I’d be feeling a little sorry for the industrial meat industry right about now, if only it were just its ground beef and other products that were full of excrement. But no. It appears the fecal matter contamination extends to its communications with the public as well.
Today the American Meat Institute unveiled a 6-minute-long, "consumer-friendly video" on YouTube, just like all the cool-kid companies are doing. In it, Janet Riley of AMI, a "busy working mom," lobs softball rhetorical questions about meat-packaging technologies to Randy Huffman, AMI’s vice president of scientific affairs. The point of the video is to reassure consumers about the newish practice of "modified atmosphere packaging," referring to meat that’s been sealed in a package from which the oxygen has been mostly removed, leaving primarily nitrogen, carbon dioxide and a "tiny fraction of carbon monoxide." That gas combination magically keeps the meat bright red well past its spoiling point, which is really handy for retailers. It’s also a practice that Europe bans, consumer-protection groups have been opposing since 2006, and Safeway and others have stopped carrying after Congress asked about it.
But the meat industry is stubborn. It’s apparently hoping this catchy little video will go viral on YouTube and consumers will nod their bobbleheads in unison that modified-atmosphere packaging really does benefit them, not just the industry. After all, we learn in some video bulletpoints, it lets us see the product, the meat’s a color that we’re "used to buying," and the meat will last a remarkably long time. Just remember, says reassuring AMI spokescientist Dr. Huffman, "eyes really aren’t the best judge of freshness" and "when in doubt, throw it out!"
Enjoy. Here’s the direct YouTube link should you want to leave AMI a comment.