Bettina, keep it up. Obviously the site visits that leave insulting comments mean that you’re doing something right. Your petition has changed the food environment in a crucial way. I, and supportive readers of your site, consider your modern day muckraking a catalyst of major food policy changes.

@Peter, I’m sure the petition didn’t change anything. Since it only got a quarter of a million signatures and caused a cascade effect from major food retailers one by one pulling any beef products with LFTB, the fact that major fast food industries opted out of buying it, commercial foodservice said no, and the federal food assistance programs are now offering to allow schools a choice in what commodity food they want from beef producers, together with school districts across the nation pulling their ground beef that was filled with LFTB. You’re right. It didn’t change a thing. How silly of anyone to actually think about what is in their food and care about it. I’m certainly a brainwashed food vandal – no less probably from lurking prions in the ground vat slaughterhouse dregs which was conveniently available to me because of loops in food labeling. Watch out white slurry might be next.

Reply

Sigmund March 28, 2012 at 3:31 pm

Except, “brainwashed”, you didn’t “vote with your dollars”. Your twisted cronies railroaded industry with a nearly meaningless petition and malicious internet assault. Your cult’s petition was “signed” by fewer than one third of one percent of American consumers. So, you didn’t “vote with your dollars” in any way shape or form. We don’t expect you to be rational. Irrationality is one of the mainstay characteristics of evil foodie ideologues. That and a relentless obsession with bruising our mostly OK food system in a desperate hope negative campaigning will sell more overpriced snob food. You are, indeed, “brainwashed”. And a deliberate menace to sane society.

Reply

Peter March 27, 2012 at 2:21 pm

I’ve never felt so discouraged, learning how a handful of malicious butt-in-skis can impulsively screw with our mostly OK food supply, limit my family’s meal choices and put honest folks out of work. Your petition signers didn’t amount even to one half of one percent of American households. To say nothing of the reality that many of your “supporters” aren’t consumers of ground beef in any form at all. Consumers didn’t speak, brainwashed food system vandals did. You closed your petition because you couldn’t get even 1% of real American consumers to support it. Besides, you accomplished the damage you set out to inflict. We get it.

Reply

Amanda March 27, 2012 at 6:20 pm

Beautifully summarized!

Reply

Mary March 29, 2012 at 11:10 am

Well it seems that less than 1% of “real Americans” can and do make real changes. Why are some many afraid of transparency?
Our “mostly OK food supply” is that way because of people who continue to ask; “what is in the food I am eating?” and then making the companys and federal agencies show the people, you know the ones who pay taxes and salaries. If it weren’t for people asking these questions our “mostly OK food supply” would be filled with far inferior products across the board, such as cattle being fed other animal parts, chicken manure, shredded phone books etc… that is then given to you at premium prices to eat.

Reply

Amanda March 27, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Thanks for this wonderful letter! And thanks for your commitment to food safety in America, and to empower consumer to know and care about what’s in their food.

I’m really saddened that this great victory for food safety will have a negative impact on some families. As American demand for tobacco has gone down, people have lost jobs. As asbestos has been no longer used as a building material, people have lost jobs. We owe it to these families as a society to help them make any job transitions as painless as possible, and to support companies making transitions to producing safer, more wholesome products. And I hope we live up to that duty in this case.

Thanks again for your great efforts on this issue.

Reply

lindtfree March 27, 2012 at 6:19 pm

“Good for the economy” is NEVER an excuse to engage in production or other economic behavior that is detrimental to personal/societal health and well-being.

When the single (financial) bottom line is the ONLY thing that matters, we all ultimately become worth nothing more than our abilities to produce and to consume. In such a society, cognitive dissonance abounds: a chemical company can manufacture pollutants that cause cancer and pharmaceuticals to treat cancer, and some never notice the paradox.

I grew up near a Strategic Air Command (SAC) military base. As children, we were told we lived in a “safe” community. As adolescents, we learned that in the event of a nuclear attack, we’d be among the first to die. Why did many adults in the community support the nearby SAC base? Because it was “good for the economy.”

Too many people think they can live physically-comfortable lives only if they engage in behavior that is negative or, at best, morally neutral. This is entirely the result of social conditioning. We need other options to create a better (though still imperfect) world.

