July 26, 2012 Just How Friendly Is USDA to Livestock Producers?
It’s down now. But not before at least one meat industry group reacted to a posting on a USDA website that appeared to endorse “Meatless Mondays” according to MeatingPlace editors.
“USDA does not endorse Meatless Monday. The statement found on the USDA website was posted without proper clearance and it has been removed,” was the statement emailed to Meatingplace by a USDA spokesperson who declined to be identified.
The offending posting was in a USDA newsletter called “Greening Headquarters Update,” dated July 23 that suggested patrons of the USDA Headquarters Food Operations participate in Meatless Mondays.
“One simple way to reduce your environmental impact while dining at our cafeterias is to participate in the ‘Meatless Monday’ initiative. This international effort, as the name implies, encourages people not to eat meat on Mondays. Meatless Monday is an initiative of The Monday Campaign Inc. in association with the John Hopkins School of Public Health.”
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association was not amused. On July 24 NCBA President J.D. Alexander said the recent announcement that the agency embraces the “Meatless Monday” concept calls into question USDA’s commitment to U.S. farmers and ranchers.
“This is truly an awakening statement by USDA, which strongly indicates that USDA does not understand the efforts being made in rural America to produce food and fiber for a growing global population in a very sustainable way,” said Alexander. “USDA was created to provide a platform to promote and sustain rural America in order to feed the world. This move by USDA should be condemned by anyone who believes agriculture is fundamental to sustaining life on this planet.”
USDA was not forthcoming on who posted the note, or how it slipped by proper clearance.
“Did you notice that our cafeterias have tasty meatless options? So you can really help yourself and the environment while having a good vegetarian meal!” the since-retracted posting encouraged.