The National Cattlemen's Beef Association welcomes you to "Beltway Beef." Initiated in 1898, NCBA is the oldest and largest national marketing organization and trade association dedicated solely to U.S. cattlemen and women. With offices in Washington, D.C., and Denver, NCBA is a producer driven organization representing the largest segment of the nation's food and fiber industry. "Beltway Beef" was created to serve as a sounding board for the U.S. beef industry. Decisions are made in Washington, D.C., directly impacting the cattle business. Our goal is to get the word out and we need your help. We encourage you to comment on the postings, ask questions and share with your friends. Posts on "Beltway Beef" are produced by NCBA staff and invited guests. Feel free to contact the bloggers at cadams@beef.org or snewsome@beef.org.

September 1, 2011

Food with Integrity Requires Marketing with Integrity

By Daren Williams, NCBA Communications

Sometimes I don’t need a cup of coffee to wake up in the morning. Natural adrenaline has the same effect. And that’s what woke me up this morning. During my normal routine of checking Facebook while enjoying my morning coffee, I came across several posts from friends talking about the latest Chipotle marketing effort, a You Tube video promoting Chipotle’s “Food With Integrity” program called “Back to the Start.” So I clicked the link and watched. As Willie Nelson began singing Cold Play’s “The Scientist,” while an animated farm morphed into a feedyard and then a factory, my blood began boiling.




Don’t even get me started on Willie. Besides butchering one of my favorite Cold Play songs, he is no friend of farmers and ranchers. But we’ll save that for another rant.

Chipotle’s “Back to the Start” video is a gross mischaracterization of how animals are raised to provide high quality, nutritious meat for American consumers. As cartoon hogs are enclosed in pens and barns that become factories they are pumped full of pills and green slime (presumably representing antibiotics which are used to keep animals healthy and growth promotants which help reduce the amount of land, water, feed and fuel needed to raise animals to produce food). Pipes from the factories then dump the green slime into the river as trucks are loaded with pink cubes of meat. Ah yes, factory farming, that mythical entity that exists in the minds of food elitists.

Here’s a dose of reality, folks. I live on a one-quarter acre lot in a home that takes up about one-fifth of an acre. We are one of the few families on the block with a garden. Every summer my wife grows enough tomatoes and herbs to keep our family stocked with fresh salsa for a month. But if forced to provide food for our family of four for a year, we’d be in a world of hurt. Now back to the movie.

As the video closes with Willie wailing “I’m going back to the start,” the despondent farmer has a sudden change of heart, knocks down his barns and releases his animals to roam freely across the countryside while he loads a wooden crate on a Chipotle truck. The implication is clear, the family farmer has been replaced by a factory and you can no longer trust the source of your food unless you eat at Chipotle.

It’s a great story, complete with all the elements of drama: a villain (the “man” behind the cold steel walls of the factory), a victim (the farmer) and the conquering hero (Chipotle, of course) who helps the victim overcome his oppressor. Good fiction, but the fact is farmers, ranchers and consumers are the real victims in this story.

Chipotle’s “Food with Integrity” marketing campaign lacks the very element they claim their food has: Integrity. Their own website describes the program this way: “It means that whenever possible we use meat from animals raised without the use of antibiotics or added hormones. And it means that we source organic and local produce when practical.” Whenever possible? When practical? What does that mean?

A glimpse into Chipotle’s annual report offers some insight:

“We do, however, face challenges associated with pursuing Food With Integrity. For example, current economic conditions have led to natural chicken and steak supply shortages. It can take longer to identify and secure relationships with suppliers meeting our criteria, and there are higher costs and other risks associated with purchasing naturally raised or sustainably grown ingredients. The growing time for naturally raised meat and sustainably grown vegetables can be longer. Herd losses can also be greater when animals are not treated with antibiotics and hormones and field losses can be higher for organically grown produce. Given the costs associated with natural and sustainable farming practices, and recently due to decreased demand as a result of the weak economic environment, many large suppliers have not found it economical to pursue business in this area.”

That’s a lot of finger pointing. But is it true? Certainly it is true that the growing time is longer and herd losses are greater when you don’t treat sick animals and they die. It is also true, therefore, that the cost is higher to produce these products. That is economics 101.

That about the claim that they simply cannot find enough farmers and ranchers to meet their criteria? When I posted a link to Amanda Radke’s BEEF Daily blog on Facebook, I got a lot of comments from farmers and ranchers who are upset with this marketing effort at their expense. But one in particular provided some insight into Chipotle’s claim that they simply cannot source enough “natural” food to truly meet their goal of selling “Food with Integrity.”

“About a year ago we approached Chipotle with a proposal to provide them with a substantial amount of beef raised under a pasture fed protocol that we developed. Chipotle seemed generally interested at first and they have right on their website that they would source additional product both locally and under these ‘higher, more sustainable standards’ if the product was available. But when push came to shove and we talked about price, which was a slight premium above the commodity market, they lost interest quickly.”

Isn’t that interesting? It seems that instead of “Food With Integrity,” Chipotle might want to consider “Marketing With Integrity.” I’m not sure how the Chipotle marketing team can rationalize making claims they want to do better but can’t, even when they have farmers and ranchers who would be willing to meet their standards if they were willing to pay for the increased price of production.

But if it is true that they can’t source enough “natural” or “local” food then how they can rationalize releasing a video which disparages the food they readily admit they still serve to their customers? That is exactly what they do in this video. Is this just clever marketing or is Chipotle pulling the wool over our eyes?

Let me be clear, I am NOT calling for a boycott of Chipotle. They sell a lot of beef, pork and poultry raised by hardworking family farmers and ranchers. But if you choose to eat at Chipotle, please register your complaint about their deceptive marketing practices. Submit a comment on the “Talk To Us” section of their website and they promise a response from a “real, live, friendly, human in a reasonable amount of time.” Be sure to let them know you eat at your local Chipotle. Surely they will listen to a paying customer.

Nor is it my intention is not to bash organic, natural or local food production. All food production models fit in today's agriculture. We have members who employ all of these production models. However, making false claims about the safety, nutritional value and environmental benefits of various food production models is deceptive and cannot be tolerated. The beef community must continue to work together to maximize the resources we have in this country, grass pastures and abundant grain supplies, to raise more beef using fewer resources like land, water, feed and fuel. There is room for every production model in this community, as long as we work together to meet consumer expectations, rather than exploiting them.

83 comments:

  1. This is excellent. Longer than all get out but darn good.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for addressing my questions regarding this issue. It's critical that those of us in the ag community understand what the non-ag public perceives, and remain open and willing to discuss those issues with civility. There really is room for all of us, and we should help and encourage consumers to make informed choices about what they eat.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous16:43

    NIKE markets shoes claiming you can run faster, jump higher. Is that true? Of course not. What is wrong with someone capitalizing on consumer demands when marketing? Isn't that what marketing is. What is wrong with this???? NOTHING NOTHING NOTHING The beef industry just gets their feelings hurt when someone disagrees with them. I have posted here before but it dont sink in with you people.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ANONYMOUS (creative huh?)12:13

      Gotta love the internet... you can toss out any unintelligent thought, slap a creative name like "anonymous" on it, pat yourself on the back and feel smart.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous14:10

      Nothing is wrong with marketing practices, but the livestock industry is different than the shoe industry. Ranchers take care of their livestock 365 days out of the year with no holidays, no snow days, and little bonus because we love what we do and if we are not careful about how people think of us all of a sudden I am the bad guy.

