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Posts from the ‘Newspaper’ Category

Every Little Bit Helps…

Some of you may recall my “war with words” I had with one of our local newspapers, Chico News & Review over Lean Finely Textured Beef or what some people call “Pink Slime”… Words were exchanged, everyone had their own opinion of what happened, it appeared in the paper for about two weeks, and then nothing ever came of it.

Fast forward a few months later… We receive an envelope in the mail from Chico News & Review, figuring it was just another attempt to advertise, we opened it anyway. Low and behold, there was a letter. A hand written letter. From the General Manager. And in the first paragraph of the letter, an apology. I must admit, I was rather shocked. I mean I thought I had ruffled feathers that would never lay down again.

But don’t get me wrong, I didn’t write a letter to editor simply to poke them with a stick. I wrote that letter to the editor because I was sincerely upset with how my industry was being portrayed. And that in fact, my local newspaper was giving people of my own town false information about a product produced by my industry. It was in fact my passion for the meat industry that pushed me to sit down and form my thoughts. It was that I was going to stand up for what I believe in, regardless of the outcome, that pushed me to put the words to the page and hit the send button.

Being an advocate for agriculture has its ups and downs, some days you aren’t going to be popular with people. Somedays your local newspaper will smear you in their pages. Somedays people will wish all kinds of awful things on you… But don’t let harsh criticisms of others stop you from standing up for what you believe in, what your livelihood has been, and standing up for all those people out there who work longer than a 9-5 to feed the rest of us. And here’s proof that although sometimes it feels like your response may lay on deaf ears or that what you have to say doesn’t make a difference.. It does. So continue sharing your story, continue to initiate and foster conversation about agriculture. Every little bit helps!

Chico News and Review,  it’s apparent to me that, clearly, we aren’t always going to see eye to eye. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t celebrate agriculture together. If your way of supporting agriculture is doing so by promoting local agriculture than so be it. I will continue to promote all facets of ag, both large and small, commercial and organic.  In my last post to you, I entitled it, let’s be in this together and I am glad that you took the initiative to accept my apology and hold out your hand to mine. Thank you.

What OUR Local Newspaper Has To Say About LFTB (“Pink Slime”)

Many of our customers I know are also readers of the local newspaper in town Chico News & Review, we even distribute this paper in our deli for patrons of our business to read while they enjoy a delicious deli sandwich. But as I was walking out the door yesterday, two words on the front page of this week’s edition caught my eye: PINK SLIME. Seeing as how I’ve written three blog posts on it, naturally, I wanted to see what my local paper is telling my customers as well as the local public about pink slime. Well, let me tell you, I was rather disgusted and outraged to read what they had to say. Here it is:

And in fact, as I read the article, I came to learn that this topic was also covered in an article in 2010. That article, complete with much of the same misinformation, can be seen here:

Now if any of you have been following my blogs, you will know that their description of LFTB (“pink slime”) couldn’t be further from the truth. Here at Chico Locker & Sausage Co. Inc, it is no surprise that we like to provide our customers with correct, factual information about our industry and its processes. That is why we started this blog, that is why we aren’t afraid to show people what it is that we do. So I sat down and write a letter to the editor to set the facts straight.. And here it is:

I am writing in regards to the article written by Christine LaPado in The Green House section of this week’s News and Review. Now as a third generation meat processor and prominent blogger for Chico Locker & Sausage Co. Inc., I am outraged to see what was reported on LFTB (Lean Finely Textured Beef) coined “pink slime”.  I know that LFTB has been in the media a lot lately and the News and Review felt like they needed to provide their local readers with information regarding it. But the explanation of what “pink slime” is: “Basically the fatty offal swept up off the slaughterhouse floor” couldn’t have been further from the truth. In fact the industry term, LFTB is never even mentioned in the article. Regardless of your stance on LFTB, if your paper is going to be writing about the meat industry, I would like to see you giving CORRECT, FACTUAL information. I work hard six days a week providing our local public with quality meat products and then go home and write blogs to provide that same public with correct, factual information about my industry only to have your paper publish a column such as this with misinformation to your readers many of whom are also my customers.

