Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Put your money where your beef is...

Posted By on Tue, Jan 19, 2010 at 2:00 PM

click to enlarge labelmaker.jpg

When it comes to the safety of ground beef, the Barf Blog wants meat producers to turn platitudes into packaging labels.

In response to a recent slate of ground-beef recalls, producers at all phases of meat processing have come out to defend the industry's safety practices. For example, there was this letter to the editor in The New York Times from Jeremy Russell, the director of communications for the National Meat Association:

"The American food safety system is the highest standard in the world, and our ground beef is the safest," writes Russell.

If that is the case, the Barf Blog wants companies to reassure consumers by explaining exactly what has happened to the product they are buying. 

The post's author, Doug Powell, explains the level of transparency that he is looking for when it comes to packages of steak:

Tell consumers which meat has no E. coli O157:H7 or other dangerous types of E. coli, and back up such claims with meaningful data. Tell consumers and food service outlets which steaks have been needle tenderized, meaning they need to be cooked to a higher internal temperature. Make food safety claims available at retail and food service so consumers can actually choose.
Right now, though, the average shopper isn't demanding to know more about the package of hamburger -- they're just excited when it goes on sale. The most prominent aspects of labeling are often the use of the word natural -- an elastic marketing term -- and then the lean percentage of the ground beef. Until that changes, companies won't look to provide more information unless they face government regulation or customer demand.  
 
[Image via Flickr: oskay]

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