When you buy a hamburger, whether you like it or not, it came from an animal. That meat was a life. Every hamburger was once a fuzzy, cute calf, which had to be reared, slaughtered, and delivered to your car window.
Recently there have been uproars over the "contamination" of ground beef with an additive, whether you wish to call it Pink Slime or BLBT (boneless beef trimmings) depends on your perspective. This is not breaking news. The use of this additive has been well known since at least 2002. This is simply the first time it has been vilified.
I have not been surprised by the public outrage over the issue, just annoyed by it.
When people chow down on their hamburger and meatloaf, they tend to forget about that fuzzy calf. If the beef you purchase is costing as little as two dollars a pound, then what kind of quality could you possibly be expecting. That beef was a life.
The market demands cheap meat and that's what they're getting. Many consumers want to pass the blame to the government and fast food industries. Before this additive, fast food companies kept your burgers cheap through the use of modified soy protein. When the public protested the filler, they simply replaced it with BLBT. A pledge to move away from the BLBT dependance just means that another additive will be developed. There have also been several attempts to improve school lunches, but the slight tax increases which would incur was too much for Americans.
American's spend less of their income on food than most of the world, and that percentage is consistently decreasing. According to the USDA, Americans spend an average of 8.9% of their income on food while other developed countries spend as much as 30%. The old adage is right, you get what you pay for.
Eating quality meat requires time and money. Because the demand is low, you have to hunt it down. Once a month my husband and I drive an hour away to a farm to purchase our meat, poultry, and dairy. It is expensive and time consuming, we just eat less meat. Besides small family farms, Whole Foods has good options as well, but often even at Whole Foods it can be difficult to find local meat.
The market's perceived value of beef is too low, recognizing what your meat is and where it comes from is the only way to begin to understand how much it should cost. The use of Pink Slime has been dropped by several large fast food conglomerates already, however, this means nothing. As long as the market continues to demand cheap meat, industries will find a way to manufacture it.
The following sites can help you locate a farm near you:Eat WildLocal Harvest