Reply

EdT. March 28, 2012 at 6:20 am

You know, associating LFTB with tobacco and asbestos certainly isn’t helping your case any.

~EdT.

Reply

Mary March 29, 2012 at 11:16 am

Okay EdT, what about comparing it to BSE (that’s the mad cow disease) or cattle being fed shredded phone books or chewing gum or that cattle being fed a grain diet causing them to have tens of thousands more counts of E Coli in thier systems than a cow that is fed hay or grass? Which in turn increases the likihood of passing that deadly disease on to humans whom consume that meat. Or that when the industry, for better profit margins, uses manufactured trimmings in raw ground beef from these animals to reduce thier costs but continue to sell it to you and me at the same or higher prices. If we never question what they are doing we will never know and there are far to many willing to put profits before safety in all industries. We should never be afraid to ask; “What am I eating?” or have it labeled for what it is (manufactured trimmings) so you and I can make an informed decision and vote with our dollars.

Reply

EdT. March 29, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Those other comparisons probably wouldn’t help the beef processing industry’s position, either.

As for your last statement, I couldn’t agree with you more.

~EdT.

Reply

ange March 27, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Beef is not beef. The low-grade trimmings used to produce lean, finely textured beef come from the parts of the cow most susceptible to contamination, often close to the hide, which is highly exposed to fecal matter. But because of the treatment of the trimmings – after they have been simmered in low heat, separating fat and tissue using a centrifuge, they are sprayed with ammonia gas to kill germs.

Reply

Roy March 29, 2012 at 7:29 am

I keep seeing people say “low-grade” trimmings. I don’t even know what “low-grade” means. There is no such thing as “low-grade” in the beef industry. Sounds like an uneducated opinion by someone who is has a malicious intent. Grades are no-roll, choice, select, and prime. The fact is, the trimmings are 100% beef. The finished product is 100% beef. There has never been an E.Coli illness traced to the over 300 BILLION meals that included LFTB. As far as the ammonia use goes, nay sayers need to do some research because ammonia is used in a multitude of foods even nay-sayers eat and will continue to eat.

Reply

Mary March 29, 2012 at 11:35 am

I think a more accurate phrase would be “beef manufacturing trimmings” as the USDA calls it. Clearly not the same as the main ingredient in ground beef which makes up 85% of the product (examples would be: chuck, loin, round). “A major cut of single-ingredient raw products.” LFTB and other items can make up the other 15%. Honestly I think many people were surprised that manufactured trimmings were in 100% ground beef because they believed that 100% ground beef meant a major cut of a single-ingredient raw product. As we come to realize all of the additional/other/similar but not exactly the same ingredients and processes that are going into the foods we eat we will most certainly keep asking the questions and demand transparency so we can make choices for ourselves and our families.

Reply

SuperMom101 March 29, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Dear Roy,

With all due respect – of course it’s 100% beef – so are the ears, eyes and tail – and I don’t want it in my 100% ground beef. I also don’t want 100% beef with growth horomones, steroids, or antibioitics – and don’t forget the genetically engineered corn that has the built in pesticides that the 100% beef gets to eat instead of graze on grass.

What specifically are “100% beef trimmings?” Sounds like something you feed the family dog and not school children.

Common sense is not so common. – Voltaire

Reply

Lenée March 29, 2012 at 8:31 pm

Hear, hear, Supermom101! Thank you!!! :)

Reply

Joyce March 29, 2012 at 11:18 pm

I guess my idea of low grade trimmings are what we toss to the dogs when doing a butcher. We refer to it as the ALPO. I feel sorry for people who don’t have fresh beef off the hoof. RAW BEEF IS RED. NOT PINK.
Sure some people have ideas about the mooing in their bedroom window and within a few months it is in your freezer. But it is grass fed 100% beef. Not scrapings off anyone’s floor. Personal butchers ask exactly how many ounces in your package of hamburger or steak or roast.
We pay alot less off the hoof than going to the grocery store. FYI, the supermarket that my son is one of the managers of said they do not use the SLIME materials, never will, and that their cost to the consumer is the same as those plugging the slime.
A good ground beef is not fine like saw dust particles. It is chunks of the quarter–whether you choose ground round or other–it is solid pieces of meat, not what I call FOAM MEAT. This crosses over to chicken nuggets, etc. FOAM meat.

