Pink Slime Uproar Forces the Beef Industry to Fight Back
A couple of months ago, the words “pink slime” meant little to most Americans, as the general public was blissfully unaware of the prevalence of ammonia-treated filler in some beef purchased in supermarkets and fast food chains.
But after celebrity chef Jamie Oliver gave us a glimpse behind the beef processing curtain during an episode of his show, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, reports of the practice and concern over pink slime spread quickly. The USDA and several industry experts spoke up to insist that ammonia-treated meat is safe to consume, but that didn’t erase the popular image widely believed to be the filler, oozing from a plant tube like strawberry soft serve, from the public consciousness.
(Click here for the image, if you think you can stomach it).
Throughout the last two months, the food industry has responded to communal concerns by pulling the product, referred to by the industry as lean finely textured beef, from shelves and kitchens. McDonald’s led the charge by announcing that it stopped using it last year and two of the country’s largest supermarket operators, Safeway and Supervalu, announced last week that they would stop buying it. The USDA stepped in earlier this month to say that it would allow school districts to opt out of serving it to students.
All this negative attention has taken a toll on the beef industry, and Beef Products Inc., the country’s top producer of lean finely textured beef, is not happy—particularly because it says that the pink slime uproar is steeped in myth and half truths. The private South Dakota-based company says that the circulating photo and description of pink slime actually depicts chicken filler and that its products are all made from 100 percent beef.
The company is trying to spread the word with a “Facts About Pink Slime” page on its new website, www.beefisbeef.com.
But this public education initiative might be a case of too little, too late for BPI. On Monday, it announced that it will shut down production at three of its four plants for 60 days.
“This is a direct reaction to all the misinformation about our lean beef,” said Beef Products Corporate Administrator Rich Jochum, adding that the temporary closure could become “a permanent suspension.”
See Related Stories from Business Review USA:
Specifically, the private South Dakota-based company is suspending operations at plants in Garden City, Kansas; Amarillo, Texas and Waterloo, Iowa. The plant at its headquarters is the one continuing operations and about 200 employees at each of the other three plants will receive full salary and benefits during the suspension.
Barry Carpenter, CEO of the National Meat Association released a statement Monday to give his take on the situation.
“At a time when so many Americans struggle to put a healthy, nutritious meal on their family’s dinner table, the unfounded mischaracterization of lean finely textured beef as ‘pink slime’ is unconscionable,” said Carpenter. “I am sure the public is not aware of how widespread and potentially devastating the consequences of allowing public misconception to trump sound nutritional science are.”
The American Meat Institute also chimed in, uploading the following video to YouTube in an effort to educate consumers about the product:
G7 Summit guide: What it is and what leaders hope to achieve
Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand, you’ll have seen the term ‘G7’ plastered all over the Internet this week. We’re going to give you the skinny on exactly what the G7 is and what its purpose on this planet is ─ and whether it’s a good or a bad collaboration.
Who are the G7?
The Group of Seven, or ‘G7’, may sound like a collective of pirate lords from a certain Disney smash-hit, but in reality, it’s a group of the world’s seven largest “advanced” economies ─ the powerhouses of the world, if you like.
The merry band comprises:
- The United Kingdom
- The United States
Historically, Russia was a member of the then-called ‘G8’ but found itself excluded after their ever-so-slightly illegal takeover of Crimea back in 2014.
Since 1977, the European Union has also been involved in some capacity with the G7 Summit. The Union is not recognised as an official member, but gradually, as with all Europe-linked affairs, the Union has integrated itself into the conversation and is now included in all political discussions on the annual summit agenda.
When was the ‘G’ formed?
Back in 1975, when the world was reeling from its very first oil shock and the subsequent financial fallout that came with it, the heads of state and government from six of the leading industrial countries had a face-to-face meeting at the Chateau de Rambouillet to discuss the global economy, its trajectory, and what they could do to address the economic turmoil that reared its ugly head throughout the 70s.
Why does the G7 exist?
At this very first summit ─ the ‘G6’ summit ─, the leaders adopted a 15-point communiqué, the Declaration of Rambouillet, and agreed to continuously meet once a year moving forward to address the problems of the day, with a rotating Presidency. One year later, Canada was welcomed into the fold, and the ‘G6’ became seven and has remained so ever since ─ Russia’s inclusion and exclusion not counted.
The group, as previously mentioned, was born in the looming shadow of a financial crisis, but its purpose is more significant than just economics. When leaders from the group meet, they discuss and exchange ideas on a broad range of issues, including injustice around the world, geopolitical matters, security, and sustainability.
It’s worth noting that, while the G7 may be made up of mighty nations, the bloc is an informal one. So, although it is considered an important annual event, declarations made during the summit are not legally binding. That said, they are still very influential and worth taking note of because it indicates the ambitions and outlines the initiatives of these particularly prominent leading nations.
Where is the 2021 G7 summit?
This year, the summit will be held in the United Kingdom deep in the southwest of England, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosting his contemporaries in the quaint Cornish resort of Carbis Bay near St Ives in Cornwall.
What will be discussed this year?
After almost two years of remote communication, this will be the first in-person G7 summit since the novel Coronavirus first took hold of the globe, and Britain wants “leaders to seize the opportunity to build back better from coronavirus, uniting to make the future fairer, greener, and more prosperous.”
The three-day summit, running from Friday to Sunday, will see the seven leaders discussing a whole host of shared challenges, ranging from the pandemic and vaccine development and distribution to the ongoing global fight against climate change through the implementation of sustainable norms and values.
According to the UK government, the attendees will also be taking a look at “ensuring that people everywhere can benefit from open trade, technological change, and scientific discovery.”