      Let me ask you…someone shows a picture of a heifer and her calf locked up in a barn and says they have been there for 2 days…you think that is awful…what they fail to mention is that they are provided feed and water and that it is 20 below out. The livestock industries have no problem with marketing IF the whole and correct story is told. What you seem to forget is that a little bad marketing directed at the livestock industry can destroy livelihoods.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous16:05

      I think the NIKE analogy perfectly illustrates an important difference: nearly everyone owns a pair of athletic shoes... in comparison, few people own livestock. If you choose to be misled by a NIKE commercial implying you can run faster or jump higher while wearing a new pair of NIKEs, you are merely fooling yourself. You know better because you already have NIKEs and know that is not the case. When marketers portray the livestock industry as evil, city folks don't have a clue if that is accurate or not, because they don't have the personal reference point to be able to make an informed judgement. Often they are duped into thinking that the livestock industry is in fact, evil. So in truth, a NIKE commercial and and anti-agriculture commercial are quite different, based on the average consumer's familiarity with each product/industry.

      Delete
  4. Meghan16:47

    Very well said. Laid it all out there with excellent points.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Comparing this to NIKE. Really? Food is a little more serious man.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anonymous17:02

    I will get my burritos elsewhere.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Patricia14:44

      I will have to agree on that... Is Qdoba the same way?? Because they make good burritos but I refuse to support ignorance!

      Delete
  7. Daren Williams17:32

    Anon, I appreciate your comment and agree that Chipotle is not the only company engaging in deceptive marketing practices. My point is that if integrity is the issue, then food marketing should also be done with integrity. I question Chipotle's integrity on this issue because they have a long track record of marketing their food as hormone and antibiotic free while their own website and annual report admits they cannot meet this standard 100% of the time and, in many cases, not even 50%.

    According to their 2010 annual report, "In 2011, we expect to increase the amount of organically grown cilantro to 80%, compared with about 55% in 2010, and we will continue to purchase about 40% of our beans from organic farms. Additionally, around 5% of our beans will be grown using conservative tillage methods, which improves soil conditions, reduces soil erosion, and helps preserve the environment in which the beans are grown.”

    They don't say what percentage of their meat is truly "natural." Or how about rice, a major ingredient in many of their burritos and the number one agricultural source of methane emissions globally.

    Integrity is a heady word. Tossing it around as a marketing slogan invites scrutiny and calls for full disclosure about the sourcing of all ingredients.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Mr Anonymous,

    I'll take your Nike example, and raise you a factory farm. If there is nothing wrong with deceptive marketing, what is wrong with a person becoming so successful they grow their operation to what food elitist claim, "a factory farm"? Agriculture, as a whole, is the ONLY industry in the world who gets discounted for being successful, growing and expanding their business. My husband and I run a small operation, it is successful enough for us to live off of, but because we raise our animals, in a confined environment, we are considered a factory. I, again, don't make the connection.

    My feelings aren't hurt. I'm tougher than that...I'm offended. It insinuates because of the way I raise my animals i.e. my life, it makes me have less integrity than someone who chooses to raise their animals differently. That, is an insult to the way I live and to my industry as a whole. Because of that insult, I'll choose to eat elsewhere when I visit a city that actually has a Chipotle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous08:29

      Lori, no one is discounting your growth and success. What people are discounting are cruel and unhealthy methods used to raise farm animals. Why are you are comfortable raising animals in a confined and unnatural existence that provides them with a short, unhappy life? I assume you pump them full of antibiotics to keep them healthy in such confined quarters. Why are you not concerned about the antibiotic resistance that is creating for humans, which could eventually render those drugs useless? If I have mischaracterized the way you raise animals, please enlighten us. But factory farming and confined farming are doing our world no good on many levels.

      Delete
    2. FarmGirl16:54

      Mr Anonymous,

      If you are to state something so convincing as "why are farmers not concerned with antibiotic resistance that is creating for humans" maybe you should do some research first. Upon reading your statment, I went to CDC (Center for Disease Control) website and found alot of articles about this topic. The number one cause of antibiotic resistance is the widespread misusage of antibiotics in the medical field. And how do you prevent antibiotic resistance? Well, all answers on the website state that talking to your healthcare provider is the number one way to prevent it. Never once was there mention of antibiotic resistance coming from animal production. Maybe you should do some research first, on credible websites, before making outlandish statements such as this.

      Delete
  9. Farm Gal18:27

    Great post, Daren!

    When it comes to food production, the Chipotle video is very misleading. I've been a marketing communicator for over 20 years, and this is pushing it over the edge, in my opinion. And as a small cattle producer, too, I am offended. We all need to face the facts....we've got a lot of people to feed now and a lot more to worry about in the near future. As producers, we are going to have to do it responsibly and efficiently. Period. It is going to take everyone -- conventional growers and the handful of non-conventional growers -- to make it happen. I may be a small producer, but we use conventional methods because we can't afford to do it any other way. AND, I also don't knock the large producers at all.

    I've walked through many modernized hog houses, for example, and they are phenomenal! Recently, I even put my bare arm in lagoons just so producers could proudly prove to me how far they've come with waste management. It wasn't "gross" or "disgusting." It was impressive! When I pulled my arm out of the lagoons, there was only a hint of odor and bit of jealously, I might add. Why? Because they could sustain that manure for use on their pastures....unlike my family who has had to pay a small fortune to purchase fertilizer to cover our cattle pastures -- and we aren't even covering all of them! Our livestock producers -- on small and large operations -- care about the environment and what they produce for consumers. They are working to improve production practices every day to produce safe, wholesome, and nutritious food at reasonable prices. Kudos to U.S. farmers! Shame on Chipotle and their scare tactics!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Daren Williams18:49

    Farm Gal, thanks for your comment. You raise a great point about large vs. small scale. I recently visited a 25,000 feedyard in Idaho where they capture EVERY drop of water that falls on their feedyard and every ounce of manure from the cattle and recycle 100% of it by filtering the water and composting the manure, then selling it to local farmers to use as ORGANIC fertilizer. Organic farming would not even be possible without this source of organic fertilizer. And as long as we're discussing organic, this article in Scientific American does a great job debunking the myth that organic food is safe, more nutritious and better for the environment. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/science-sushi/2011/07/18/mythbusting-101-organic-farming-conventional-agriculture/

    ReplyDelete
  11. Jeri Omernik23:07

    Well said/typed, Daren. When a business touts its integrity, it better make sure it operates with integrity. I'm thinking this lesson should have been learned in kindergarten... glass houses, stones, all that good stuff. Maybe the Chipotle team needs to seek out some remedial education?

    ReplyDelete
  12. I am glad this conversation is taking place. Well done Daren.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Does anyone think it is odd that Chipotle is owned by McDonalds? Even though I am one of those crazy organic farmers, I went on a personal Chipotle boycott after they had coloring sheets for kids that showed a "factory farmer" giving a pig a shot in the butt. Not good marketing in my opinion.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Anonymous23:19

    Before I get attacked, let me just say I completly agree with this post. I truly do. The Chipotle marketing strategies are decieitful and misleading.