I grew up all my life with home grown freezer filled meat. My dad (a SD rancher) just died last spring, so that brought the end of an era in the back yard steers, but I have been lucky to find another who talks to his herd, knows that they are a good product–feeding on the grasses, etc.

Reply

sara March 27, 2012 at 8:08 pm

For your strength, courage and knowledge, know there are many that understand what a personal toil this took. The major groups that collaborated to ensure the continuation of this work is impressive to say the least. I applaud your grace, spirit and leadership.

I am inspired and grateful to have been a part of such a movement for change.

Reply

Jen March 27, 2012 at 8:43 pm

So, should we feed our kids agent orange by the bottle just to keep oncologists in a job when they develop cancer? I think not.

Reply

Michele Hays @QuipsTravails March 27, 2012 at 8:55 pm

Misplaced anger: nobody closes 3/4 of the manufacturing operations of a billion-dollar business over a few thousand signatures. There is more to this story than meets the eye.

Either the CEO of this business really is a horrible person willing to use his employees as pawns in a PR game, or something else has been going on at Beef Products, Inc. that started prior to the recent “pink slime” coverage.

Either way, don’t shoot the messenger, please.

Reply

DH March 27, 2012 at 9:06 pm

I guess you missed all the deeply researched stories regarding pink slime, slaughter house floor scraps washed in kitchen cleaner. Which result in people complaining to their stores about their pet food quality ground beef. If nearly all your business went away over night what would you do. BPI didn’t have to keep paying employees for 2 months Eldon did it because he believes in doing the right thing. How much money do you think it cost to pay 600+ employees for 60 days. The estimate I was told was 15 million dollars. I guess that’s your idea of a horrible person.

Reply

EdT. March 28, 2012 at 6:19 am

Actually, he DID have to pay his employees for 2 months – see the comment from Deborah Neyens above.

Reply

Laura March 28, 2012 at 10:10 pm

DH, if your $15 million estimate is correct, the laid off employees are averaging $25,000 for the 2 month’s lost wages. That come out to average annual earnings of $150,00.

Reply

Mary March 29, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Wow – I want to get paid $12,500 a month!

Reply

Mariel March 27, 2012 at 9:26 pm

Bettina, in your simple act of creating an online petition to stop pink slime in schools, you helped incite one of the most impressive grass roots uprisings any of us have seen. The unholy collusion between the beef industry and the USDA, which allowed BPI to mix their cheap product into ground beef, without any requirement for labeling, is scandalous. Americans have been cheated and fed low quality beef scrap filler without their knowledge or consent. Talk about bait and switch! Why is it that the economic well-being of a big industry is more important to the USDA than the consumer’s right to know and make informed choices?

I see that a few low-class beef industry cowards have been beating you up in the comments. They can’t even make their points civilly or put together intelligent sentences. Ignore them. No last minute, trash-talking campaign is going to undo the damage that the beef industry and BPI have inflicted on themselves. They have lost consumer trust and confidence.

Americans have now seen for themselves how the beef industry puts its own financial interests ahead of being open and transparent. The beef people are really proud of their new hashtag “Beefisbeef,” even though it conjures up images of workers tossing any part of the cow into the grinder. In the confines of their processing plant who will ever know?

Study after study tells us to eat less red meat if we want to avoid chronic diseases. If that hasn’t been enough of a reason to avoid beef, BPI’s deception and arrogance will surely add fuel to the fire.

Reply

George from UC March 28, 2012 at 11:08 am

Mariel, that is the best post I have read so far. And I agree 100% with your take on the “Beefisbeef” campaign, reminds me of “parts is parts” in chicken nuggets http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_oem9BqUTI

Reply

Bettina Elias Siegel March 28, 2012 at 7:00 pm

If you’ve left a comment on TLT in recent days and are not seeing it appear, that is an indication you are in violation of my comments policy against ad hominem attacks, foul language, etc. I will allow dissenting opinions, I will not pollute TLT with ugliness. And if you don’t like my “censorship,” feel free never to come back.

