If there ever was a moment when it became clear that the voice of the consumer is powerful, it was the recent “pink slime” incident. When the inside dope on the slime was leaked, we responded: we stopped buying “pink slime” infused (for lack of a better word) beef. We told our grocery stores ‘no thanks’. And they listened. Quickly. Including the largest chains in the country. Kudos to them for responding, and kudos to us for speaking up.
So, let’s reward the chains that did the right thing and let’s keep after the chains that haven’t followed suit (ABC News’ list of slime-free shopping can be found here). Let’s do this now. Let’s keep on doing it. The beef industry, consumer-averse politicians and various member of the 1% that support the former, are all ramping up to convince us that pink-slime is harmless. Pink-slime is 100% beef and is technically safe for us. Lots of things are, or could be, technically safe for us, but do we want to eat them or feed them to our children? Think about it: if we spilled a little bit of ammonia into our food, would we still eat it? Yet, that’s essentially what the pink-slime is — beef bits cleaned/treated with ammonia gasses.
I watched the latest pink-slime piece on ABC News tonight and saw clips of the press conference where the company that produces the stuff defended it, saying that it was 100% beef only leaner and better for us. The best question in response to his statement (and I’m paraphrasing since I no longer have the clip accessible)? Why then is it not a stand-alone product?
Look, I don’t want anyone to lose their jobs as these plants power down, but, unfortunately, their jobs are tied to a product that as far as I can see is unnecessary, which is regulated in such a way that our food doesn’t have to meet the same standards as our pets’ foods. Think about this too: the large grocery chains that have stopped selling beef with the pink product in it are not the kinds of companies that usually respond rapidly, but in this case they did. They responded very rapidly. Sounds like we should really pay attention to this unspoken message.
Oh, and one more quick thing … to the company that makes the product: your dismissive and callous rebuttal of the news coverage of this story and you’re calling it ‘ridiculous’ and other names of that ilk, to me, sounds like a child who is angry because they’ve been caught. The message they’ve been conveying to me is that an ignorant consumer is a good consumer, so now they’ll have to go after the messenger that has helped us remove our blindfolds. Surely, if you’re as concerned about your workers and producing a quality product, and you’re as smart as I would hope you are, you’ll be able to come up with some other product to produce and sell that don’t require you to hide things from the consumer.
[This post originally started out as my two-cents, but somewhere along the way it turned into a $1.09.]