Last week I wrote about how Governor Rick Perry and two other governors were setting a bad example by sampling pink slime just to prove to all of us over-reacting Americans that it’s perfectly safe. One reader commented to me, “200 of my neighbors just lost their jobs today because of stupid people like you. They thank you.” Then I got an email from a friend who stated that boycotting pink slime will only make prices go up and lead to more economic struggles for blue collar factory workers. While I do feel bad when anyone loses a job, if these beef plants lose money for feeding Americans crap, then that’s a good thing. When is money going to stop being more important than health in this country?
NPR just reported on the “economic impact of killing pink slime” stating that the fear over this “meat” product made by processing leftover beef trimmings has led to the closing of three meat processing plants in Kansas, Texas and Iowa.
Iowa Public Radio host, Sandhya Dirks explained that it’s the ammonia additive that is fueling the uproar:
Then they add ammonia, and that has freaked out a lot of consumers. The USDA says that it’s actually a pretty foolproof way to kill bacteria, like E. coli and salmonella. But many consumers can’t stomach the idea of eating leftover meat that’s been treated with a solvent even if they’ve been doing so for 20 years. Facebook and Twitter campaigns have put pressure on grocery chains and school boards, and it’s worked. BPI orders have slowed to a crawl. That frustrates Texas Governor Rick Perry.
To which Perry responded that it’s unfair so many people are losing their jobs over this:
I have to go back to Texas and explain to people in Amarillo why they may not have a job. And I’m telling you I don’t know the answer to that. Has there been one individual in this country that has been poisoned or has been sick or has died from a product that came out of this company?
Maybe not yet. But to be honest, no one really understands the long-term impact of eating this pink slime. It certainly can’t be good for us.
Sure, there are plenty of other unhealthy “foods” out there too that also need to be addressed. But if we are ever going to win this war against obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer, we have to start somewhere. There are plenty of healthier options that schools, in particular, could be feeding kids, and it’s unfair that they don’t really have a choice in what is served to them.
So, yes, it’s unfortunate that people are losing their jobs. But that’s not because of people like me–it’s because of people at these beef plants who continue to churn out unhealthy by-products and try to convince us that it’s safe for us to eat. Then everyone gets upset when we start to question what exactly we’re putting in our mouths. Um, churned up cattle parts slathered with ammonia, that once was only considered suitable for dogs? No thanks.
Focusing on the economic impact of closing these plants is short-sighted. There is also the long-term health costs of feeding people pink slime that needs to be considered. That creates an economic toll in itself when you factor in the impact of rising health care due to unhealthy eating.
And as for the workers who lost their jobs, maybe something like this pink slime debate will create demand for other healthier products, which will, in turn, create more jobs producing them. Wouldn’t that be a novel concept?
The bottom line is this: Money should never take precedence over health, and the economic impact of feeding people crap is never a valid argument for doing so.
Do you agree?