Thursday, November 5, 2015

Meat Moves in the News

I’ve been parsing the Kraft Heinz factory closing announcement and trying to see how much of it is influenced by U.S. consumers’ newfound distaste for meat. The job cuts are larger than what was announced previously, but not by much. The factory realignment disproportionately affects Oscar Meyer, the food conglomerate’s unabashed not-even-food brand of processed meat, but it is still only a small adjustment. Consumers could easily cut back on Oscar Meyer and continue to eat meat in more reputable forms.

In the meantime, the meat p.r. juggernaut continues with an embarrassing Money roundup of beef theft, six incidents in all representing more than $5,000 in stolen beef in the United States this year. A story like that is supposed to show that beef remains a hot commodity in spite of the cancer risk, but really only demonstrates that the meat industry, with its enormous advertising budget, continues to wield its influence over corporate media.

Another story worth following in this connection is the Chipotle restaurant closings following an E. coli outbreak tied to Chipotle. Several locations remain closed while the incident is investigated. It is important to note that the source of the bacteria is unknown, but E. coli is generally destroyed by cooking, so the problem is more likely to be related to deficiencies in cleaning the food containers used behind the counter than to any of the cooked meat served in the restaurants.