Hyper sensitive about food

Science should trump sensationalism when it comes to food.

I don’t disagree. I’m just smart enough to know that doesn’t happen. And it’s not going to.

Americans enjoy the most abundant and affordable food supply in the world. But that message doesn’t sell because we take food for granted. I’ve never seen an empty grocery shelf.

There are small groups of people, however, who want to change the way we eat. And they don’t care much how they do it.

“Pink slime” anyone? Sensationalism ruled over common sense and facts and a safe, efficient and healthy product called Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB) was torpedoed.

It is the most recent reminder of the power of hype through traditional and social media. But it won’t be the last product or agricultural practice affected.

Food activists know that fear sells. It makes rational people do irrational things. One disgusting phrase attached to some outrageous accusations and another practice or product bites the dust.

Consumers should step back beyond the headlines and make intelligent, informed decisions based on scientific facts. For many, that’s unlikely.

We can stop a lot of this nonsense if farmers and ranchers will communicate about the way they grow food as intelligently as they actually grow it. Truth can win. But you have to be willing to step up and be honest and transparent about what you do.

Consumer opinion matters. Words have the power to change the way you farm.

You can choose to ignore. Just remember that perception, once established, doesn’t go away.

But your product or practice may.

Mike Barnett

Director of Publications
Texas Farm Bureau
I’m a firm believer that farmers and ranchers will continue to meet the needs of a growing world population by employing equal measures of common sense, conservation and technology.
Follow Mike on Twitter and Facebook.

5 Responses to “Hyper sensitive about food”

  1. Bayard Breeding says:

    If a company can’t stand the “heat” from it’s customers then it should get out of the business. So far, in spite of industry objections,we live in a “free market” system.
    Your article should have referenced the following:

    1. “70 Percent of Ground Beef at Supermarkets Contains ‘Pink Slime’” ABC News, March 7, 2012

    2. “Schools will get to opt out of ‘pink slime’ beef”, Associated Press, March 15, 2012

    3. “Pink Slime: Combo of Connective Tissue, Scraps Hidden In Your Kid’s Lunch”, FoxNews, March 8, 2012.

    4. “Partners in ‘slime’: Feds keep buying ammonia-treated ground beef for school lunches”, The Daily, March 5, 2012

    5. “BPI’s Response to Outrage over Ground Beef? 3 Governors and a T-shirt”, Appetite for Profit, March 30, 2012


    6. “Safety of Beef Processing Method Is Questioned”, The New York Times, December 30, 2009

    • Gene Hall says:

      Mr. Breeding – The first amendment means that each of these links is permissable, though all of them contain misleading information and some even outright lies. They still have the right to say and post all of it. LFTB is beef – muscle tissue. I won’t describe the process again, since I’ve done so several times in this space. If that minute puff of ammonium gas scares you, you’ll need to remove several fruit and vegetable products from your pantry, virtually all sports drinks, some cereal and even the beer from the fridge. The whole point is this…we accept technolgy in everything from cell phones to automobiles, from enterainment to work. Even gene modification in health care. But in our food, we allow the activists to make us terrified of a thing with such tremendous potential to make our lives better. Some – not all – lazy reporting has only made matters worse. That’s the point. Is anyone else getting tired of the notion that we should all run screaming from the room every time the word “company” or “corporate” is used. I trained my knee not to jerk a long time ago.

  2. I don’t want my food to come in contact with a “minute puff of ammonium gas”. Does that make me Hyper Sensitive about Food or an activist? Nobody is attempting to make the case that ammonium gas isn’t bad for you. And yes… I will cut out all ammonium gas foods. We Americans have such a tasty variety of food available. Why settle?

    • Mike Barnett says:

      Clay, I don’t have a problem with you cutting out food that comes in contact with a “minute puff of ammonium gas.” For me, it’s a safegaurd against bacteria that can make me sick. We Americans do have a tasty variety of food available. It’s all about choices and we have a lot of them.

    • Gene Hall says:

      Here I am Clay – making the case. Not bad for you. Potentially very good for you, if it helps you avoid foodborne illness. To assist you in your avoidance – here is a partial list. It’s in many baked goods, some fruit and vegetable products, sports drinks and beer. It occurs naturally in many foods, including milk. But – in absolutely none of these products, does it do the slightest bit of harm. The perfect is the enemy of the good – Utopia only exists as a small town of the banks of the Sabinal River in South Texas – and naturally occuring ammonium hydroxide will not hurt you but being hyper sensitive – as Mike says – can lead to poor choices.

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