Chomping at the bit for horse meat?

1. Primer for a Touchy Subject

I know this is a touchy subject and have heard all sorts of arguments for and against the topic of horse slaughter.  One common misconception about the “ban” on horse slaughter in the United States was that the practice was altogether banned — that is not the case. Continue reading

A “Leg-up” for Direct Marketers: Mobile Payment

Our Agricultural Entrepreneurship team at Penn State, in collaboration with other universities, has been developing as series of webinars pertaining to communications and marketing opportunities for independent producers in a large, digital world.  One such topic that will be discussed is mobile payment options for credit cards.  About two months ago I ordered takeout and paid using my debit card and their iPad.  I thought it was pretty cool at first, then I got to thinking about direct marketing of agricultural products. Continue reading

A Targeted “Best Foods” List

“125 Best Foods for Men”

Last week in the Des Moines airport I picked up a copy of Men’s Health to read during my flights back to State College.  It’s been awhile since I purchased a printed magazine because I usually read them on my iPad (yes, I’m one of those people) — but I can only take so much SkyMall reading during that pesky “below 10,000 feet no electronics” rule.  I’m glad I picked up the mag because it featured a pullout poster identifying the “125 Best Foods For Men.”

My first observation was that everything on this list was in some way processed and pre-packaged.  When I found the article online, the page tab read “The Best Packaged Foods…”  Tallying through the list, 25 of the 125 products featured the word “organic” in the product name; however, in the brief note explaining how items were chosen it was never stated that a preference was given organic or otherwise “natural” items (but I have to wonder).

The last section of the list was the Proteins section.  There are a few points of concern worth addressing:

(1) In the description of #119, the best ground turkey, one of the justifications included was that it had “no added hormones, steroids.”  Point of clarification:  Added hormones or steroids are not used in poultry production in the United States.  This should be in fine print on the product label.

(2) #120 describes the bacon as having no added nitrates.  Point of clarification:  Sea salt and certain vegetable juice powders (commonly celery) are used as a naturally-occuring source of nitrate.  This should also be included in the fine print on the product label. Even the corporate web site addresses this and says those ingredients are in their products. (Kudos for the thorough explanation, Applegate.)

(3) These are the only two items on the entire list that feature an absence claim (i.e. “No [this or that].”)  Why not the other products?  Not even dairy?

Shifting vs. Reducing Meat Consumption: Exports

 Consume Less at Home, Sell More Abroad

There are various campaigns designed to encourage reduced meat consumption in much of the Western World.  The three most common “benefits” I observe used in such campaign promotion include:  (1) Human Health, (2) Animal Rights and/or Well-Being, and  most recently (3) Environmental Impact. Continue reading

Meat Eater’s Guide (to Unrelated Recommendations?)

The Methodology

As a separate document, the Environmental Working Group published the their methodology for “Meat Eater’s Guide.”  Before reading the final report, it is beneficial to read the methods for the research presented in the “Guide.”  To develop their life cycle assessment (LCA) of GHG’s associated with meat consumption, many assumptions had to be made.   Continue reading

Steak 4 oz. at a Time: A Glimmer of Single-Serving Hope

3 ounces

Growing up, when we had steak for dinner it usually meant that everybody got one serving of steak — or in our house, one steak per person.  And, if someone at the table couldn’t finish their steak, there was no problem finding someone to finish off those leftovers.  Never in our house did we think of a “serving” of steak as being 3 oz. of meat. Continue reading

0.44%, and that includes horses

“Meat Eater’s Guide”

On Monday the Environmental Working Group released their version of a life cycle assessment for meat production and consumption.  From what I know, this is the first attempt to to model the entire meat system instead of only modeling livestock production.  That effort deserves some applause.  But hold on … you really need to read the document. Continue reading

Slaughter, Harvest, and Implications of the New Diction


slaughter Look up slaughter at Dictionary.comc.1300, “killing of a cattle or sheep for food, killing of a person,” from O.N. *slahtr, akin to slatr “a butchering, butcher meat,” slatra “to slaughter,” and slattr “a mowing;” related to sla “to strike” (see slay), from P.Gmc. *slukhtis. Meaning “killing of a large number of persons in battle” is attested from mid-14c. The verb is from 1530s. (Source: Continue reading