4 things grosser than Pink Slime
Don’t read while eating. Tom Philpott has a brief article at Mother Jones on how our foods are handled:
The specter of “pink slime”—puréed, defatted, and ammonia-laced slaughterhouse scraps—has caused quite the uproar over the past six weeks. (The latest: ProPublica has a great explainer on pink slime and other filler products.) The current fixation on pink slime may well lead to the demise of the product; already, supermarket and fast-food chains and school cafeterias are opting to stop adding the stuff into their burger mixes. The company’s maker, Beef Products International, has had to temporarily shut down three of its four plants in response to collapsing demand, which doesn’t augur well for the company’s long-term health.
But I’m wondering if focusing on the ew-gross aspects of “lean, finely textured beef” (as the industry calls it) doesn’t miss the bigger picture, which is that the meat industry’s very business model is deeply gross. Even if pink slime is purged from the face of the earth, the system that produces our meat and related products (eggs, milk) won’t be fundamentally changed. A while back, I identified something about meat production that’s “even grosser than pink slime”—proposed new rules that would privatize inspection at poultry slaughterhouses while dramatically speeding up kill lines. Here are four more. . .
. . . Cooking, as it happens, took up almost none of our conversation, which quickly turned to the history of the relationship between “heretical” eating — which is how Spencer referred to vegetarianism in his history “The Heretic’s Feast” — and other “heretical” behavior, like homosexuality. (Spencer has “always” been bisexual, and has written authoritatively about sexual issues, especially in his 1995 work, “Homosexuality in History.”) Although the right to eat in any style one likes has not been a much-discussed issue, at least in huge public forums, vegetarians — along with people whose eating styles differed from the norm for religious reasons — were long treated as a minority, especially, notes Spencer, since the advent of Christianity.
He’s written that the story has long been one of “persecution, suppression and ridicule,” because vegetarianism is “not simply a criticism of meat-eating but a criticism of power … Not to eat meat, or to frown on the captivity and killing of animals, went to the heart of society.” . . .