The wave of supermarkets falling all over themselves in a rush to distance their operations from the cloud hovering over “pink slime” has officially become a tsunami.
In the last four days, Kroger—which includes Ralphs, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, King Soopers, QFC and Smith’s—joined Stop & Shop, Acme, Albertsons, Cub Foods, Farm Fresh, Jewel-Osco, Lucky, Shaw’s/Star Market, Shop ’n Save, Food Lion, Dominicks and Safeway in loudly pledging that never shall a beef product sold in their cases ever again contain the dreaded ingredient.
“Kroger listens to our customers carefully to provide the high-quality products they want at the great prices they deserve,” the company said in a statement.
Translation: Kroger listens carefully to everything from talk radio to cable news to mainstream media and has determined that there’s little profit to be lost by dropping textured beef and lots of traction to be gained by publicly renouncing its use.
So it goes in an era when perception doesn’t just become reality, it helps define reality.
In fact, so strong has the whirlwind generated by pink slime become that it’s pointless to bother with any attempt to dissuade retailers from abandoning a perfectly edible product or convince consumers that lean beef added to hamburger patties is far healthier than many an alternative ingredient typically added to a formulation.
It can get downright depressing, reading and listening to clueless reporters with zero knowledge of the subject wax eloquent about how awful it is to contemplate eating the beef obtained from cattle bones—as if our ancestors weren’t gnawing on those very same bones to obtain the exact same additional nutritional value.
Meat and mental health
Well, here’s at least a partial antidote to the week’s gloomy news: A new study from Australia determined that women who cut red meat out of their diet are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. Those who ate less than the recommended amount of beef and lamb were twice as likely to be diagnosed with the mental health disorders, the researchers at the Deakin University School of Medicine reported.
A study of more than 1,000 women showed that switching to other protein sources, such as chicken and fish, is not as healthy as conventional wisdom might suggest.
“We had originally thought that red meat might not be good for mental health, as studies from other countries had found red meat consumption to be associated with physical health risks, but it turns out that it actually may be quite important,” said lead researcher Felice Jacka, an associate professor and Research Fellow at Deakin University’s Barwon Psychiatric Research Unit in Geelong, Victoria, about 40 miles west of Melbourne.“When we looked at women consuming less than the recommended amount of red meat, we found that they were twice as likely to have a diagnosed depressive or anxiety disorder as those consuming the recommended amount.”