Thoughts While Flying, Does Beef Really Have Raw Edges?

This past Sunday the ninth of December, the Kansas City Star published an article on the so called short comings of the beef industry.  After reading the article Big Beef: Beef’s Raw Edges I began to question the validity of their arguments.  To begin with they talked about e.coli outbreaks, but went on to say, “If it isn’t cooked sufficiently, people can get sick. Or die,” this is the key to the whole argument.  By not cooking it sufficiently the producer is no longer liable.  There are warning labels on most all meat packages, and in menus, that raw and undercooked meats can cause harm.  Why should the industry be blamed for another’s mistake, when precautions have been taken.  Similarly, why should a car manufacturer be responsible for an airlines mistake, just because they are associated in transportation sector, they are not responsible for the other.  Ensure that your beef is “Safe & Savory at 160°F,” and you can always enjoy a good cut of BEEF.

Additionally, I would like to point out that the article discussed the Canadian, XL Beef Plant meat recall.  Was the meat coming from the plant contaminated, yes, the article however tried to incite a lack of government intervention with that recall.  Consequently, the meat was stopped at our border due to having failed tests.  This should be a testament to the safety net of our systems in place, not a shortfall.

Furthermore, the author argued that the larger facilities have the ability to induce large scale pathogen outbreaks. That is true, but they also have a remarkable ability to protects us from them.  This is due to the safety systems in place to protect final product.  Not a single person should worry about safety, especially if they cook to ensure their meal is “Safe & Savory at 160°F.”

Let us however continue on the subject of safety processes to protect consumers.  This past summer, I was able to tour a packing plant, while there I was amazed at the amount of safety procedures in place there to ensure meat quality.  Additionally, there were inspectors looking over all parts of the processes taking place to ensure quality.  After having been there, I do not feel that large packing plants are threats to health rather they are preventives to some worse things that could occur.

Moreover, they began discussion of the large size of our industry.  They noted that the industry is among the “last vestiges of old-line American manufacturing,” this should be an accomplishment.  These facilities are employing many many people, and the last time I checked the economy is not doing well.  So why if there are jobs that can be filled are we scrutinizing them.  Beef is a private industry and as long as it makes money the jobs are justified. Additionally, the article stated that the facilities have the ability to process tens of thousands of head per day.  The efficiency of the system that leads to lower prices compared to world wide prices and causes a demand for US beef in foreign markets should be praised.  This shows that we still have the ability to compete, if other industries could find ways to create the same situation here in America and make jobs, I think they should.  Unemployment would be lower, thus helping the economy.  There is no doubt in my mind that agriculture is a huge contribution to the US economy and can only stand to help it.

By no means do I condone processes that have the potential to impact lives, but rather after having looked at all aspects of the issues presented have a very different outlook.  The key to ensuring your safety on your part is to make sure to cook your meat, to temperature, for beef that can be made sure of by the ad campaign of “Safe & Savory at 160°F.”

Until Next Time, Go BEEF,

Zach