    However, what I disagree with is the way NCBA and the industry has handled this. Quite frankly, they dropped the ball on my dime. Let me explain. So they REACT to Yellow Tail; Meatless Mondays.... and the list goes ON AND ON and now they REACT to Chipotle. What did NCBA or the other groups that get my dollar per head do to prevent this????????? My guess is not a damn thing. Did NCBA CEO ever meet with the CEO of Chipotle to face to face set the record straight? Did NCBA ever do anything for food service joints to provide them with educational materials and facts? Did NCBA do anything besides REACT? Nope. My dollar is used to REACT.

    So I don't just crticize, I suggest NCBA and other groups host a series of meeting with major food service joints CEOS face to face to proactively get the facts out there to prevent mishaps like this from happening and prevent posts like this one from being necessary.

    And finally, just so you know, I am not hiding. I only posted anonymously because I do not have a google account or the other options. I am Kenny Engle from Arkansas. I used to be an NCBA member but quit because I didnt like the way the checkoff was handling my money.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Anonymous23:21

    I will never buy another burrito from there. I like Moes better anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Anonymous10:06

    I agree for the most part with the post from Kenney above. We need to educate the leaders of these food service providers before it comes to this. This is a must. I also believe it is immature and absurd to be saying you will never eat another Chipotle burrito again. Come on, people work at this place just trying to make a living for their families that are not involved in the marketing. The need jobs.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Emily, McDonald's did indeed own a majority interest in Chipotle from 1998 to 2006 but sold that stock in '06. The "coloring sheets" you refer to were distributed as placemats for kids several years ago. They were the first sign wee saw that Chipotle was headed in this direction with their marketing. This was followed by a serries of billboards with sayings such as "Get your antibiotics from your doctor, not your beef." We contacted them at that time and tried to arrange a meeting to no avail. We explained that many of the farmers and ranchers who raise natural and organic beef also raise conventional beef and were angered by the campaign. We were told we were overreacting and that the campaign was just "clever marketing." They also assured us that the campaign was ending soon and the billboards would be replaced, and they were.

    The current Chipotle billboards include slogans such "WE really wanted to MAKE a BIG deal about our naturally raised meats, but we know that's not why people buy our BURRITOS" (with the words WE MAKE BIG BURRITOS" in bold. Clearly, these are less offensive.

    However, the "Back to the Start" video is, to me, is offensive to farmers and ranchers of all sizes.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Anonymous10:34

    I like the comment on "I will get my burritos elsewhere." Really? Where? Taco Bell? The whole in the wall joint on the boulevard? If you think they're getting prime cuts of organic beef, you are kidding yourself.

    Chipotle owned by McDonalds: NOT TRUE. McDonalds did invest in Chipotle as a start-up, but dissolved there relationship over, guess what, food cost. Why? Because as the excerpt reads, using sustainable resources [currently] has "higher costs". By the way, I read nothing there to debunk the Food With Integrity program. Just a statement of risks and costs. I did not read in that excerpt that Chipotle is planning to cease the program.

    So all of the hormones used in conventional beef farming are supposed to be better for me? I'm not a fan of cancer nor have I picked up a newspaper and read about the widespread shortage of food.

    And Willie "no friend of farmers and ranchers"? That's quite the assertion. Saving the rant for later doesn't mean you can cheat your readers out of an embedded link to an article supporting your claim. Especially towards someone who is very publicly involved in Farm Aid and.

    Give me a break, people!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous22:55

      You are obviously not educated on the matter of hormone and antibiotic use in animals. Do you think that drugs would be permitted to be put to use in animal agriculture if they caused any harm, at all to the human race? Studies of all kinds are put to test before introducing a drug to livestock. These drugs are only used at appropriate amounts and at appropriate times. Please, find a local farmer, branch out and ask for some first hand education.

      Secondly,please tell me how we are not faced with a food shortage or shouldn't be concerned? There are about 7 billion people on this earth. Do you think the agriculture industry is only concerned with the present population in our own country? The answer is no! With the world population raising more and more every year, this is the main focal point driving agriculture. Universities and companies are focusing studies and observations every day to ensure more efficient use of our land and more efficient products. If there was not a food shortage, every person on this planet would be fed. This is also why more organizations, like Heifer International, are being developed so we educate the world to grow there own produce. When the population reaches 9 billion, do you think we are going to have the same amount of land to farm? We are going to have to continue to use less land to feed more people.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous- I don't understand how you can believe that drugs that caused any harm at all would never be put to use in animal agriculture. Chemicals that cause harm to humans have been used in agriculture before. Regulation sometimes lags behind science. DDT is probably the most widely-recognized example.

      One negative effect of the use of antibiotics in meat production has been the emergence of lethal antibiotic strains of pathogens such as Salmonella, amongst others. Many reputable scientific studies have concluded that the nontherapeutic use of antibiotics in meat production is responsible for antibiotic resistance in human diseases. I could give websites and citations and quotes from the Union of Concerned Scientists, but I'm not sure if I'm allowed to do that in these comments because that may be considered promotion.

      The FDA has been considering the pros and cons of the banning of antibiotics for promoting animal growth for over 30 years. In late 2011, the FDA decided to step back from banning nontherapeutic antibiotics in animal production. This was an unexpected decision, and the debate continues.

      Delete
  19. Anonymous10:36

    *whole = hole

    Frustration often makes me misspell.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Anonymous10:48

    Daren, once again....you are the man!

    Dustin Dean

    ReplyDelete
  21. Anonymous... What do you mean included an embedded link supporting the claim? What link are you talking about. We included no link about Willie other than a link to his homepage.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Deering - I think you missed Anonymous' point. Anonymous is saying that Daren should have included a link supporting his assertion that Willie Nelson is "no friend of farmers and ranchers". Anonymous was indicating that, just because Daren will be saving his rant about Willie for "later" doesn't mean he can just throw out an inflammatory assertion about Willie Nelson and not back it up with reasons or a link explaining how/why Willie is no friend of farmers and ranchers. Therefore, Anonymous asserts that Daren has cheated his readers out of an embedded link to an article supporting his criticism of Willie.

      Delete
  22. Daren Williams15:15

    ANON, I happen to agree with you that boycotting Chipotle burritos is not the answer. Chipotle clearly understands their target market and will be more likely to listen to a paying customer.

    For the record I never said Chipotle was discontinuing the Food with Integrity program. Their annual report clearly says they will continue tryint to source "naturally raised" meats and "sustainably grown" vegetables (terms which have no hard definition), even though it is unlikely they will ever be able to source 100% of their ingredients this way because supposedly they can't find suppliers (at the right price).

    What I said is Chipotle marketing lacks integrity. Why? By their own admission they do not serve “naturally raised” meat or “sustainably grown” vegetables in all of their restaurants nor are all of their ingredients “natural” or “sustainable.” Chipotle billboards and this video imply that foods that are not “naturally raised” or “sustainably grown” are unhealthy and bad for the environment (so essentially they are saying much of the food they serve is unhealthy and bad for the environment). Therefore, creating a video that denigrates farmers and ranchers who raise the very food they serve in their restaurants and vilifies large-scale food production which is the source of many of their ingredients is hypocritical.

