In the wake of the publication of Time magazine's cover story on the meat industry, The Real Cost of Cheap Food, several industry organizations and others with a stake in agriculture have aired their discontent. Following is an article from Meat and Poultry.
"In a world of 7 billion people and expanding, where malnutrition, hunger or outright famine are commonplace, it's dumbfounding that Time magazine would take one of the great American success stories - the efficient agricultural production of an abundant variety of healthy, safe and affordable foods for consumers in the United States and throughout the world - and turn it into an unrecognizable story of exploitation, manipulation and greed," wrote J. Patrick Boyle, American Meat Institute president and chief executive officer, in a letter to the editor submitted to Time magazine about this week's cover story, "America's Food Crisis and How to Fix It."
The ingenuity, productivity and dedication of American livestock producers and meat and poultry processors provide American consumers with an astonishingly wide array of product choices, with numerous flavor options and nutritional profiles, at extremely reasonable price ranges, Boyle pointed out. And despite this abundance, Americans spend less than any other developed nation in the world on meat and poultry products - about 1.7 percent of Americans' income per year today down from more than 4 percent in 1970.
"As Nobel Laureate Norman Bourlag said, 'You can't build a peaceful world on empty stomachs and human misery,'" Mr. Boyle stated in his letter. "Before one dreams about the 'good old days' romanticizing about a return to peasant agricultural production practices, as Time magazine apparently does, we should remember that organic shoppers in well-to-do neighborhoods in our country are a much different marketing challenge and imperative than the 1 billion people around the world that the United Nations estimates are hungry."
Time magazine's lack of balance and one-sided reporting on an article that was prominently featured on the cover was also put into question by Boyle. "Just as Americans need to eat a balanced diet, they also need balanced information. Unfortunately, they won't find it in Time magazine."
To read the Time story, go to www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1917458,00.html.
Reprinted from meatpoultry.com