The kicker to this whole issue is that the author has NUMEROUS resources to consult for information regarding LFTB. My father and owner of our business was even on the radio, KPAY, giving information about the product, not to mention the author of the column follows my Facebook page where I’ve posted THREE blogs regarding the facts about “pink slime”. The first of which was posted on March 9th.  I am extremely disgusted that my local paper couldn’t even consult their local resources regarding this issue, and instead provide readers misinformation. For a paper that encourages people to support local, you sure aren’t practicing what you preach by your inability to consult local. Readers of your paper trust you to give them correct, non-biased information regarding how they make choices as consumers locally. Instead, they are given complete misinformation when the correct, factual information is out there. And put out by a local source. Not only does your column give our local public wrong information, it also gives them the wrong idea about possible practices at our shop and the products we sell. In the article in 2010, the author even drops our name as a source for meat to grind your own ground beef as a solution to avoiding LFTB! Nothing is mentioned what-so-ever about our products and how NONE of our products contain LFTB (“pink slime”). Why would nobody contact us but feel it is okay to include our name in an article filled with such misinformation!? Now since the right information is not given, let me set a few things straight.

First of all, regardless a LFTB product or not, NOTHING is ever swept up off the floor in a slaughterhouse and made into a product, EVER. A procedure such as this would never, ever be allowed in a facility of any size, large or small. Any meat scraps that hit the floor would be deemed “inedible” and placed in a barrel for rendering.

Secondly, LFTB is not “fatty offal”, it is in fact much of the opposite, hence the name LEAN Finely Textured Beef. Where LFTB comes from is when beef carcasses are processed into cuts consumers use (such as steaks, roasts, etc.), trimmings result. Trimmings are small pieces of fat and meat that cannot be used for anything else but to grind. The process of LFTB uses equipment to separate lean meat from fat that would be impossible to do by hand. The trimmings are then warmed to about 100 degrees and placed in a centrifuge which basically spins these trimmings to separate meat from the fat that has been liquefied. The resulting product (LFTB) is very low fat at about 90% lean. LFTB can be mixed with higher-fat beef in order to produce low-fat ground beef and other products. What this process isn’t doing is taking something that is INEDIBLE and making it EDIBLE much like the column suggests. These trimmings weren’t only used for dog food and oil, but have always been edible for human consumption and are in fact 100% beef.

LFTB is then sent through a pathogen intervention step where the product is treated with ammonium hydroxide gas. It is sprayed with a puff of gas which alters the pH of the product and kills any harmful pathogens that may be present in the meat. Ammonium hydroxide is a natural occurring gas found in our soil, our own bodies and all over food production, not just in the meat industry. In fact, ammonium hydroxide can be found in nearly every component of a cheeseburger: bun, condiments, cheese, and beef. Naturally occurring ammonium hydroxide can also be found in anything from apples to peanut butter and squash. Please check out this article for more information: http://beefproducts.com/ammonium_hydroxide.php

 It is also important to note that the process of LFTB prevents the waste of valuable, lean, nutritious, safe, beef. LFTB could be considered sustainable in such a light that it recovers lean meat that may otherwise have been wasted. Using products such as LFTB ensures that ground beef remains affordable to consumers and in fact, now that it has been pulled from the market, an additional 1.5 million head of cattle will need to be harvested annually to make up the difference. It is estimated that 10 to 15 pounds of edible lean beef per carcass is derived from the LFTB process and without this process that meat would have been otherwise thrown away.

 Bottom line is regardless of whether or not you want to jump on the anti-LFTB bandwagon, please put the correct, factual information out there and let your readers decide for themselves. I work hard to provide my customers with correct, factual information about my industry. And I would like to see you striving to do the same. To put misinformation out there is not only bad form, it doesn’t make my job as a local business (whom you support) any easier by having to dispel the myths my customers (and your readers) come across in your paper. Don’t be afraid to use the local resources you recommend your readers to use in order to do what it is that you are paid to do, report.