    Does this make sense? If not, please let me know where it lacks clarity. If you choose to respond, please identify yourself. I like to know who I am talking to and believe that’s only fair since you know who I am and who I represent.

    ReplyDelete
  23. And lest you think I had nothing to say about Mr. William's post, I offer the following:

    From Chipotle's words above: "Given the costs associated with natural and sustainable farming practices, and recently due to decreased demand as a result of the weak economic environment, many large suppliers have not found it economical to pursue business in this area.”

    Chipotle is lamenting the lack of "large suppliers," the very type of entity that we are being told to distrust. They know very well the reality. The consuming public is very fickle when it comes to what they say they want and what they're actually willing to pay for in any consistent manner. Chipotle in turn is telling their suppliers that what they say they want is not something they are actually willing to pay for. I guarantee that if they consistently paid prices high enough to cover the increased cost of production, they would have plenty. The truth is their customer base & Chipotle management themselves do not put a high enough value on what they purport to want & care so deeply about. So it's reduced to pure lipservice. And that is the integrity issue to which Mr. Williams refers.

    Barb Downey

    ReplyDelete
  24. Kenny, first of all, thank you for identifying yourself and sharing your concerns. I understand that you are frustrated and I share your frustration. All too often it feels like we are on the defensive despite efforts to proactively address these issues. But I assure you that your checkoff dollars are being invested in efforts to head off these attacks. We believe that the best defense is a good offense.

    This past year we published the first ever Cattlemen's Stewardship Review, a "corporate social responsibility" type report highlighting the advances the beef industry has made in animal care, beef safety, environmental stewardship and supporting rural communities. This report serves as the starting point for a discussion with retail and foodservice operators regarding the work the beef community is doing to meet consumer expectations for good food, healthy animals, healthy environment and strong communities. You can view an interactive copy of the report or download and print it out via the ExploreBeef website at www.explorebeef.org (click on "Cattlemen's Stewardship Review" on the right hand side of the page).

    This past June we invited thought leaders in culinary arts, nutrition, retail, foodservice, university research, blogging and youth education put aside their daily routines and mostly urban lifestyle to visit feedyards and ranches in Nebraska to learn what it takes to raise beef. You can learn more about the people who attended and their experiences on the ExploreBeef website (click on "On the Ranch" on the right hand side of the page.

    Both of these efforts were funded by the beef checkoff and will continue in 2012.

    NCBA and the beef checkoff have also invested in an ag industry-wide effort to engage consumers in a conversation about food that is being led by beef, pork, corn, soy and other major commodity groups. More than 50 ag organizations have signed on to the movement, which will kick off publicly with a national "Food Dialogues" town hall event in September. You can learn more about this effort at usfraonline.org.

    These are just a few examples of how NCBA and the beef checkoff are engaging consumers, retailers, foodservice operators and others in order to head off attacks like the video from Chipotle. Unfortunately, some of these efforts fall on deaf ears (for more on our experience with Chipotle, please see my response to Emily @ Zweeber Family Farm).

    I hope this information is helpful. Thanks again for posting your comment.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Daren Williams16:57

    Kenny, the post above is from me. For some reason it wouldn't let me post under my name this morning.

    Barb, you summed up my thoughts in much fewer words and got to the heart of the integrity issue.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Anonymous18:45

    Daren- I appreciate your comments. This is the first time someone at NCBA has taken the time to give a shit what I think. The above is impressive. Why don't you people ever tell us about what you are doing with our money? Are we just suppose to trust you... not a good way to operate. Also, I still highly suggest bring the top dogs, not just thought leaders together to talk.
    Kenny

    ReplyDelete
  27. juat cuz they use a willie song doesnt mean he is involved don't blame willie

    ReplyDelete
  28. Daren Williams16:34

    Kenny, the Cattlemen's Beef Board handles communications to checkoff payers about checkoff funded programs. You can check out the latest checkoff news and sign up to receive their e-newsletter at MyBeefCheckoff.com. We certainly don't expect you to just trust us, but will work hard to earn your trust. I will pass your suggestion to bring together the "top dogs" at the major foodservice operators on to our CEO and foodservice team. Thanks for the feedback.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I agree. People who are really serious about getting "back to the start" wouldn't be buying a mass-produced burrito in the first place. They'd be worried about the mom & pop restaurants corporate chains like Chipotle are extinguishing. They'd be spending their dollars at family-owned establishments.

    I'm not saying there is anything wrong with chain resturants, but it's obnoxious to see Chipotle acting like they are grassroots idealists. In reality, they are the "big guys," too.

    Chipotle is acting like David, but they have more in common with Goliath.

    Farmers are an easy target. Chipotle is spreading more propaganda around suburbia. This campaign will make all those folks feel good as they sit in their SUVs, wolfing down nachos, talking about how they did the "right thing."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm serious about getting back to the start. I buy my meat in bulk, directly from a local cattle farmer. And no, consumers like me probably would not eat at Chipotle or any other big chain. I do not eat at Chipotle. Despite their marketing claims, I agree that there is no way to truly verify their claims about naturally-raised meat.

      Delete
  30. Love your blog and we were wondering if you might know if Chipotle's beef is grass-fed.

    Ever since we saw that animated video with Willie Nelson singing Cold Play's "The Scientist,"we've been Googling like crazy to try to separate the facts from the feel-good (and extremely effective) marketing.

    Even before the video came out, critics have questioned whether Chipotle's ingredients are really healthier and more sustainably-produced as claimed.

    Check out our blog post at http://www.estanciabeef.com/news/chipotle-grass-fed-beef

    And thanks for your help.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hank, I do not believe Chipotle makes any claims about their beef being grass-fed.
    I'm glad you like my post but am afraid you may have missed the point.

    Visiting your website, I found several claims that are as egregious and unscientifically-founded as those made my Chipotle in their video. For example:

    "Feedlot beef leaves you feeling greasy and stuffed. Estancia beef finishes clean on your palate and doesn't weigh you down."

    "Our grass-fed beef has about half the fat and cholesterol of grain-fed beef, with health benefits similar to those that come from eating salmon. Imagine a burger that's as good for you as a fish dinner. Imagine healthy beef."

    Health benefits similar to salmon? As good for you as a fish dinner? Seriously? I find these claims as disingenuous as those made by Chipotle.

    Grass-fed beef does not contain anywhere near the level of Omega 3s as salmon and I would never compare beef to a fish dinner. All beef, grass-fed or grain-finished, is a good or excellent source of the same 10 essential nutrients and vitamins, including zinc, iron, protein and B vitamins. No beef, grass-fed or grain-finished, is considered a good or excellent source of Omega 3s.

    Why try to compare beef to salmon? Beef is beef. Fish is fish. I east beef for the nutrients it provides and fish for the nutrients it provides. I do not eat beef expecting to get nutrients found in fish.

    Daren

    ReplyDelete
  32. Anonymous11:00

    for it being one of your favorite songs you should know that Coldplay is one word. After all they are one of the most popular bands on the face of the planet.