Reply

Anna March 29, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Well…I see my comment did not pass your censors…and I was very carefeul not to call anyone any names. I simply explained about the hardships in our area (Gateway closing, major floods displacing hundreds of people) and now you smear the name of a good company which has done much to help the struggling people here…so that now potentially 3000 people may lose their jobs.

Why are you afraid of the truth? Your “efforts” started a fire that ran through ABC news and now has come downhill to destroy a wonderful group of hard working people. Why censor the truth?

Reply

Bettina Elias Siegel March 29, 2012 at 1:24 pm

I am not at my computer 24/7 so comments don’t always appear immediately.

Reply

christine spears March 29, 2012 at 12:19 am

Irresponible and grossly inacurate. Thanks to your “reporting” thousands of familes are out of jobs and beef which may or may not be served has a higher risk to carry the e Coli virus. Perhaps you or ABC or the Food Network all of whom have so grossy misled the public have job openings. Many are needed.

Reply

Mary March 29, 2012 at 11:46 am

Christine could you provide a list of people out of work? BPI is paying its’ employees for the two months they say the plants will be closed, so even though they are not going to work they are getting paid as if they were. I guess your post here could be considered “irresponsible and grossly inaccurate” as well.

Reply

SuperMom101 March 29, 2012 at 6:13 am

Thank you Bettina for being such an informative, thoughtful and inspirational leader in the “truthful” discussions on America’s food supply. It’s so strange, America (and her children) have never been fatter, sicker or malnourished and we can’t seem to figure out why.

Hopefully after you’ve had a well deserved rest from “Pink Slime” you’ll comment on the other pink slime – mechanically separated chicken…

Best health always!

p.s. To those (ahem) concerned industry bloggers – how much of America’s highly processed, nutritionally void, genetically engineered, antibiotic laced, steroid injected, fake, factory- farmed food supply is actually supported by tax payers like me? In my humble opinion, pink slime is a bi-product of factory farming and someone in Congress is (or was) very good friends with BPI?

Reply

Chris Stoneking March 29, 2012 at 7:38 am

I think is’t sad that the news can be totally wrong but still be credible. Showing pictures of processed chicken and calling it lftb. Listening to a disgruntled employee that claims he knows the process after 10 years. And why should 250000 people make the choices for the whole country. Check the facts people the news has lied and still making up stories of a process the have never seen.

Reply

EdT. March 29, 2012 at 11:15 am

Chris – you ask “…why should 250000 people make the choices for the whole country.” I will counter with “Why should less – far less than 250,000 people make the choice for the whole country (that we will all have to eat ground beef with LFTB)?” The industry has said their goal was to have LFTB in 100% of the ground beef – and I’ll bet that at most a few dozen people were involved in staking out that goal.

~EdT.

Reply

wewillwin March 29, 2012 at 7:40 am

hmmm..so you are taking the high road? Interesting. Well censor my comment if you must but I am still lmao at you. YOU will go down in flames with your ugly liberal rants about food. Bpi will take everything you own and will ever own in the future. That is the truth. You liberal foodies are so few and we who wants to make our own choices, number more than you ever will. That is why only 1% signed your pitiful petition. Fine, eat “all natural” as if that actually exists but dont you force my choices out of the market. I have done fact checking and obviously you have not. That is why you will be eaten alive by lawyers and paying Bpi and any other industry you maligned. I know, I know youre such a great lawyer..sure sure. Maybe that will save you money in court. I live for the day that your lies are fully exposed as does, im sure the employees and families of BPI. Well, maybe you wont post my comments but I made you read it anyway so mission accomplished. Oh, yes as a repeat of comment yesterday, 2 stores have decided that their decision was hasty and now that the lies have been exposed,will carry BPI beef. Of these 2 stores, that is a total of over 400 individual stores that are owned by these companies. Im sure many more will come back, because as i have said before, we outnumber you. Another side note, good luck with Washington helping you destroy companies. So not happening in an election year.

Reply

EdT. March 29, 2012 at 11:17 am

Yeah yeah yeah… we have heard about the “veggie libel” lawsuits before. Remember, when the beef industry sued Oprah in an Amarillo courtroom? How did that one come out, again?

Oh, yes… they found FOR OPRAH.

