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April 2012 Archive for Economic Sense

RSS By: Matt Bogard, AgWeb.com

Matt's primary interest is in the biotech industry and ag policy.

Finely Textured Beef: What is seen and unseen

Apr 21, 2012

"But you don't want to have public opinion against you. Public opinion, you know, it can mean a lot."
"...I saw the whole industrial establishment of the world...all of it was run, not by bankers and boards of directors...all of it was run by any unshaved humanitarian in any basement beer joint, by any face pudgy with malice, who preached that virtue must be penalized for being virtue."
- Atlas Shrugged.

"Cargill cuts 'pink slime' output, sees hamburger price rise' (Reuters)


Consumers say they want healthy sustainable food. They want it to be safe. They want it to be affordable. The market delivered with finely textured lean beef. Now in a classic illustration of group think, lead by celebrities, anti-farm activists, and advocates of big government, these same producers are being punished for catering to the expressed desires of their harshest critics. Some extremists are even peddling petitions and calling for government bans and regulations to 'label' or remove this product from stores and schools. Companies are shutting down operations and laying people off. Beef prices are taking a hit.

This summer, many of these same people will go to their farmer's market and feel good about themselves for doing their part to support local farmers, their community, and perhaps even bettering the environment. Certainly a laudable gesture. That is what is seen.

What remains unseen (to many at least) is the negative impact that this self-righteous orthorexic food fetish condeming so called pink slime will have on the rest of us. Particularly what is unseen is the loss of value that thousands of family farmers and local producers will have to absorb, while continiung to strive to feed the rest of us in a manner that modern agriculture makes efficient and sustainable.


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