Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Lean, finely textured beef, also known as "pink slime" is making a comeback of sorts in school lunch programs. Its reappearance is remarkable after the negative publicity of the past year. The principal maker of the product nearly went out of business. The whole affair was a sorry mess. Celebrity chefs and others inveighed publicly against the product. Parents, worried about what their children were eating turned against it. Everyone ignored the US Department of Agriculture which has never changed its opinion that "pink slime" is safe to eat and nutritious. Now some school systems are returning to it because it is three percent cheaper than ground beef. In other words, cooler heads prevailed. "Pink Slime" is a case study in how a crisis can erupt quickly around a product in the wired world. Clearly the company wasn't ready to handle the negative name for the product nor the negative publicity. It is now, but it could have been too late.