“As Americans plan their Independence Day barbecues, they should skip the tony sirloins and chops, and opt for what can be the most sustainable, economical, gastronomically flexible and morally responsible cut of meat: ground.” – NY Times
Whoa…back that up.
Wasn’t ground beef being slandered as “pink slime” a few months ago and now is being praised? I certainly don’t mind beef being promoted – especially in a news source such as the New York Times – but why are they putting one type of beef over another? That is confusing to people!
In this recent opinion article in the New York Times (notice opinion), the authors lead astray their readers – almost so much that consumers might question their validity. I read about this on Facebook, then received an email from Nourishing the Planet (really not sure where they got my personal email) to “declare my food independence this 4th of July” by eating hamburger from small-scale, diversified livestock farmers to protect the environment.
My family’s beef
You know what is funny? My beef is raised on a family farm – yet are processed at National Beef – one of the largest industry leading processors and suppliers of fresh and chilled boxed beef products. Sometimes bigger is better – especially in terms of food safety. USDA inspectors are trained to make sure that the beef that I raise, is handled and processed with care to make sure the food fed to families across the U.S. and the world is safe.
Points of misinformation from the authors that I want to address:
- “Hamburger made at a large, industrial processing plant is cobbled together from hundreds or thousands of animals, typically raised in feedlots on a corn diet and fed antibiotics. By contrast, small grass-fed beef farmers across the country have an enormous amount of good ground meat to sell.”
- You all probably know my position on corn-fed & grass-finished beef (check out my tab above) but the largest fallacy the authors portray is that beef animals finished on grain are not pumped with antibiotics. My friend, Joan Ruskamp, who runs a large, but family, beef feedlot, will tell you that her experience with being an EMT has helped with finding signs of sickness in her cattle – and only then will she give them antibiotics – when they are sick. Read her blog here.
- And like I mentioned above. Bigger can better. Small packing plants are fine and I’ve personally eaten beef and pork from them – but I have no issue or reason to think that meat from larger plants is worse than the smaller. Safety is a priority and it goes through the same process as if it was from a smaller plant.
- “Ground meat from grass-fed animals is relatively inexpensive.”
- The term should be “grass-finished” (as nearly all beef animals graze on grass in the first year of life) and may be inexpensive relative to other grass-finished cuts. However, grass-finished is more expensive than grain-finished beef because it takes longer for that animal to reach a market-ready weight – thus incurring more costs.
Declaring my food independence!
I am declaring my “food independence” here on my blog that beef – whether a steak, roast OR ground – that is produced by small or large family farms, and is processed in small or large packing plants is still "sustainable, economical, gastronomically flexible and morally responsible".
If it’s BEEF, it’s ALL good!