Do you really know what's in your meat?
Earlier this month, Gov. Terry Branstad (R-Iowa), Gov. Rick Perry (R-Tex.) and Gov. Sam Brownback (R-Kans.) rode off into the Midwest to save the damsel in distress – the meatpacking industry. Beef Products Inc., the maker of pink slime, announced it would stop using the filler in its meats. Consumer advocates cheered, as the governors jeered.
They visited a meatpacking plant in South Sioux City, Nebraska to show their support for the use of fat, blood effluvia and trimmings – you know, the kind of stuff we usually cut off – which is then hosed with ammonia and added to our meats.
“It’s clear this is a safe product,” said Branstad at a press conference. “It’s a lean product, it helps reduce obesity and there is a spurious attack being levied against it by some groups. You can suspect who they might be. They are people who do not like meat.”
In all honesty, that is B.S. – which I wouldn’t be surprised if health experts soon told us is also mixed with our meats. Yet, you have to wonder
why the governors would defend the industry. The answer to that is simple.
The Sunlight Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to transparency in public affairs, has this nifty application called the influence tracker. I entered in Branstad, Perry and Brownback, and what do you know – they’ve all received donations from the meatpacking industry.
‘Food Processing & Sales’ were listed in the top industries that contributed to Branstad, $310,425, and ‘Agricultural Services/Products’ contributed $302,032. And if you search for Beef Products Inc. you’ll find they contributed $50,000 on three separate occasions in 2010.
Perry received $50,000 from ‘Agricultural Services/Products;’ the industry was among his top contributors. However, there did not appear to be any donations from Beef Products Inc.
It was also surprising Brownback did not receive most of his campaign funds from agribusiness, the meatpacking industry or Beef Products Inc.
The data from the Sunlight Foundation still shows, within the ‘Agricultural Services/Products’ industry, businesses contribute overwhelmingly to Republicans. An estimated 68 percent of that industry’s contributions flowed to the coffers of Republicans, and only 32 percent was contributed to Democrats.
‘Food Processing & Sales’ businesses contribute less than ‘Agricultural Services/Products’ to politicians, but, for the little they do contribute, 17 percent favors Republicans, while Democrats receive 7 percent and the other 76 percent is left for miscellaneous uses.
Beef Products Inc. contributes exclusively to Republicans. The top recipients of Beef Products Inc. funds were Jon Bruning, a candidate for the U.S. Senate in Nebraska, Tim Pawlenty, the former presidential candidate, Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.), Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Rep. Tom Latham (R-Iowa).
Other than the ick-factor of unwanted trimmings being used as filler in an estimated 70 percent of beef products as reported by The Washington Post, what is maddening is the fact food companies are encouraging our elected officials to allow them to cut corners.
I eat meat. And perhaps it’s been lost upon these elected officials that many of them eat meat as well, and, while Perry may not squirm over pink slime, I do, and so do many other consumers. Thankfully, Kroger Co. and Stop & Shop said last Thursday they will join other stores which have
refused to stock their shelves with meat that contains pink slime.
“We have a smear campaign going on against a product that is healthy and safe,” said Branstad later at his press conference. “If they get by with this, what other food products are they going to attack next?”
Hopefully peanut butter. I eat a lot of peanut butter, and I’d like to know I’m actually eating peanut butter and not slime.Originally Published: 04/11/12 9:37pm