Second Take

So, yesterday I wrote about how easy it is to respond to something negatively, and how hard it is to take that extra time to calm down, rethink your words and decide what information is helpful, and which is unnecessary.

It’s not an easy task, and it’s hard to rewrite something that you feel strongly about…in fact, my husband loved the original article that I had wrote. But, I must admit, he’s a stir-the-pot kind of guy.

And so, after lots of thought, a late night Facebook conversation with a friend, and a bit of research, I scrapped a good portion of my original article and started with a fresh page. I included much of the same information, just minus the daggers. And this is what I came up with:

Pink slime. It’s an unfortunate name for a great product that took a giant hit thanks to social media and a misinformed public.

 

Some blame the company, some blame the marketers and others blame consumers. But the truth is, it doesn’t matter.

 

The fact of the matter is that beef is beef. And the product that was produced was some of the safest and cheapest beef that could be purchased.

 

In a world where food budgets are tight and conservation of all resources is coveted, one would think that this particular beef product would be hailed as a great thing – and it should be.

 

But when you refer to something as “slime,” and you throw out incorrect images and saturate the media with incorrect information, well, we’ve seen firsthand what happens.

 

So, why correct the photo? Because if someone were to post a picture of a tomato next to an article about the dangers of apples, wouldn’t you question their research and integrity? But if no one says a thing about it, and people aren’t aware of the difference between tomatoes and apples, they’d never know that the information they are getting is wrong.

 

Here’s why the picture is so important: No one is questioning the safety of the meat. Every medical and food safety organization willing to speak out has backed this beef product. No one is questioning the taste of the product. People have been consuming it for years and never tasting a difference. Simply put, beef is beef.

 

So, if it isn’t safety and it isn’t taste, then what is it? The only thing left is its visual. And when the wrong visual is being used, how can someone make a fair judgment?

 

The “meaty pink noodles” on the plate? They look just the same as any ground beef straight from the grinder. But don’t fear; they lose their noodle look the minute you make them into a patty.

 

Many foods are made from what was once a “waste” product. Take for instance baby carrots. We used to throw away tons of carrots that weren’t fit for supermarket shelves, whether it be from deformity or blemishes, etc. Now those carrots are whittled down and eaten at picnics by the bag. But no one called them “carrot compost.”

 

And Pringles even tells you on its label that they aren’t potato chips. But no one refers to them as “potato paste.”

 

The beef industry for years has improved upon its resources and ability to provide healthy, affordable cuts and types of meat for every consumer. New steak cuts and better use of meat is always a goal.

 

The saddest part of the story? By discontinuing the use of this particular beef product, it is estimated that we will need an additional 1.5 million head of cattle each year. And in a world where conservation and getting the most from every resource is necessary, that’s a loss for everyone.

 

Our ancestors would not be proud. But then again, they didn’t have Facebook.

 

So, how did I do? Is the tone better? Less defensive? What could I improve upon? And please, if you feel the urge to do so, leave a comment on the newspaper’s site, so that they can hear your thoughts and your concerns…we can only change conceptions when we’re involved in the conversation.

12 thoughts on “Second Take

  1. I love the comparison of the carrots! Or how about “Munchies”…pretty much crumbs our favorite snacks put in a bag and marketed.

    • Oooh! Good one! I may have to do more research and come up with a list of recycled foods…or foods that were once just considered waste, but we’ve found uses for! :) Thanks for the idea…anyone have others?

  2. As I understand the controversy it isn’t the ‘waste’ meat that is the problem. The problem is that someone believes that chlorine is being added to the meat to kill bacteria. What is the truth, that is what I want. I can decide for myself if I want to eat this stuff or not. After all Sausage and hot dogs are made up of waste meat too.

    • Chlorine has no part of the equation…none whatsoever. (Well, except for maybe in the cleanup after-the-fact, but that’s a housekeeping issue, not a food issue.) The process that is used is actually called ammonia hydroxide, and no, it’s not the same ammonia that people clean with. This is a gas that is used to eliminate the pathogens that are naturally found on foods, such as E. coli. As we strive for safer food sources, advances such as this help eliminate some of the dangers present in many foods, and it’s not limited to beef. This same process can be used on vegetables, breads, fruits, juices, condiments, etc.

    • Good point…but if they don’t read it, I don’t reach anyone. I’m hoping that my submitted post reached a middle ground. I’m still learning, which is a good thing!

  3. I did a MS word compare to see the changes. I thought you did an excellent job of keeping the info clear and the emotional level subdued. This certainly has been an interesting week of farm women blogs – from the price of feed (ethanol controversy), to backyard turkeys vs factory raised, child labor legislation, pink slime, farmers hosting weddings in Vermont (neighborhood noise), fork to farm dinner raided in Nevada. There must be something going around. thanks for the post.

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