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Tue, Sep 2, 2014

VINSON: Slimy journalism whips up frenzy with pink scare

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The Red Scare, also known as the “Second Red Scare,” occurred after World War II (1947-1957) and was popularly known as “McCarthyism,” after its most famous supporter and namesake, U.S. Sen. Joseph McCarthy.

In a nutshell, McCarthyism coincided with increased popular fear of communist espionage consequent to a Soviet Eastern Europe, the Berlin Blockade (1948-49), the Chinese Civil War, confessions of spying for the Soviet Union given by several highranking U.S. government officials, and the Korean War.

Most are well aware of the “pink slime scare” of 2012.

By all indications, the pink slime scare became headline news the world over during late March 2012 through mid-April 2012.

“Pink slime” is a nickname for the mechanically processed meat product officially known as lean finely textured beef (LFTB) and boneless lean beef trimmings (BLBT).

LFTB is a processed beef product used as a food additive that may be added to ground beef and beef-based processed meats as an inexpensive filler or to reduce the overall fat content of the product.

LFTB    is produced by processing “trimmings,” which contain high amounts of fat and small amounts of lean beef, mechanically separating the lean beef from the fat through the use of a centrifuge heated to approximately at 100 degrees Fahrenheit (or 38° celsius).

The heating process liquifies the fat and allows the small amounts of lean beef to be separated from the fat and other meat byproducts, such as bone fragments, connective tissue and sinew.

The recovered beef material is then processed, heated and treated.

Arguably, there has been considerable concern over pink slime for years, now.

However, after “Food Revolution” and “Naked Chef” star Jamie Oliver made public calls for food chains to abandon the “slime” – with the assistance of social networking systems such as Facebook and Twitter – the pink slime scare of 2012, comparatively, gained a momentum and following of omnipresent proportions.

Food-based chains such as McDonald’s, Wal-Mart and Publix were among those hit the hardest, attempting to save

face with the consuming public by removing, altogether, beef products from store shelves; issuing public announcements promising to look into, and get to the bottom of, the matter; or going on the defensive by alleging the prime time media had recklessly blown the pink slime ordeal out of proportion.

It appears that ABC News went after the pink slime scare with relentless abandon, reportedly using the term “pink slime” 52 times in a mere two-week period. Other major media outlets did likewise.

Best I can tell, the main issue with the pink slime scare is: genuine concern over collective public health versus an out-ofcontrol media dangerously sensationalizing data for the sole purpose of selling headline stories.

Since I’m neither a food expert nor food scientist, I must refrain from making a statement, one way or the other, regarding the legitimacy of the pink slime scare.

That said, though, I did talk to a friend who’s been a butcher for 20 years, and he had a few words to say.

“This main injustice is those who think they’re buying real beef are being ripped off; the quality of the beef has been diluted by these additives.

“When it comes to health, the biggest concern, as I see it, is the large amount of salt in this pink slime additive, especially for people with high-blood pressure and heart conditions.

“To give you an example, when you go out and buy what you think is quality beef, just go and look at the ingredients on a pack of bologna, and that’s pretty much what’s going to be in your beef.”

About the title “Red to Pink Scare,” my point is: As it was with McCarthy and Communism, will we – the everyday public – really know the actual truth about the beef we devour, by the tons, on a daily basis?

Is the “pink slime scare” attributive to slimy meat or slimy journalism?

Mike Vinson can be contacted at mike_vinson56@yahoo.com.
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Meat & Potatoes
Tags: 
Media, Mike Vinson, Pink Slime, Red Scare, Voices
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