~EdT.

Reply

I am a brainwashed food system vandal March 29, 2012 at 3:05 pm

@wewillwin
You write “You liberal foodies are so few and we who wants to make our own choices, number more than you ever will. That is why only 1% signed your pitiful petition.”

Indeed the petition was pitiful. A measly 1%, but it changed BPI’s industry forever. Grocery store chains pulled unlabeled beef products, it changed the USDA’s position on allowing school districts to opt out, and other school districts and food service operations have opted out, including fast food. Those grocery stores that reversed their decision did so by labeling LFTB on the packages. I think most of us can agree that it was a good thing that consumers get a choice in what they are buying.

What do you and BPI have against labeling something so that consumers have a choice? Why does BPI get to opt out, but other food and beverage companies don’t? BPI will change it’s position, it’ll begin labeling – because as you point out – grocery stores will begin carrying it again, but they’ll label it. Just like food and beverage companies have reformulated foods to include more whole grains, reduce trans fats, and reduce sodium. BPI’s plants will reopen, they’ll just have to actually label what it is that they are selling.

Reply

wewillwin March 29, 2012 at 7:48 am

@michele
The closure was due to mass hysteria with the few uneducated people, the 1%, that spread their hysteria to the markets. Without the stores, no production. No more than that. You are the problem. You think that you speak for the masses. Unfortunately the stores overreacted and now are hearing from the people who actually buy the product and are now regretting their impulsiveness. I realize that you wont understand free market will but i had to try. Dont buy beef, i dont care, but I like beef and want my choice to be back in the markets. Sheeple people are the reason USA is in the mess that it is. And yes, you are uninformed as stated in your statement.

Reply

connie March 29, 2012 at 8:15 am

I want this off the market. We at my retitement community have been informed that our kitchen eill no longer use this but I would like to kbow that I willnot get it from anywhere.

Reply

SuperMom101 March 29, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Dear Wewillwin,

Not sure what you plan on winning. Don’t you think it’s so strange -America (and her children) have never been fatter, sicker or malnourished. Thankfully, after I had cancer at age 38, I changed what’s on our plates and in our glasses after discovering the truth about America’s highly processed, nutritionaly void, fake food supply and have been healthy ever since.

At my house – for the past 10 years – we focus on the quality of our food – not the quantity – no genetically modified, hormone laced, steroid injected, factory farmed food.

The simple question is: who benefits the most from pink slime? Me, my children, taxpayers or BPI?

Cheap food can be awfully expensive!

Best health always!

Reply

Anna March 29, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Community Rallies to Support BPI and their Employees
Governor Branstad and Congressman King Make Plans to Attend Picnic

SIOUXLAND: Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota – In response to the overwhelming outpouring of support from throughout the tri-state community, the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce announced today that they will be sponsoring a community picnic as a means of demonstrating support for BPI.

Iowa Governor, Terry Branstad, and Iowa’s Fifth District United States Congressman, Steve King, have confirmed that they plan to attend the event to demonstrate their support for the company and the beef industry in general, as well as the food processing and agricultural economies.

The picnic event will take place this Saturday, March 31, 2012 from 11:00 AM until 1:00 PM in the parking lot of the Tyson Events Center located at the intersection of Pierce Street and Gordon Drive in downtown Sioux City, Iowa.

Local business leaders have collectively expressed their support for the company and their product, Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB), after BPI became the victim of an internet and media campaign to undermine the company’s product.

Chamber President Chris McGowan said, “The Siouxland community has a long history of coming together during difficult times and you can be assured that the challenges BPI is facing today represent another opportunity for us to demonstrate our commitment to one another, this company, and our regional community.”

The weather forecast calls for unseasonably warm weather on this last Saturday of March and the entire Siouxland community is invited to attend the event.

The picnic will be free and open to the public. Hamburgers (that include Lean Finely Textured Beef), chips, and beverages, will be served.

Reply

Joyce March 29, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Hello, Can you tell me, does this problem also exist in Canada?

Reply

Bettina Elias Siegel March 29, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Canada made a public statement early on that it does not allow the sale of ammonium-hydroxide treated beef.