    - Tim

    ReplyDelete
  33. Anonymous11:36

    Your comment that rice is the greatest agricultural methane producer in the world is a bit disingenuous. Just like a bus produces a lot more CO2 than a car, but holds a lot more people, 10sq miles of rice paddies will feed a lot more people than 10sq miles of pastures or feed lots. Especially when you factor in how many people rice feeds globally versus the proportion of the world's meat that's consumed right here in America.

    I say this as a proud, meat-loving person. I would just suggest that your adoring fans on here keep in mind that you're only paid (highly-paid) to tell a single side of the story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Proud Meat-Loving Person, I appreciate the point you make about the relative impact of various types of food production on the environment based on the amount of people fed. I am not a scientist and therefore haven't done the research to either verify or refute your statement that "10sq miles of rice paddies will feed a lot more people than 10sq miles of pastures or feed lots." Lots of variables there such as the stocking rate of the pasture, time in the feedlot, etc. but if we're going to go down that path (which I think we should) then we really out to factor in the nutrient value of the food we raise. All food has an environmental footprint, including plant foods like rice and veggies. But not all foods are as nutrient rice as beef, providing 10 essential nutrients and vitamins like zinc, iron, protein, B12 and B6. Given the dwindling natural resources we have to raise food we will eventually need to examine relative contribution of essential nutrients to our diet.

      Delete
  34. I stand corrected, Tim. My wife and I have been fans since Parachutes. We saw them on that tour at Kansas City's Memorial Hall, a very small venue. General admission seating and we were a few feet from the stage. We felt like chaperones in a mostly college age crowd. Great show. Then they won the Grammy for A Rush of Blood to the Head and the next time we saw them was at Verizon Ampitheatre and we could barely see the band. Must say though I do like their music more than their politics.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Anonymous12:31

    I really wish that you all were Pro-Active instead of Re-active but I understand that the targets are a bit too many. I am betting over 80% of Americans would rather go meatless than slaughter an animal which is just a testament to how detached people have become from how they get their food. What you have to kill an animal to get meat from it!?!? They should have trussed the cartoon pig up at the end and slit its throat like they did "back in the day"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know it feels like agriculture is always reacting to stuff like this and share your frustration. I encourage you to join the Masters of Beef Advocacy, a network of 2,800+ folks nationwide who are proactively engaging consumers in conversations about beef. You can enroll online at www.beef.org/MBA.

      As for Chipotle, we met with them several years ago to express concerns about their billboard advertising. We were told at the time it was just "clever advertising" and they would be discontinuing the campaign. Then came this little ditty. We have been aware of this video since it was first posted to YouTube back in late 2011 (I wrote this blog post on September 1, 2011, not in response to the airing yesterday on the Grammy's) and have been encouraging farmers and ranchers to submit a comment on the “Talk To Us” section of their website or express their concern with the ad the next time they visit a Chipotle, if they choose to continue patronizing the chain. Our hope is they will listen to their customers, including the farmers and ranchers who raise the food they sell in their stores.

      Delete
  36. Anonymous13:14

    I would like to see every farmer in North America start to pruduce "natural" and "organic" products... I would then like to document who the first people complaining are when they go to the grocery store and find it constantly sold out of meat or at absolutely insane prices...

    ReplyDelete
  37. Anonymous13:44

    Anonymous,Please tell me that you understand that although some people would go meatless rather than slaughter an animal, that cattle produce many products that people would not be willing to go without. If their child or loved one was ill and needed one of the many medicines which come from cattle, I have no doubt that they would gladly sacrifice the cow.I am also sure that you would not agree to drive on only dirt roads. Have you given up the use of plastic, glue, sheetrock,rubber,glass,plywood,insulation, linoleum from your life? How does your house look without those things? Oh, what about minerals, fuel, vitamins, deoderant,detergent,harmones, enzymes,oils and lubricants too. Do you use any of those? There are hundreds more you know. Problem is, you don't appreciate cattle for what they do for you everyday.
    Real cattlemen appreciate cattle. I treat my cattle better than most people treat their house pets.My cattle have not only provided all those things I mentioned before, but they also enabled my daughter to get a college education through her involvment with the cattle industry. I resent being compared to a factory that produces tin cans, paper clips or whatever. What cattlemen produce saves lives and raises the standard of living for everyone in the world.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the two of you (I'll call you Anon 1 and Anon 2) actually agree on this point. I believe Anon 1 is saying that the disconnect is part of the problem; that people don't know where meat (or all of these other products) come from and therefore are susceptible to misinformation like that in the Chipotle ad.

      By the way, I'd really appreciate everyone including their name (at least a first name) with their comments. I like to know who I am talking to!

      Delete
  38. Fantastic respond to a ridiculous and out-of-touch ad campaign! My husband and I farm and raise cattle and while we would be considered - by most who believe there is such thing - to be a factor farm. I spent all day Sunday - in freezing temperatures and blowing winds - checking on our 300 new mother cows and their calves. We helped one pair cross a creek, fed another that seemed to not be getting enough from its mother and spent time with each group checking their overall well being. And I guess I thought I was being a considerate animal owner by providing shelter - in the form of a barn and sheds - for my young calves during these cold, harsh winter months.

    I would like to see Chipotle and any other fast food restaurant that makes their fortune feeding millions of people each year rely solely on the farming methods they promote in this video. It's not realistic and simply not feasible as our world continues to grow. There is a market and demand for each and every type of beef derived from each and every grazing and feeding plan. And Daren, you are absolutely right that the agriculture industry cannot point fingers at one another but must presented a united front and message.

    Great research, great blog post and great message for all of those that believe that American farmers and ranchers don't have integrity and heart.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Cory14:48

    I think this ad further proves what an article in the Omaha world herald recently reported on. Natural markets are having a difficult time being sustainable due to revenue issues at the various points of food transactions. It has to be priced at levels only elitists can afford to pay.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous04:44

      Which begs the question.Is the goal of the elitists really to starve us rank and file common dumb asses out.

      Delete
  40. Anonymous14:55

    Do you know how unhealthy Chipotle is? Even when using free range animals.....http://www.chipotle.com/en-US/menu/nutritional_information/nutritional_information.aspx doesn't look that bad on their website. BUT go to http://www.chipotlefan.com/index.php?id=nutrition_calculator and calculate a chicken burrito with a 13" tortilla, with brown rice and black beans (healthy right), green salsa, cheese, lettuce, guac....you're talking 990 calories just for that! Add in some chips and you're up over 1000 calories for one meal!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gerat point. Thanks for sharing.

      Delete
  41. Anonymous18:25

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      Delete
  42. Anonymous15:27

    Okay so for the NCBA ~ I am the average consumer who has significantly decreased the amount of beef consumed in the last four years. I've seen Food Inc. and Knives over Forks-maybe a couple more. I buy US beef maybe ten times a year usually tri-tip which takes a good amount of looking since Kroger, Safeway, and Albertson's carry a combo of the United Nations brands of beef. I don't like the antibiotics idea and yet I know farmers use them for a reason-cows are living creatures. I don't want to eat beef that has been soaked in ammonia or Clorox. I feel the same way about all meats. My prescrition is to buy very little and at a premimum, organic, no growth hormones, little anti-biotics. It tastes better. Aside from beef I have completly eliminated cow milk from my family's diet due to problems with lactose- What is with this??? Maybe you don't care since you are concerned with cattle yet both associations are not looking at the demand but shoving your product on consumers w/o addressing the issues we have. We don't want the junk- don't want the extra weight, the burden on our bodies is tremendous and the use of huge amounts of growth hormones is enough to make me a organic vegetarian if I didn't like beef. I'd rather see the cattle back on the land, I'd rather pay the money it costs to raise a healthy clean animal. I don't buy much beef....and that is serious for you and us. On the side...no matter what Chipotle is actually doing...they are raising the issue of poor quality beef and that's is what needs to change.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous, I appreciate you sharing your concerns and am disappointed you have lost faith in how beef is raised to the point that you feel you need to limit the amount of beef you eat. We certainly do care about the quality and safety of the beef we produce because we are huge beef consumers! We want you to feel good about enjoying beef as often as you desire.

