Pink Slime is Back! This time It’s News, not Meat. A Classic Food Lawsuit Revisited.

Few people remember the renowned “Pink Slime” lawsuit between a company named Beef Products Inc. and ABC/Disney. BPI sued ABC/Disney for referring to their product they called “lean finely textured beef” (processed beef trimmings treated with ammonia) as “Pink Slime” during a 2012 broadcast. BPI sued for $1.9 billion in damages for lost business. They settled for a payout of $177 million.

The back story is even better. LFTB was for years regulated as being suitable for “limited” human consumption in the US, though it was and still is banned by the EU. Along came the corporate friendly GW Bush administration, and suddenly in 2001 the ammonia treated beef was allowed to be sold country wide as a beef product, without being included on the ingredients label. In 2002 USDA microbiologist Gerald Zirnstein came up with the descriptive term “Pink Slime,” and emailed his colleagues that “I do not consider the stuff to be ground beef, and I consider allowing it in ground beef to be a form of fraudulent labeling.” Zirnstein was overruled, naturally.

By 2004 the rules concerning LFTB were relaxed even further by the USDA, and school hamburgers were allowed to contain up to 15% LFTB, without any labeling. By 2008 students were unknowingly eating 5.5 million pounds of LFTB per year, until there was a temporary suspension of use due to E. coli contamination. However, it was only temporary, until August of the same year, when E. coli was found in LFTB products for a third time, and the USDA stopped shipping to schools. By this time an estimated 75% of US hamburgers include LFTB.

By 2011 the stuff begins to hit the fan, as Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution is the first nationally broadcast media production to highlight the widespread use of LFTB in school lunches. Then comes the 2012 ABC news story and the subsequent lawsuit. Finally, in 2018 BPI gets to take a victory lap–the USDA ruled that their new and improved beef product, without the fine texture, could be labeled as “ground beef.” Just don’t call it LFTB or “Pink Slime” anymore.

What has this got to do with the news industry? An old nickname has been re-born, as corporate sponsored propaganda packaged as news (most of what’s broadcast) has been dubbed “pink slime.” The slime part is easily understood, and the pink makes it memorable. The analogy is to insist that your name for something is the right one, reality or no reality, and sue any one important who disagrees. Remember the old joke about the news? The news industry treats citizens like they’re mushrooms, by keeping them in the dark and feeding them manure.

So money as speech is reaching its logical conclusion. The best example was the multi billion dollar lawsuit over the meaning of the word sugar. It was Big Ag (corn syrup) vs. Big Sugar (cane and beets), with Big Sugar winning. Corn syrup is still corn syrup, not sugar. Big Ag vs. your average citizen–not happening, as it isn’t worth either’s time. Just lay out the facts and let the people choose. Enough of them will pick slime, as long as they don’t know what it really is.

Thomas Jefferson on the Public Interest and Judicial Supremacy

Thomas Jefferson ignored the Supreme Court whenever he felt like it, especially when the rulings were made by Arch-Federalist John Marshall. In his old age he summed up his feelings about the aristocratic status that judges had acquired.

At the establishment of our constitutions, the judiciary bodies were supposed to be the most helpless and harmless members of the government. Experience, however, soon showed in what way they were to become the most dangerous; that the insufficiency of the means provided for their removal gave them a freehold and irresponsibility in office.

Thomas Jefferson

Naturally, he always pointed to the fact that there are actually supposed to be three co-equal branches of the government, as mandated by the US Constitution–none is supposed to have carte blanche over the others. What a concept–democracy.

Now we have six unelected, Ivy League pseudo-educated religious bigots, deciding what the law is and is not. King George the Third looks like a little league dude compared to this arrogant bunch of buffoons, and the amount of power that they have usurped..

We have yet another Voltaire moment imposed on us, Voltaire being the writer whose bust just happens to be in the main hall at Monticello. We must cultivate our own gardens, and not recognize the corporate lackeys that have been installed as judges. I no longer shop at Wal-Mart and other equally repulsive big box stores, and I have never even considered having any dealings with a travesty like FarceBook. Take their money away, and watch them collapse.

We may very well lose the right to have majority rule, if we haven’t already. We can still always vote with our feet.

Eggs. To Refrigerate, or not to Refrigerate? That is the Question.

Eggs laid Minutes ago, by my Barred Rock Hens

An existential question here–Should I wash my eggs? I mean, they have been up the inside of a chicken, so there is something strange about that. Who knows what those birds have been doing? I regularly catch mine loitering in my driveway. So naturally, the answer is no, and yes.

NO

My fresh eggs, which I collect a couple of times a day, are said to be safely consumed unrefrigerated for up to three months. They never last more than a week around here, so no biggy with that one. Unwashed eggs have a natural bacteria barrier coating known as the bloom or cuticle. If you buy eggs at a farmer’s market, just ask a seller if they have been washed. A little chicken poop on the eggs is a good sign they weren’t.

YES

The big bad USDA requires that all supermarket eggs be washed, and even steamed. Thus the natural coating has been removed, from even the freest of the free range eggs. Combine that with the fact that most commercial eggs are at least a month old before they hit the shelves. Keep these jokers cold. Moral of this story: No supermarket egg, no matter how expensive, will be as good as a farmyard one. There has to be a lesson here, if not an egg manifesto.

DOWN WITH BIG CHICKEN

Chickens of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your coops! Seriously, this goes back to the heart of agri-culture. Know where your food comes from, and all will be well. I promise.

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