As the scary stories about “pink slime” or Lean Finely Textured Beef, as it is correctly known, spread across the nation, could anyone have anticipated the various twists the story would take? As the last few months passed, influencing factors contributed from an assortment of fronts. The story line has taken multiple turns and has had a ever varying look.
When we, as consumers, were first exposed to all the media coverage, we were blasted with headlines alluding to what the “big bad meat processors” were doing to our food. The “Ick” factor used to sell the story caught people’s attention with force. It would seem that if a writer could work children, food, or animals into the story, its power increased exponentially. These were all utilized from some angle or another to catch our interest.
As more and more food safety and food science experts weighed in, rational thinking started to shift many of the stories. Headlines started to read more like, “What if It Weren’t Called Pink Slime?”. By this time the platform from which the stories were being delivered had shrunk substantially. In spite of the length of time that had passed, this story still seemed to carry momentum. At least some percentage of the audience was still listening. As I read blogs and comment threads almost daily, the responses seemed to get more and more neutral to almost positive at times. I often thought to myself, wow now this guy/gal really gets it. It was almost as if I could see their “virtual eye brow” raise so to speak.
Although the economist types, or the “number crunchers” as I’ll call them, had always been in the back ground cautioning us all, “beef prices are going to rise”. It hadn’t initially affected our pocketbooks, so we just weren’t hearing it. Once the economic impact became more obvious, we started listening. At this point the stories start to read a little different yet again. They became more along the lines of, unfounded “pink slime” hysteria contributes to higher beef prices. Don’t let me mislead you, every piece I’ve read has also listed other influencing factors.
Of coarse there’s been more subtle angles from which the story’s been told and less dramatic twists and turns it’s taken along the way. But, as various influencers weigh in attempting to remove the smoke and mirrors as the story relates to their individual areas of expertise, I find myself wondering a couple things. What relative party will next have a message to add? How will that message sway the look of the story?
Husband of 19 years, father of 2 wonderful children.
I’m not proud of all the choices I’ve made, but I’m grateful for the lessons they’ve taught me.
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