business news in context, analysis with attitude

Regarding the ongoing Mad Cow controversy, one MNB user wrote:

You are right that the USDA should have taken a pro-active regarding Mad Cow disease. The USDA is run by people who were previously in the meat industry. The meat lobbyists gave 79% of the $4.7M of their campaign contributions to republicans who very recently voted down a bill to forbid "downed cattle" from slaughter. A cow that cannot walk is a downed one and that is one of the symptoms of Mad Cow disease (BSE).

You ask, "What was the USDA waiting for"? I guess they were too busy counting the dollars from the meat industry and looked the other way when it came to providing meat sage enough for human consumption. One wonders what else politicians are overlooking when it comes to food safety. Is our fish safe? Is our produce safe to eat? Perhaps we should look at how much money all the food industries contribute to politicians to look the other way. I mean it seems to be the easiest method for discovering the truth on the underlying causes of food safety.

All good questions.

We criticized People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) for a series of anti-beef ads that also suggest that chickens are at risk. Which prompted MNB user Denise Remark to write:

I agree with your comments about PETA (which perhaps not-so-ironically is pronounced & spelled the same but for one letter, as PITA which stands for Pain In The A--).

I seem to recall that Dr. Stanley Prusiner was not originally able to establish that chickens were affected by TSE's (Transmissible SE). Nor have I read otherwise recently. Not that PITA--oops, PETA--has ever allowed facts to interfere with propaganda. Education is the key, not fear and gross-out tactics!

Another MNB user wrote:

I don't eat entrails, spinal cords or brains, I know how to bone meat and I've been thinking about using that grinder attachment (for my kitchen aid) for something besides sausage. I'd suggest Mrs. Content Guy do the same, as well as your loyal readers.

I sometimes think our politicians are more interested in pointing fingers and laying blame than resolving problems. O.K. I think that most of the time.....

Until this plays out, I'd suggest the consumers do their homework or bite the bullet and buy certified grain fed beef. At least for ground beef products anyway. I have friends in the UK that never stopped eating beef during the BSE problems they've had. Let common sense and some research be your guide. Enjoy the lower beef prices that are sure to come your way. That's the way I am looking at it. Don't eat a burger from a fast food joint, grind your own at home.

The US is made up of people who largely don't know how to cook a hamburger, much less grind their own meat. While we concede the sentiment, we're not sure how realistic it is.

MNB user Andy Casey wrote:

The FMI recommendations seem reasonable enough to start and shouldn't cost an arm and a leg to get into place. Beyond that, setting food testing goals that have a reasonable chance of detecting a problem before it becomes widespread without bankrupting either producers or consumers makes sense as something to work toward rather quickly. The fact is that for all its warts, the US food supply is relatively safe and the focus should be on keeping it that way as well as improving it.

I do not understand the "head in the sand" industry thinking that resists reforms of this nature in favor of short term profits. We have found one -- count' em, one -- cow with BSE in this country and already $300 million of beef bound for Asia is going to be rejected. I cannot imagine the economic disaster (not to mention, the human suffering and long lasting credibility hit to food supply integrity) the food industry would suffer if we had an outbreak similar to Britain's in the 80's. It might literally require decades to repair the damage, if it could be done at all.

And MNB user Stan Kessler wrote:

We should increase the regulatory powers and funding of the Dept. of Ag to protect our citizens and their health.

Response to the federal government's decision to ban ephedra:

As far as the ephedra issue goes, I don't think banning it is the proper way to handle it. Now all the government is going to do is turn normal people looking for that "natural" pick me into desperate addicts. Ephedra is the natural equivalent to caffeine, and to my knowledge caffeine isn't banned in the U.S. Limit the dosage. Experiment with it and find what would be effective yet safe. Yes, it has been linked to heart problems and others too, but so have many other things that we consume on a daily basis. Cholesterol can kill you, but we aren't required to eat fat free meals. On a very odd stretch I think Ephedra may now be viewed as an illegal drug, and we all know how well banning those has worked.

Regarding the annual Fortune list of the top 100 places to work in the US, one MNB user offered:

Hey Kevin, I find it interesting that the largest retailer in the world is not anywhere on this list!

Maybe the employees at Wal-Mart aren't as happy as some of the people say that write-in accusing you of "Wal-Mart bashing", huh? Or maybe it just isn't a great place to work for slightly over minimum wage? Working for Wal-Mart may be a decent job for some, but for most it is certainly not a career goal.

Thanks for the opportunity to comment, and have a great New Year! Please
keep this anonymous as I don't know if sometime in the future I may have to apply as a greeter someday.....

Finally, regarding the new black-and-white M&M's that are hitting the market, MNB user Mark Boyer wrote:

I think it was Oscar Wilde who once said "The only thing worse than being talked about, is not being talked about." The press from this alone will be worth millions. It is genius. People who like M&Ms will not stop eating them, and people who are lapsed or non-users might be tempted to give them a try.
KC's View: