Beef, baby

Note: This is the third in a series. There is also a one and two

I’ve told you a bit about the food we eat here at chez beatgrl. We try to go local, seasonal, organic, etc (Yes, I’m straight out of stuff white people like.) We do the best we can, but we are not perfect.

There is one area where I won’t compromise though.

I want to know where my meat comes from.

Here’s why:
1) Being raised vegetarian, there is a grossout factor right out of the gate, so I’m picky about types of meat I’ll eat.
2) Have you read “Fast Food Nation?” Holy shit!
3) Have you read “The Omnivores Dilemma?” (see #2)

Its nice to imagine that our beef probably comes from here:
Or here:
This is Hemlock Highlands, a cattle operation run by our good friend’s brother.

But when we mix nebulous school nutrition standards with a shoestring budget here’s what we get:
First, there’s that void that large food corporations are happy to fill with their cheap processed crap. (see trix and cheetos)
Then there is the unfortunate reality of the ingredients the school has to work with for the “real” food they cook. It’s a no brainer that the USDA school lunch program is providing the cheapest possible meats available.

Those meats come from here:
feedlot2.jpg (This doesn’t smell good, by the way. Drive through Jerome, Idaho if you don’t believe me.)

When last month’s beef recall was announced, my first thought was “This is probably the meat that goes to schools and prisons and soldiers.” I was not surprised when I found out that our school district had to destroy 300 cases. Of course the kids had already been eating it. And they would have continued to eat it if an activist had not gone under cover to expose what was going on at ONE meat packing plant. I was going to post some pics of the downer cows, but they were just too awful. Do an image search if you dare. Beef is back in the cafeteria, from a different supplier, but for some reason I don’t feel any safer.

On a happier note, it was uplifting to hear about a nearby district’s plan to take back some control. The LaConner School District plans on raising their own beef to serve at school. How cool is that? That’s not practical everywhere of course, but so great that people are fighting back against the giants like Food Service of America.

In a perfect world, the food at school should be higher quality than anywhere else.
Our kids are worth it.


3 Responses to “Beef, baby”

  1. 1 Oceanrevery March 7, 2008 at 6:27 am

    You have brilliantly presented this topic. Bravo! I hope the PTA and school board get a chance to see it.

  2. 2 natoslug March 7, 2008 at 11:08 am

    We’ve been off beef for the past 8 years or so (okay, I sneak a mad-cow burger once or twice a year), thinking that eating other meats would be healthier. Considering how many products cattle make it into (jell-o, anyone? How about vitamins or medication?), and that this is a problem with any of the factory-farmed meats we eat as well, that was rather naive thinking. Buying local is a great start, although it would be even better if I could convince the restaurants we occasionally eat at to do the same.

  3. 3 beatgrl March 7, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    I know, especially the Thai place down the street with the kick ass Pad See Ew

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