      I eat beef almost every day and buy beef for my family at Kroger (King Soopers in Denver). I am quite certain the beef I serve my family came from animals that were treated with antibiotics to keep them healthy and probably received a growth hormone supplement to reduce the amount of natural resources needed to produce food. I am comfortable eating this beef because I know that hormones and antibiotics are used very judiciously, well in advance of the animal's slaughter, to ensure they are not present in the meat.

      If you are not comfortable with the use of hormones and anitbiotics, you can choose beef raised without them. Yes, we use them for a reason, but we also raise some animals without them in order to provide you with that choice. We certainly don't want to shove anything on consumers without addressing your concerns.

      As for seeing cattle "back on the land" I assure you they are there! Millions of them! Cattle are still raised by family farmers and ranchers on the land, spending a majority of their lives grazing on grass. Yes, most are finished in a feed yard, which allows us to raise more beef with fewer resources like land, water, feed and fuel. But if you prefer beef from cattle that spend their entire lives grazing on grass, we provide that choice, too.

      Finally, there is no such thing as "beef soaked in ammonia or Clorox." This is a gross mischaracterization of a process used on some ground beef products to ensure harmful bacteria is not present in your hamburger. If you are interested in learning more about this safe process, click on this link to a video interview with Gary Acuff, PhD, Driector of the Center for Food Safety and Professor of Food Microbiology at Texas A&M University.

      Once again, I appreciate you sharing your concerns. Frankly, I'm grateful you still eat beef after watching Food, Inc. and Forks Over Knives. Unfortunately, much like Chipotle's animated misinfomercial, these movies more closely resemble Hollywood fiction than scientific fact.

      Delete
    2. Here is the link to the video I mentioned above...

      http://www.meatmythcrushers.com/myths/myth-ordinary-household-ammonia-is-used-to-make-some-hamburgers.html

      Delete
    3. Anonymous,
      Agreed with everything you said and am the same type of consumer. I found Daren's response patronizing and couldn't help feeling bad for the industry. When they have to cry out, "As for seeing cattle "back on the land" I assure you they are there! Millions of them! Cattle are still raised by family farmers and ranchers on the land, spending a majority of their lives grazing on grass." then the industry knows they have a huge consumer-confidence crisis on their hands.

      I still eat a good amount of meat, but not one bit comes from Kroger's or Walmart or Costco any other store. I buy direct from a local farmer, and get 1/4 beef per year. His farm is Animal Welfare Approved certified, and his angus-limousin cattle are humanely raised, grass fed and grass finished. It's amazing-tasting, top-quality stuff and I've been to the farm and met the cows myself. I'd suggest you go to

      www.localharvest.org

      and look up some humanely-raised beef farms in your area, talk to some of the farmers or ranchers, maybe visit the farms if you'd like, and inquire about getting a side or quarter of beef. They usually keep email lists of people who are interested in getting a quarter or side of beef. They can walk you through the options, cuts and weights that a quarter or side would be.

      By buying in bulk from a local farmer like this, you don't have to pay the premium you might pay at a retail store, and you can still be 100% sure that what you're serving your family is safe and healthy- and that the animals who provided that meat were raised with the utmost care and dedication, and that non-therapeutic antibiotics were never used and the meat wasn't preserved using carbon monoxide or other methods. Plus, it's always great to support a farmer directly so they get the full profit from what they sell. Just a suggestion! Good luck.

      Signed,
      A meat lover and consumer of humanely-raised pork, beef, chicken, dairy and eggs

      Delete
    4. Jim, I'm sorry you found my response patonizing. Every word was sincere. I fully support your right to your opinion and to buy direct from a local farmer. Unlike you, however, I would never disparage the farmers and ranchers who raise the meat I buy at Kroger in order to promote buying from a local farmer. I simply cannot comprehend why anyone would find this acceptable. You may not realize that many farmers and ranchers who market their products directly to consumers also raise the food I buy at the supermarket. They are the same people! Are they half good and half bad?

      Delete
    5. Daren,

      Not at all! If I thought of the industry as half good and half bad, I wouldn't have even taken the time to read your article or post a comment here.

      I apologize, I did not intend for my comment to come across as disparaging toward all farmers and ranchers who raise the meat that is sold at Kroger or Costco or other retailers. I recognize that there are good, responsible farmers in this equation and do not wish to attack their livelihoods. In fact, I applaud them for what they are doing.

      However, if I am in a grocery store buying meat from behind the counter, how can I know which steak came from you, a farmer I'd support, and which came from a farmer whose production model I personally may not wish to support? I love meat, but I also want to make buying decisions that give me 100% confidence that my meat was raised using a production model that I feel will be healthy for the animals, for my family and for the environment. That's why I buy in bulk directly from a cattle farmer who lives 40 minutes away from me.

      Thank you for your sincerity, but I feel that you aren't addressing Anonymous' concerns. Whether you meant to or not, you implied that we as concerned consumers make poor decisions based only on Hollywood fiction. I don't claim to know the ins and outs of the industry, and I haven't made conclusions about half or even 25% of the farmers out there. I am just one of those people that threw up my hands and said, "I don't know what to believe anymore. I don't know what's wrong or right, or what's really happening to my food before it gets to this store. I may never know which large-scale industry practices are ok for the environment and my health and which are not. In order to feel good about how I spend my hard-earned cash, I'm going to just have to make the extra effort to *literally* meet my farmer and support him or her directly, and consider everything else a big question-mark."

      I am a minority in that respect. Out of the thousands of meat-eating people I know, only a couple dozen make similar buying decisions, but every year I meet more and more people who are choosing to only eat meat that they buy directly from the farmer.

      Thank you for allowing me to express my view in this forum and for your response. I appreciate the civil discussion, which is rare between people with opposing views.

      Delete
    6. Interestingly, I did some googling and found an article that actually highlights consumers who are just like me. I still think we're a very small minority, but this may be good for NCBA to be aware of. Eaters in general, meat eaters included, are starting to do the work necessary to know their farmer and know exactly how their food is produced. The motivation seems to be ending the guessing game that confronts the concerned consumer when they are deciding which of the many animal agricultural systems out there that they'd like to support.

      http://www.sacbee.com/2012/02/15/4263722/sacramento-area-families-buy-meat.html

      Delete
    7. Jim, I appreciate your response and clarification, as well as the civil discussion. You raise some very good points regarding the consumer desire to know where their food comes from. I do not think you are a small minority, perhaps not the minority at all. Perhaps I am in the minority in having confidence that the beef I buy was raised by caring, responsible people, whether I know them or not. In a sense I do feel that I know them because I have the opportunity to travel the country meeting farmers and ranchers and I have not met a "bad" one yet! Of course, not many consumers have that opportunity either. So how do we "end the guessing game that confronts the concerned consumer?" Wish I had the answer. Your comments have prompted me to look at the challenge a little differently. Good food for thought.

