BEEF Daily

5 Beef Myths In Opinion Column Debunked


The Center For Science In The Public Interest’s Executive Director Michael Jacobsen blames beef producers for health problems, environmental corruption, animal abuse and manipulating the public. Here are the facts to debunk these irresponsible claims.

A BEEF Daily reader recently sent me a copy of the Center For Science In The Public Interest’s (CSPI) Nutrition Action Health Letter from April 2014. She was upset by a column written by Michael F. Jacobsen, CSPI executive director, entitled, “Hoofing It Away From Beef.” After reading the opening paragraph, I can see why it made her angry.

Jacobsen blames the nation’s health and environmental problems on grain-fed beef, and claims it’s animal abuse to feed cattle corn. He also celebrates that the nation’s cattle herd is at its lowest level since 1952 and is excited that Americans consume just 42 lbs. of beef each year, down more than a third since the 1970s.

The cherry on top of Jacobsen’s misinformation sundae is this: He says the beef checkoff is our industry’s nasty way to boost beef sales. Apparently, in a capitalist system, it’s a crime to promote your product to consumers. You can learn a bit more about Jacobsen and CSPI here.

On that website, you’ll notice that writer Jacob Sullum characterizes CSPI this way: “The typical CSPI report takes one or two plausible concerns, blows them way out of proportion, and throws in several dangers that are trivial, unlikely, or highly speculative, all in an effort to scare people into the one course of action CSPI knows to be right.”


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I’d like to take a minute to debunk a few of the claims Jacobsen makes with some of my previous blog posts on these topics. Feel free to share this blog on your social media sites today.

1. Jacobsen claims grain-fed beef clogs arteries and promotes colon cancer.

Read: Red Meat Does Not Cause Cancer, Study Concludes

Read: 6 Reasons Why I Eat Meat Every Day -- Mondays, Too

2. He says cows emit methane gas causing global warming.

Read: Global Warming, A Red, Hot Lie?

3. He suggests that grain fed to animals triggers the growth of pathogens, which can make people sick.

Read: Hot Topic: Last Night's Larry King Live, "Beef - Safe or Scary?"

4. He describes the livestock of animals grown in feedlots as “miserable.”

Read: “Feed Yard Foodie” Blog Answers Consumer Questions

5. He criticizes the beef industry for using youth Beef Ambassadors to stoke beef sales and capture the attention of millennials.

Last I heard, promotion and advertising of products, particularly healthy ones, isn’t a crime. Of course, Jacobsen is reported to once have said “We could envision taxes on butter, potato chips, whole milk, cheeses, [and] meat.”

Read: Checkoff Explores Next Generation Of Beef Consumers

Read: National Beef Ambassadors, Masters Of Beef Advocacy Great Checkoff Programs

I hate to see this steady onslaught of misinformation about beef, such as Jacobsen’s, make the rounds. The only way to combat it is to continue to put the truth in front of our consumers and work to balance out the conversation.

What do you think of some of Jacobsen’s claims? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of or the Penton Farm Progress Group.


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Discuss this Blog Entry 5

Frank Schlichting (not verified)
on Apr 24, 2014

I am not sure why this has you so upset Amanda. You of all people should understand that in todays world with the internet anyone is able to express their views and share them with a wide audience. The trick to getting a wide audience is to have someone famous making the statement or to make outrageous statements.

The only people that will be impressed with claims made by Mr Jackobson and others are vegetarians and radicals involved with the " animal rights" movement. The average person reads this, rolls their eyes and thinks another wacko on the net..........why do I waste my time reading this stuff I should go for a walk.

Ed (not verified)
on Apr 24, 2014

Why is it idiots who have never been on a ranch or in a feedlot write stories about us in the beef producing industry? Shows there are too many uninformed people who write and do no research. Thank you EEF for showing us who they are. Sad in todays world of instant fact finding

W. E. (not verified)
on Jun 26, 2014

The reason is that they, too, are consumers, entirely dependent upon the food industry to provide everything they eat. Since they know nothing about production and so little about the sources of their food, they are fearful and suspicious. Deep down, they know only that they are being, quite literally, marketed to death. So they lash out at the easiest targets, like beef. They would do better to read the lengthy list of ingredients on the labels their manufactured foods must carry, and compare it to the label on their steak. Consider for example, TBHQ, which is used as a preservative. When chips, crackers, kids' cereals and snack items carry ingredients like TBHQ buried in a list of 30 or 40 ingredients, folks have a reason to fear their food. According to A Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives, TBHQ is a form of butane (i.e. lighter fluid) the FDA allows processors to use sparingly in our food: It can comprise no more than 0.02 percent of the oil in a chicken nugget. Which is probably just as well, considering that ingesting a single gram of TBHQ can cause “nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ears, delirium, a sense of suffocation, and collapse.” Ingesting five grams of TBHQ can kill. Make mine 100% beef, no additives, no preservatives.

on Apr 24, 2014

CSPI is bunch of jerks in the people control business for a profit. Much like the Bolshevik Federal Bureaucracy.

Clarence Wilbur (not verified)
on Apr 24, 2014

If meat is bad, why are parents sent to jail for not serving it to their children? For more, Google: Vitamin B12 couple sentenced

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What's BEEF Daily?

BEEF Daily Blog is produced by rancher Amanda Radke, one of the U.S. beef industry’s top social media “agvocates.”


Amanda Radke

Amanda Radke is a fifth generation rancher from Mitchell, S.D., who has dedicated her career to serving as a voice for the nation’s beef producers. A 2009 graduate of South Dakota State...

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