Where Is the Real Beef? I'm Mad As a Cow and Not Going to Take It Anymore!

04/13/2012 05:06 pm ET | Updated Jun 13, 2012
Cows have a voice too!
If you can stomach, actually bare witness to a revolting revolution called pink slime, food guru Jamie Oliver has a few bones to pick. Watch this clip now! Then, c’mon back for more.
Slimier stories about beef are never to be forgotten. Oprah paid a big time fine for her remarks on mad cow disease on national television. But what got me and I think millions of other viewers more than annoyed was the ridiculous accusations of the meat industry claiming that her remarks were defamatory.
Wait a minute! You mean Texas actually has a law that can fine even imprison citizens if they defame a food source or the industry that produced it.

A very small percentage of growers qualify to be considered organic

Let’s talk beef. According to the U.S. Beef and Cattle Industry from 2002-2010, Americans consumed 219.2 billion pounds. The retail equivalent of sales equaled 632 billion dollars. And the value of U.S. cattle and calf production equals 306.8 billion consumer dollars.
What’s the new beef-at- stake all about?
Meet Healthy Child Healthy World’s April Mom On a Mission Bettina Elias Siegel. On March 6th she started a petition asking USDA to ban the use of lean, finely textured beef (commonly known as "pink slime") in the beef destined for school food. Within nine days, the petition topped 200,000 signatures (reaching a quarter of a million signatures soon after) and effectively forced USDA to change its policy by allowing schools to choose ground beef without the ammonia-treated filler.
Yuk! It’s enough to make you love peanut butter even though those yummy treats contain traces of aldicarb sulfoxide.
What’s really tainted about the beef and cattle industry are the governments both state and federal laws and some regulations that beef-up production and competition amongst growers. Raising cattle is not an easy job. Harder yet, is raising cattle in a humane environment where the animals health needs, growth and development incorporate an environmental philosophy, cradle to cradle, which is less wasteful to the environment and kinder to the life span of the animal.

From cradle to cradle mobile unit harvesting is the most humane

Growers want to produce higher quality beef because consumers are demanding it. The move towards truth in labeling has led USDA to voluntarily label their products that contain lean finely textured beef (LFTB) or similar products that have been the focus of media and social media reporting that has frightened consumers.
"Several companies have chosen to voluntarily pursue a new claim on their product labels that will allow them to clarify the use of Lean Finely Textured Beef. USDA has received this type of application for the first time through the normal label approval process and the department has determined that such requests will be approved," USDA spokesman Aaron Lavallee told Meatingplace. "By exercising this existing option, these companies can continue to provide a lean, safe and nutritious product to an informed customer base."

This is a clear victory for consumers who have expressed their concern in recent days that LFTB has been included in reportedly 70% of the nation's ground beef, up to 15%, without their knowledge. It follows on the heels of introduction of the REAL Beef Act by Representative Chellie Pingree, as well as letters in support of labeling submitted to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack by Reps. Rosa DeLauro and Sam Farr.

But labeling in fine print is one thing. Grazing cattle on just grass with no antibiotics or feed lots pumping GMO corn is another.

Recently, I had a chance to visit Rancho San Julian located in Lompoc California. I had an interesting conversation with Elizabeth Poett, whose family has been raising sustainable beef for over 200 years.

Elizabeth and her son Jack

Elizabeth Poett and Austin Campbell, San Julian Ranch

As a mom she is most concerned about keeping Jack healthy. We discussed one of her and her husband’s initiatives, introducing Mobile Unit Harvesting. Elizabeth expressed great concern for the lives of her livestock. We talked about the sentinel practices which distinguish San Julian raised beef from commercially grown. To the average consumer who is ONLY identifying a label that qualifies beef as choice, aged, premium, sustainably raised or organic here are some additional facts Elizabeth wants you to know about her beef. And this label is worth mooing about!
  • Born and raised on Rancho San Julian in Santa Barbara County, CA
  • Raised humanely and grazed on a rotational system
  • Bred by registered Angus bulls
  • Never given any antibiotics or hormones
  • Finished on a completely vegetarian diet of regionally grown hay and dry farmed barley- NEVER ANY CORN (100% Grass-Fed available by Special Order)
  • Harvested on our ranch in the first USDA approved Mobil Harvest Unit in CA.
  • Dry-aged for tenderness

Jack Poett, San Julian's next generation cattle rancher, wants real beef for real kids!

Editor’s Notes:

Real Beef for Real People (part 2 of my series) will include the discovery of a secret recipe that may taste familiar. Here’s a clue. It’s not in the beef.

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