So tell me readers and supporters of Chico News and Review and customers of Chico Locker, is this how you like the meat industry to be represented? Do you like to be given misinformation when there are local resources out there to obtain the factual information..? Please share with me or better yet, share with Chico News & Review your thoughts and your concerns with this week’s article in the GreenHouse column. It is my hope that in the future, Chico News & Review will be more willing to use their local resources when reporting and provide their local community with facts, not misinformation.

The only way to see a change is to have your voice heard. If you would like to do so…

Letters to the editor can be written to: chicoletters@newsreview.com or you can use this handy dandy little form

Comments can be left on the article directly at: http://www.newsreview.com/chico/soylent-pink-pink-slime-revisited/content?oid=5574857

The author can be reached directly at: christinel@newsreview.com

Chico News & Review can also be found on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/ChicoNewsandReview

 

For a comprehensive list of anything and everything regarding LFTB and the use of ammonium hydroxide, please refer to these numerous articles or our prior blogposts:

http://www.meatami.com/ht/a/GetDocumentAction/i/76184

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/03/beef-products-inc-gets-support-from-food-safety-leaders/

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/03/how-will-bpis-plant-closures-affect-americas-beef/

http://efoodalert.net/2012/03/08/whats-wrong-with-pink-slime/

http://farmingamerica.org/2012/03/29/pink-slime-mechanically-separated-lftbhuh/

http://meatissues.org/2012/01/27/you-put-what-in-my-burger/

http://meatissues.org/2012/03/08/repercusions-of-pink-slime/

http://www.foodinsight.org/Resources/Detail.aspx?topic=Questions_and_Answers_about_Ammonium_Hydroxide_Use_in_Food_Production

http://beefproducts.com/ammonium_hydroxide.php

 

Wordless Wednesday: Hot Grills

In case you don’t live in our town and can’t read our newspaper ads… I will start sharing them for Wordless Wednesdays. We are blessed with a great team of people who create our ads for us and we love being able to showcase something different about our business each week. Starting with my favorite, last Father’s Day the ladies of Chico Locker showed off our line of Traegar and Green Mountain Grills:

Please contact us at (530) 343-7370 for more information on grills from both Traeger and Green Mountain! It’s not too late to get yourself set for summer!

Thank you to the Chico Enterprise Record for making this ad possible, we had such a blast shooting the photos for it!

News Media: A New Perspective

Isn’t it amazing how things come to us when we aren’t even looking for them… I’ve been really upset and outraged lately over all the bad media that the meat industry has been receiving. I swear there isn’t a day that goes by this week that I haven’t seen an article that claims meat will give you cancer, heart disease, diabetes, leads to obesity, shortens your life span… you get my drift. I’m sure much of this bad press is coming off of the controversy “pink slime” brought up and now all facets of media are jumping on the meat industry bashing wagon. Now to those of us who love meat, eat meat, support meat, we know these articles are to say the least, ridiculous, but the truth is that people actually buy into this kind of thinking. They believe what ABC, Huffington Post, The Daily, etc. report to them. They trust that the people giving them this information have done the research and are looking out for their best interests. That they are “exposing them” into things never seen before.

Mike Haley wrote a very interesting article for Feedstuffs Foodlink where he talks about trust and how important it is for us an industry to remain transparent and proactive in order to secure and nurture trust with our consumers. He uses the issue of “pink slime” as an example. Although I agree with this type of thinking, which is why I blog. I like to remain transparent with my customers as well as my readers as to the practices of our shop and many like ours. I feel it’s important for the meat industry to begin telling its story. The Beef and Pork industries are making steps towards breaking the silence that has so long been held between them and consumers. However, the meat industry, has yet to take the leap and follow suite. But I also understand their hesitation, how many times as an industry can you continually work towards putting a positive message out there. Nurturing that truth with consumers, only to have it broken again when the news media decides to show burgers cooking on a grill when an E.Coli outbreak occurs due to spinach, not even meat. Then you get on the Internet and find articles about meat causing heart disease, cancer, diabetes, shortened lifespan… When is enough!? As an industry you can only do so much damage control. And how are we supposed to reach out consumers when the news media is doing such an effective job of propagating against us?