Reply

we will win March 29, 2012 at 2:54 pm

HaHA…but they do have lftb….that proved again your stupidity on the subject. Ltfb doesnt have to have that process. Your lies=fail!!!! Learn to read…this proves that all your previous posts on this subject are failures if you think lftb has to have the ammonia hydroxide…haha people ate it for years without that process. LMAO!!!! BPI wanted to help stop bacteria outbreaks, so they added the process to ensure that all the stupid people who couldnt cook their meat properly,would have an added protection against bacteria. Oh I havent laughed so hard ….now I know how “informed” you and your foodie thugs are. HAHAHA

Reply

sara March 29, 2012 at 2:27 pm
Scott March 29, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Wonder if something like this will ever happen here…..

http://www.irishcentral.com/news/No-pink-slime-here—McDonald-pump-15-million-into-Irish-and-UK-farming—Video-144599525.html

….not that I’m a fast food person, but to see McD’s support smaller local farmers AND invest in improving the industry is a good thing.

Reply

I am a brainwashed food system vandal March 29, 2012 at 4:49 pm

@ Sigmund
Actually I (and countless other consumers) did get to vote with dollars as evidenced by the grocery stores, school districts, fast food, and food service operations that promptly removed pinkslimed beef. Sucks when businesses fail to be transparent but they can only blame themselves (by shelling out dollars to fix the problem). Btw, that “malicious internet assault” is called social media, but when used by BPI and the beef industry is just passing on knowledge and truth.

Before I was actually concerned with BPI, and had believed that their track record for food safety would probably help them out in building up a case for why pinkslime didn’t need to be labeled (because even if they are filling food with lean nutritionally inferior food, at least it’s safe and lean, and that is what most people have wanted to buy in the past 20 years. I’m not even for LFTB, but I can acknowledge that and see why BPI was making such massive profits on a food byproduct.).
Why are pro-BPI supporters so devoid of engaging in any kind of civil discourse with so many commenters when you can actually state your opinion and back them up with arguments? The trend with negative comments on here is attack and avoid as if answering any questions on why consumers should know what is in there food would zap you into oblivion. I don’t even care if you pull all your facts from the two pro-beef created websites you so actively post here at least you are trying to engage. The negative comments just sound petty and childish. Just this week the USDA released a press release on the recall of beef because of potentially lethal (that’s the highest threat issued) E.coli contamination – so why is it such a cryfest to try and explore food safety concerns? Industrial livestock production is a major source of E.coli, listeria, and salmonella contamination. This is not us vs. them, this is about labeling products, exploring why those products were not deemed necessary to be labeled, and correcting the issue, and increasing transparency.

This month has been awful for red meat (a Harvard released study that demonstrated a near linear, step-wise relationship with risk of premature death with total red meat consumption, specifically beef), and instead of doing anything remotely useful in building trust, websites like TLT are slimed instead of having any kind of useful discussions. Even consumers that probably didn’t have a problem, will now have enormous reasons to avoid beef.

Reply

sara March 29, 2012 at 9:06 pm

I keep seeing the comments lawyer up. I am so sad at the thought of a Mom, with kids, having to even think of such an idea. Maybe this is why litigation is out of control. Someone, a mom with kids, steps up to try and protect kids in schools, not just hers, after doing some research and starts a petition. So happens the Mom is an attorney so I suspect there is nothing she has done that deserves such threats. But, the anguish this has to cause, I can recall. I was a mom like this with two kids when many of us had to battle BIG PHARMA for releasing drugs that were harmful. A few of us had threats, not just legal, but our families suffered. Bettina, I do not regret trying to do something that would benefit a greater good. I do not regret doing the same thing with a Trade Association after that. I do wish these folks that say LAWYER UP understood what they were saying and who was watching and reading that would be so offended and blog a completely new story.
I do not believe anyone or any group would sue a Mom with the backing of the groups you have collaborated with. Talk about killing the credibility of the MEAT Industry.
I would suggest the meat industry work with consumers, hear their concerns and just label the different types of beef they are producing. But, I would hope they would stop with the Lawyer Up part.

Reply

MG March 29, 2012 at 9:30 pm

Lawyers have children too. Lawyers are consumers of this product too. Lawyers need the FACTS on this product too. Lawyers can get sick from E.Coli too. What’s wrong with asking for the choice of being able to purchase a safe product too?

