Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Latest on Pink Slime/Ground Beef and Our Food Supply

Some of you may be aware of the uproar over Lean Finely Textured Beef (or "pink slime"), a version of ground beef that's like ground beef, but different. The issues at play—food safety and the more transparent labeling of our food—are essential ones that hopefully will receive more attention now that this issue has exploded.

Five to ten minutes spent reading several articles on the pink slime avalanche will get you caught up on the political, economic and marketing factors that have made it a great metaphor for our modern food supply.

First, read Mark Bittman's piece ("The Pink Menace") in the online edition of today's New York Times. In addition to offering a summary of the story, Bittman believes the determination of food policy may be swinging to the consumer:
"[T]he public outcry over pink slime is justified, encouraging and impressively effective . . . And this is how it’s going to be from now on; public pressure will increasingly determine policy, and not only in food: 'Before the Internet,' says Bill Marler, a food safety lawyer, 'companies and governments simply made decisions, assuming the public didn’t need to know or even care what was in their food. That is no longer the case.'”
(This is why all of us must fill out online petitions, call food companies and contact our elected politicians.)

Second, Marion Nestle, in her "Food Politics" blog, offers a more straightforward summary.

Third, read Helena Bottemiller's article in Food Safety News that discusses the politics and economics of the controversy.

Last, below is Jon Stewart's take on the situation, (from last week, so not up-to-date, but very funny). If you are receiving The Delicious Truth via email, click here to watch.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just a warning that might help someone out there:
My granddaughter was just released from the hospital where she was taken for acute bloody diarrhea and dehydration. She improved and was released before the diagnosis of food-borne salmonella was available due to the time it takes for the sample cultures to grow out in the lab, so for a period of time there was concern that she had the dreaded e. coli. What we learned, and what my warning is: bloody diarrhea in a child is almost ALWAYS due to a bacterial infection. In the case of e. coli, waiting to treat can be fatal. Treatment in the form of IV fluids must be started asap to protect the kidneys from permanent damage from toxins released by the bacteria. Don't wait! And antibiotics are NEVER TO BE GIVEN for diarrhea because if it is e. coli as they will cause the dying bacteria to release a flood of toxins all at once that the kidneys may not be able to handle. Bloody diarrhea in a child = immediate trip to the emergency room and NO antibiotics -- do not wait! .

PS, she is doing better and the county health department is in the midst of searching for the cause -- she was on vacation and was not in her home state at the time of exposure.

Chef Rob said...

Scary, but glad to hear your granddaughter is doing better. Thanks for the important information.