      Daren

      Delete
  43. Anonymous00:51

    I work in the ag industry, and for most of my career I was proud to say that I did. Then I started seeing things that didn't match up to what I thought the industry stood for. I got to see how companies were developing antibiotics that would make a cow healthy really fast (within hours) just so it could be slaughtered that much faster. So I started to read stuff that the industry didn't produce (again, I'm a product of this industry so I always thought anyone who had a different opinion was a wacko) and saw that a whole bunch of stuff wasn't matching up. I read about what we should be eating and found that we've created an industry that produces food that's unhealthy. Yeah, beef is good for you, but not in the amounts we want people to eat. 4 oz a couple times a week is fine, but we want people to eat 8 oz everyday. That's how we make our money. And people in this country continue to get fatter and fatter. We try to make the case that "we feed the planet," but really all we're doing is feeding ourselves - way too much. I work and live in the Midwest and see all this beautiful farmland covered in corn and soybeans that I can't eat. It goes to biofuels and feed. How's that feeding the world? I mention these things at work and people give me this look like "What the hell is wrong with you?" Yeah, but we're telling people we're feeding the planet. Seems to me companies like Monsanto, Dekalb, Dow, Pioneer, etc., keep marketing this myth just so they can walk away with tons of cash while we suffer. Speaking of Monsanto, they're scared to death that the public will find out that GMOs don't work. You now have to spray gallons of glyphosate (Roundup) on your fields just to keep the weeds down. And Bt corn is showing to be ineffective against corn rootworm. Their solution - spray more herbicide! Add a tank mix partner to your glyphosate application. Spray a preemergent, then follow it up with a post. Spray a burndown in the fall. Spray, spray, spray. How is this not going into our land and screwing things up?

    Sorry, got off on a tangent. I just mean, if I'm getting a paycheck from working in ag, and I'm noticing this stuff, how the hell can we say it's not happening? I know it feels like those idiots in Washington are trying to tell us how to live our lives, but let's beat them to the punch and take control of this before they meddle any more than they already do. I don't know what the answer is. But eating beef 7 days a week is not healthy. I see lots of these old boys roll up and can barely get out of there trucks they're so fat. When I was a kid you didn't see any of that. Yeah, there was the occasional family who were big, but most folks I knew were pretty lean. That's all changed now. Fat people all over town. Probably doesn't help that there's at least on Hardees in all these places. All I'm saying is I'm worried.

    Alright, let me have it. Tell me you don't see any of this happening in your town. If you do, you'd be lying.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous, I agree with you 100% that beef is good for you in proper amounts. The good news is that Americans eat beef well within the amounts recommended by the dietary guidelines, which call for 5-6 oz. of lean protein per day (depending on gender and age), which is also what we would recommend. According to MyPlate.gov "These amounts are appropriate for individuals who get less than 30 minutes per day of moderate physical activity, beyond normal daily activities. Those who are more physically active may be able to consume more while staying within calorie needs." (click "see the chart" at http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/protein-foods-amount.html# for more info).

      I eat more than that because I am physically active, exercising at least 30 minutes per day. I am a triathlete and beef provides the fuel my body needs to swim, bike and run long distances for hours on end! Yes, people in this country continue to get fatter and fatter but its not because we are eating too much beef. It's because we aren't getting enough exercise! I was one of those people, once weighing 270 lbs. I eat more beef than I did then, lots more. I eat beef seven days a week and I am in the best shape of my life (Now its my turn to apologize for going off on a tangent!).

      I grew up in the Midwest (it doesn't get much more "mid" than Kansas!). My family has raised wheat there since the 1880s. I do see more corn in that part of the country today than I did as a kid, thanks to center pivot irrigation systems. Yes, a lot of this corn goes to produce renewable fuels. But did you know that the leftover grain mash from making ethanol is fed to cattle, along with the corn stalks? Raising food to "feed the world" is a legitimate concern, given that the U.N. says the population will double in the next 40 years. But, to me, the bigger issue is raising food with fewer resources, and that is what we are doing today. According to Dr. Jude Capper at Washington State Univerity, today's beef uses 33% less land, 12% less water, 9% less fuel and 19% less feed than just 30 years ago.

      Finally, none of this is to say that things are perfect. We have lots of room for improvement in agriculture. I agree that the answer does not lie in more government intervention and couldn't agree more when you say, "let's beat them to the punch and take control of this before they meddle any more than they already do." Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      Delete
    2. Kari12:46

      Daren,

      I have a question for you. Awhile back, I was speaking with the former head of nutrition for Baltimore City Schools. This person said that, during his tenure in Baltimore, he wanted to implement Meatless Mondays as a way for kids to incorporate more plant-based meals into their diet. After the beef industry got word of this idea, there was a backlash from the industry's executives and he was unable to implement the initiative.

      If you agree that beef is good for you - but in proper amounts - why did the beef industry react so strongly to this Meatless Monday initiative in an urban school system? It is something that has perplexed me for a long time. I believe that serving one or two school meals without meat per week and calling it "Meatless Monday" would be positive for school children. Perhaps such an educational initiative would help expose children to meal options that could be part of a balanced diet, lowering the chance that they will exceed the healthy amount of 5-6 oz of lean protein/day.

      I'd appreciate a response.

      Delete
    3. Kari, I am not aware of any industry backlash against the Baltimore schools for wanting to adopt Meatless Mondays. In fact, I thought they had. Having said that I think Meatless Mondays is a terrible idea that should not be implemented in public schools. Many public shool kids depend on school lunch to get a balanced meal at least once per day. According to the USDA Dietary Guidelines (MyPlate.gov), this includes lean protein like beef. Can they get protein from plant based sources? Yes, but often at a huge calorie cost. One three oz. serving of lean beef provides ten essential (as in, we need them to live) nutrients and vitamins like zinc to boost immunity, iron for healthy red blood cells and protein to build strong bodies. All for around 150 calores. Did you know it takes more than twice the calories (374) to get the same amount of protein from black beans and more than 4x the calories (670) to get the same amount from peanut butter. We have an obesity epidemic in this country. The last thing we need to do is add calories and remove nutrients from school lunch!

      Delete
    4. Also, what are we teaching our children if we implement Meatless Mondays in schools? The Meatless Monday message is that meat is bad for your health and bad for the environment. That is a terrible (completely inaccurate) message for kids. As a taxpayer and parent I want public schools to teach the truth, not spread misinformation from anti-meat activists (the people behind MM).

      Meatless Monday is another clever marketing campaign, like the Chipotle ad, that misleads consumers to believe the way food is produced today is bad. In fact, I think that will be my next blog post!