Which leads me to question, WHY!? Why do people BELIEVE what the news media tells us?? People are questioning my industry and its practices, they are changing how they buy based on a segment they saw on the news…. Does anyone ever question the news media? And as I was having these thoughts while flying on a plane to North Dakota, I begin my new book, Normal Gets You Nowhere By Kelly Cutrone. And there it is….

“Every media outlet is a brand with its own point of view… If you take a minute to actually look at these brands, from the major networks to the national newspapers, you’ll see that many are owned by huge, multibillion-dollar corporations. Whether bringing you gossip or hard-hitting news, every brand is interested in first and foremost gaining more readers, viewers, or advertisers…. They are for-profit businesses. That means they have one responsibility to carry out for their owners and their boards: to engage you, the consumer or the viewer, and keep you coming back for more”.

Now that hit me pretty hard, bet you didn’t think of your favorite evening news program in that light…? But they’re providing you with information aren’t they?? They are INFORMING you, aren’t they?? Are they really?? One of the most effective techniques the news media has found to keep us hooking and coming back for more…. Fear.

“One of their favorite tactics is fear. Hundreds of producers employed by news organizations sit around everyday scouring the Internet, reading every paper from coast to coast and every news feed from around the world. What are they looking for? Stories that are going to keep you hooked, scared, trusting them, and coming back for more updates…. Over time, our perception and intention of ourselves and our lives can’t help but become aligned with this fear-based messaging. It can make us paralyzed instead of proactive”.

I agree with this whole heartedly. And the issue of pink slime is a great example.. Consumers aren’t stupid, they SAW that pink stuff on t.v. But rather than using that news segment as a starting point and forming their own opinion, they align themselves with ABC and sharing the segment on Facebook, Twitter, etc. until it goes viral.

“Even the best news stories should be just a starting point, not the final word. We can use them to pique our interest, but then we need to do our own research and create our own beliefs. There are too many capitalistic interests at work in the media- the media brands themselves plus the publicists and lobbyists whose job it is to influence them- to take any of it at face value. Everyone thinks news organizations exist just to inform us, but really they are distribution networks for branders, advertisers, and publicists…”

So what does all this mean for us…? Well, I am not trying to BASH the news media. I am just forcing myself and my readers to view them in a different light. To really question what it is that they report, not take it at face value. Afterall, they are causing us to question many other industries, where is their check and balance..?

My advice: Use your local resources, don’t be afraid to ask questions! Social media is a great tool to find experts and share information. And before you go jumping on the band wagon the media has created, take a step back, do some research, consult an expert, and form your own opinions about issues. Being an informed consumer is a powerful thing and sharing that knowledge with others helps us get the real information out there. It is my only hope that if we continue to put our stories out there and continue our positive message that eventually our message will overshadow the fear and hysteria the media can cause in our consumers. After all, we are the ones who have worked in the industry for decades and generations, not reporters and news anchors!

Happy Friday everyone! Hope your weekend is fantastic!

California Association of Meat Processors Convention

Ever since 1984, Chico Locker & Sausage Co. has been attending the California Association of Meat Processors (CAMP)’s annual convention. CAMP is a great organization full of wonderful people, many of whom have become like family. People who are willing to share their knowledge, expertise, and passion. Every year CAMP hosts it’s annual convention in the spring and this year we were lucky enough to host it in Chico! The turn out was amazing, one of the most successful we’ve had in a long time. Over 30 meat processing plants from all over California drove up for the weekend. Many new faces as well as students with a passion for the meat industry. For the “old timers” in the association this is exciting, the younger generation is taking an interest in what is slowly becoming a lost art. The younger generation is realizing that this organization is a wealth of knowledge and that if left untapped, it will not be shared and continued.

The convention begins Friday with checking in of meat into the Cured Meat Competition. Products are entered into specific categories and are then judged by some of the best in the industry on external appearance, internal appearance, aroma, flavor, texture. Points are given and then calculated in order to find out who placed first, second, and third in each category. Judges and assistants work hard for two days and during our closing session on Saturday, awards are given.