Reply

Julia March 30, 2012 at 11:31 am

Thank you Bettina for your work and desire to help us make informed choices. I just found your blog yesterday but would have signed your petition if I’d found it sooner. I have voted as a consumer with my $ for many years now and continually educate myself about the compromise of our food system, health, and environmental condition. My husband, children, family and friends are proud of my efforts as they receive the overflow of my passion. I am very thankful for the many resources available to the consumer that cover a broad spectrum of restoration of health. The lftb issue is only one piece of a larger compromise. The food supply we choose for our household is organic and I support my local farmers every month when I shop. I enthusiastically support anyone who shares the message of real food and good health for our families. They are my heros.

Reply

mom of 3 March 30, 2012 at 12:08 pm

I think my whole problem with this issue-indeed many issues brought up on this site- is that the people who advocate for the removal of a type of food (or ingredient) thinking they are doing it for “the greater good” is just overstepping bounds.
No one has a right to dictate what ayone else eats. If you don’t want to consume an item-don’t but don’t tell anyone else they shouldn’t or advocate for it’s removal.
Thinking that you know better and saying you are doing it to protect all the children not just yours is just overstepping. With all the talk about bullying lately I’ve come to notice that the bullies are really liberals who shout down opposing opininions and target people’s jobs and families to get what they want. A free society means it should be ok to have different opinions without fear that the liberals will come for you.

Reply

Laura March 30, 2012 at 12:32 pm

One of the major things being advocated for on this site is transparency of labelling allowing for informed choices. That is far different from dictating. Without knowledge, there is no true choice.

I think it is innaccurate to suggest that only liberals care about what they are eating. I think it is disingenuous for you to suggest that there are not conservatives who “shout down opposing opinions,” particularly given the abhorrent behaviour exhibited by Rush Limbaugh recently.

Reply

mom of 3 March 30, 2012 at 12:40 pm

Do you find Ed Schultz and Bill Mahr equally abhorrent?

Obviously there will be conservatives and liberals alike who do not do what the majority do. In the interest of space I only mentioned liberals because it went toward my point. I’m sorry if you were confused by that.
I do know that there are conservatives who care about what they eat-I happen to be one. My point is it is my business alone to make the choices -personal responsibility I believe it’s called.

Reply

sara March 30, 2012 at 12:44 pm

as a once registered democrat and once registered republican and now a non-registered anything except consumer, I just want my world to be transparent and the ability to read a label and decide for myself as to what I will but and from where. I prefer to buy clothes made in the USA. I need that labeled. I prefer to buy paint with no VOC’s or toxic inhalants so I need that labeled. I prefer to buy fresh unfarmed fish and I want that labeled. I prefer to buy my apples with no pesticides as I have a huge history of cancer in my family and I need that apple labeled. I think the same holds true for my beef. I just want 100% ground sirloin that has not been treated with anything and I will take my chances as to how I cook it so as to try and avoid e-coli, etc.

Reply

Bri March 30, 2012 at 9:52 pm

I think the one thing you may be missing — with all due respect — is that in saying “no one has the right to dictate what anyone else eats,” ironically, you’re making the same argument Bettina is making. By not telling people this is in their beef, BPI has been essentially dictating to consumers that they MUST eat LFTB — all Bettina asked for was a way to inform people so they could make their own choices about it. Which, I think, is exactly the kind of thing you’d support. I don’t care if you want to eat it or not. I just don’t want to be forced to eat it because I wasn’t told it was there.
That’s the root of all the arguments that are made on this site, actually. If you are feeding my kid something without me being there, or without me knowing what’s in it, and without consulting me…then you’re dictating the choices for my family. By keeping responsibility solely in the hands of parents, everybody wins. But parents can’t make responsible informed decisions if they aren’t given an opportunity to do so.
And, again, all due respect…Who’s been doing the majority of the bullying on these threads? I’ve been watching for days as vitriol, hate speech, and profanity are levied at Bettina by the pro-LFTB crowd. I daresay those bullies are not the “liberals” of whom you speak. Are you giving them a pass because they agree with your point of view, or are you as disgusted by their lowbrow behavior as you appear to be by “liberals?”