      Delete
    5. Kari12:41

      We do have an obesity epidemic, you are right. However, it is my perception that very few obese people stick to the recommendations from MyPlate.gov and the USDA. I do not believe it is accurate to suggest that the problem of obesity might correlate with eating too many beans or too much peanut butter to get protein in one or two meatless meals per week. Rather, doesn't the obesity epidemic stem from people eating too many calories in general, whether the calories come from plant-based or meat-based meals? It is perplexing to me how you could say that substituting plant-based entrees for meat entrees one day/week in a public school would somehow work against efforts to solve the obesity epidemic in our country.

      As for the motivation behind Meatless Mondays, I have to say I disagree. In my view, the message that Meatless Mondays gives students is not that meat is bad or unhealthy. Have you interviewed students about the message they get from Meatless Mondays (if you can find any school district that actually has MM)? I don't think a single student would say that they came away with the message that beef or any other type of meat is bad for your health or the environment.

      I also do not think you have the correct perception of the "people behind MM". As the former director of the Baltimore City Schools told me, he is this country's "#1 meat lover" and the meat industry should crown him "meat king of the universe" because he loves it so much. That's why, when he started receiving angry letters from the meat industry, he was shocked! I also eat a lot of meat and it is a part of my kids' diets as well. I support eating meat as part of a healthy diet, but I also fully support Meatless Mondays. How do you explain this, since you see the two as mutually exclusive?

      Thank you for responding. You shed light on the inaccurate perception that the meat industry has of the motivation behind Meatless Mondays, and that explains why the industry has a strong negative reaction to the idea. I thought it was only about dollars and cents, but it is clearly also perceived to be some sort of ideological statement on the part of people who want MM.

      Daren, if you do write a blog post on this, will you please interview some parents of kids at schools that are attempting to implement Meatless Mondays- and some kids, as well? I think you might walk away with a different view of the motivations behind MM.

      Delete
    6. Kari -- Thanks for your response. The goal of "Meatless Monday" taken directly from their website is "to reduce meat consumption 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of the planet." That is simply not supported by science, which I will address in the blog post I am writing. Given that publicly stated goal, how could we not belive the MM agenda is anti meat?

      My point about peanut butter and black beans was calories. Beef is a nutrient rich food, providing more than 10% of 10 essential nutrients and vitamins for less than 10% of our daily calories (based on a 2,000 calorie/day diet. Why would we encourgage kids to not eat meat in favor of higher calorie plant sources of protein?

      If we are going to tell schoolkids not to eat something for their health and the health of the planet, why not start "Twinkieless Mondays"? Twinkies offer eseentially no nutritional value and plenty of calories.

      Our perception of MM is accurate and based on their own stated goals and actions. Did they state these goals to the former director of the Baltimore City Schools? I have no idea. It would not surprise me if they hid their true agenda from him.

      Delete
    7. Kari, your comments have been eating at me all day (pun fully intended). I am very concerned that you, as a meat eater, don't see the anti-meat agenda that drives Meatless Monday. As you said, "As for the motivation behind Meatless Mondays, I have to say I disagree. In my view, the message that Meatless Mondays gives students is not that meat is bad or unhealthy." So, I dug a little deeper into the MM website. Here is their agenda, in their own words:

      "Going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel. But keep in mind that just going meatless is not enough. That’s why we give you the information you need to add healthy, environmentally friendly meat-free alternatives to your diet each week."

      How could we not interpret that messages as "meat is bad or unhealthy"? It seems painfully obvious to me.

      Delete
  44. Whether or not the ad is an accurate portrayal of every single producer out there doesn't matter to consumers. For me, if it is an accurate reflection of even one single producer, that is enough for it to be legitimate and for the message to deserve to be heard.

    Signed,
    A meat lover and consumer of humanely-raised pork, beef, chicken, dairy and eggs

    ReplyDelete
  45. As a consumer, I find these commercials powerful because - even though I don't work in the industry - modern technology like video cameras and the internet have made it possible for millions of consumers like me to witness some of the treatment of animals at certain factory farms. Am I saying that every farmer treats their livestock so terribly? No. Am I saying that millions of pigs and cows and chickens in the meat and dairy industries are treated poorly? Yes. That is why, though I agree that Chipotle's marketing claims about their own meat supply are impossibly to verify, I still appreciate the ad.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Hey Jim,
    I understand where you're coming from. I lived in New York City and, as an avid cook, the food I felt best about buying was from the Green Market where I got to exchange cash for produce and meat by way of hands and eye contact that humanized agriculture for me. A step down from there was buying foods with the natural and organic labels. Agriculture was always a passion that my elders dismissed with "oh that would be a nice hobby one day..." but mid-career in NYC, I got so excited by Michael Pollan's writings about food revolution in the US that I went to graduate school to study animal science and agronomy.

    I'll tell you though, my first personal visit to the largest cattle CAFO in Texas catalyzed a transformation of my urban-born paradigm. It took two long years and exhausting argumentation, but through my own decisions, discoveries, and research, I found out simply that everybody's got an agenda. Pollan is a good book seller, and objectivity doesn't sell as well as sensationalism. Frankly, the "bad news" isn't all that bad--or isn't even true, and the "good news" these activists picket isn't even good...or, again, accurate.

    I encourage you to visit at least one CAFO. Just show up. Or at least communicate with a CAFO owner, Anne Burkholder. Her blog is feedyardfoodie.wordpress.com . But, I beg you to see it with your own eyes. Stop looking down someone else's camara lens. Stop letting the media think for you. Just because these farmers can't make it to the weekly farmers market doesn't make them any less human.

    You can also visit blog at foodthinkforum.blogspot.com . I offer a balanced perspective with plenty of resources, personal accounts, and scientific research citations to help you Think for yourself. In fact, I have a posting on the Chipotle ad to help you question it's assertions and get some facts.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Anonymous20:35

    As a vegetarian and animal lover. I wish everyone heard the farmers side. I think Chipotle needs to accept that cattle will die when they are sick and not given antibiotics.The producer loses money that way. Is Chipotle against low doses of nontherapeutic antibiotics, because I would see their point in that.But seriously, Chipotle you lost your integrity with that commercial.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Anonymous06:01

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Anonymous09:13

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Anonymous22:43

    Eat more vegetables

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I eat plenty of vegetables! Most Americans do (did you know that 70% of the American diet is plant-based foods?)! Do we need to eat more? Sure. But if we didn't eat meat could we raise enough vegetables to meet the iron and other nutritional needs ot Americans?

      Delete
  51. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Pump me full of all the antibiotics, RGBH, or steroids it takes to produce your beef, poultry, or pork. But if someone in my family gets PRION encephalitis from your meat, I will make it my life's mission to shut down your entire industry and I am one formidable SOB not to be underestimated. I don't even care the reason. I don't even care if it was a mutation from nature. I WILL SHUT YOU DOWN.

    P E R I O D.

    ReplyDelete

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association encourages all blog readers, including NCBA members, employees and the general public, to comment and engage in respectful conversation about the content posted here. All thoughtful, polite and concise comments are welcome. All comments will be monitored as carefully and consistently as possible. Moderators have the right to shorten, move or delete any comment at any time. Any comments that contain profanity, vulgarity, threats, commercial promotion, incoherence, etc., will not be published and will be immediately deleted. Please refrain from posting full articles and publications from other sites, as it could be a violation of copyright or intellectual property laws. Comments containing full articles will not be approved but comments containing links are welcome. Thank you for your cooperation. Happy blogging!