But this is just a portion of what goes on at our conventions. There are also two days of workshops on all kinds of topics. Making ham and bacon, cutting up a lamb, making snack sticks… Just to name a few. Lots of valuable knowledge is shared. I was given the opportunity to speak on utilizing social media for your business. I spoke about the success of this blog as well as Twitter. And really shared with everyone the passion I have found through educating people about meat. I was pleasantly surprised that many people found my presentation motivating and hopefully in the next few months I will be able to share with you all some new blogs that are popping up!

I am extremely honored to report that we took home FIVE awards from the Cured Meat Show as well as received one of the highest honors, The Wayne Hall Excellence in Curing Award. Some of our products that brought home awards were: teriyaki jerky, peppersticks, potato sausage, bone-in ham, and bacon. The Wayne Hall Excellence in Curing Award is a memorial award that is awarded to the individual who has the highest combined score in the following categories: bone-in ham, boneless ham, bacon, and smoked turkey. So it really is a testament to quality of your cured products.

All in all, it was a fabulous weekend. Good people, good food (that’s a given when you’re dealing with MEAT people!), and lots of good times. My family hosted the President’s Party on Friday night at our house. My best friend and fabulous chef Amber Kirpes of recipeshmecipe was gracious enough to travel from Santa Cruz to cater the appetizers for the party. And let me tell you, they were fabulous! She did an amazing job and our guests were raving all night long. That’s saying something because these people know their food. If you are in the Santa Cruz area and looking for a caterer for your party or you want a tasty recipe to cook for dinner, please check out Amber’s blog. http://recipeshmecipe.com/

Now enough with my babble about this weekend, here is the convention captured in images:

Some of the food presented at the party Friday night

Salmon Dip and our carved and garnished Smoked Turkey

More delicious appetizers

Meat people know how to party

Woo hoo! Accepting our awards! Congrats to our employees who made many of the products we won with AND they got to accept their own awards!

Two Reserve Grand Champions!

Our owner, David Dewey, upholding his title with a Grand Champion bone-in ham

Receiving our Excellence in Curing Award from Wayne Hall’s son Dale. It was a special night!We are so honored!!

This photo is near and dear to my heart. Two of the greatest experts in curing meat you will ever find. Who also happen to be good friends. 🙂 I love it.

Viewing of all the products entered into the competition

140 products total entered, so to win amongst all of the entries really shows you the quality of your products.

Our award winning bacon everyone knows and loves!

Well that’s all folks. We are ready for a normal week back at the shop and are going to need it to recover from this weekend! I have some exciting things coming up for this week. So stay tuned for Wordless Wednesday and Fun Meat Fact Friday! Also I’d like to thank all of you who took the time to read our feature on Meat Me’s blog. I am utterly blown away at the number of views we received. So thank you! To all of you for the support! Without all of you out there reading, I wouldn’t have this passion for sharing! Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend and let’s have a GREAT week!

Wordless Wednesday: Always Remember Where You Started…

Sometimes life takes over, it gets crazy, and you get buried underneath it all. Then you come across something like this and you remember where it was that you started. And how far along you’ve come…

And for those of you who can’t see that date in the right hand corner… 1985.

Featured: Meat & Poultry

About a month ago, a long time family friend and retired staff member of the American Association of Meat Processors gave us a call and expressed interest in writing an article about our business and our family. Knowing that he now writes for Meat and Poultry magazine (which is a huge publication in our industry), we absolutely accepted! After about two months of e-mails back and forth, editing and revising, our article has finally been published! And to see it in print, we feel so honored! It’s always a great feeling when the “the little guy” has a voice and thank you so much to Steve Krut for giving us that voice! For choosing “us” all the way out here in California to feature! And this opportunity would not have been possible without an organization like the American Association of Meat Processors. We have made lifelong friends with its members as well as its staff and we wouldn’t be where we are today without the help of all of them. We hope you enjoy a little look into our business and the insights of our owner, David Dewey.

http://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/mp/2011_08_01/index.php?startid=64#/68