Reply

Laura March 30, 2012 at 9:58 pm

Thank you, Bri — this is exactly what I was trying to say.
Although I must admit, I have been disappointed in some of the behaviour on both sides.

Reply

Bri March 31, 2012 at 8:41 am

Certainly. No one’s faultless.

Reply

Helane Shields April 1, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Seventy percent of US hamburger contains up to 25% per pound of “pink slime” which consists of the slaughterhouse floor wastes treated with ammonia and water to kill E. coli and Salmonella bacteria.

The problem is, ammonia does NOT inactivate mad cow prions which may be part of the ankle-deep muck of blood, fats, tissue and scraps on the floor:

Slaughterhouses are required to remove “SRM” – specified risk materials- the parts of a cow with the highest concentrations of prions. SRM include the skull, brain,ganglia, eyes, tonsils, spinal cord and small intestine. Power tools, including chain saws, are used to cut up the carcasses.. It is unavoidable that potentially prion infected wastes from high risk tissues end up on the blood-soaked slaughterhouse floors – to be incorporated into the pink slime. See pink slime video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByxaIr2Cs-Y

Alzheimer’s is a prion disease – 6 million US victims Dr. Claudio Soto, Univ/Texas .http://www.alzheimers-prions.com/pdf/CLAUDIO-SOTO-CONFIRMS-AD-IS-PRION-DISEASE-OCT-2011.pdf and http://www.alzheimers-prions.com/ .

Pink slime is a likely pathway to deliver infectious prions to an unsuspecting public, including school children at risk for autism which has reached epidemic proportions.. The Prion Institute in Alberta, Canada, is studying Autism as a prion disease
http://prioninstitute.ca/index.php?pahttp://prioninstitute.ca/index.php?page=webpages&menucat=42&id=26&action=displaypage&side=1ge=webpages&menucat=42&id=26&action=displaypage&side=1

The USDA provides 7 milllion pounds of pink slime hamburger for US school lunches.

Helane Shields, Alton, NH hshields@tds.net

Seventy percent of US hamburger contains up to 25% per pound of “pink slime” which consists of the slaughterhouse floor wastes treated with ammonia and water to kill E. coli and Salmonella bacteria.

The problem is, ammonia does NOT inactivate mad cow prions which may be part of the ankle-deep muck of blood, fats, tissue and scraps on the floor:

Slaughterhouses are required to remove “SRM” – specified risk materials- the parts of a cow with the highest concentrations of prions. SRM include the skull, brain,ganglia, eyes, tonsils, spinal cord and small intestine. Power tools, including chain saws, are used to cut up the carcasses.. It is unavoidable that potentially prion infected wastes from high risk tissues end up on the blood-soaked slaughterhouse floors – to be incorporated into the pink slime. See pink slime video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByxaIr2Cs-Y

Alzheimer’s is a prion disease – 6 million US victims Dr. Claudio Soto, Univ/Texas .http://www.alzheimers-prions.com/pdf/CLAUDIO-SOTO-CONFIRMS-AD-IS-PRION-DISEASE-OCT-2011.pdf and http://www.alzheimers-prions.com/ .

Pink slime is a likely pathway to deliver infectious prions to an unsuspecting public, including school children at risk for autism which is approaching epidemic proportions.. The Prion Institute in Alberta, Canada, is studying Autism as a prion disease

http://prioninstitute.ca/index.php?page=webpages&menucat=42&id=26&action=displaypage&side=1

The USDA provides 7 million pounds of pink slime hamburger for US school lunches.

Helane Shields, Alton, NH hshields@tds.net

Reply

James April 3, 2012 at 1:37 am

Great job. You need to take on genetically modified food next! If they think it is so safe, why are they so against labelling it as such?

Reply

Maria December 13, 2012 at 6:46 am

i take it that people who buy their food from a supermarket in america have never seen a supermarket assistant take a piece of meat (ie it’s still in one piece), put it in a mincer and watch the mince coming out of it (for beef, we always put it in twice) – this is the way we always buy minced beef (and pork) where i live – it is never pre-minced for me – i choose the piece i want to be minced, and the it’s done before my eyes

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 8 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: