Cattlemen Assail USDA’s Healthy Lunch Contest

Once in a great while, the USDA does something for, rather than against, the public health. They’ve recently announced a contest in order to encourage the development of healthier school lunch meals. $12,000 in prize money is being awarded to the top recipes in three categories: whole grains, dark green and orange vegetables, or dry beans and peas.

Who could possibly object to that? I’m glad you asked. Turns out our friends at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association are none-too-pleased. They’ve got the chutzpah to be publicly complaining that the contest isn’t devoting one of its healthful recipe categories to beef.

Kristina Butts, director of legislative affairs for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, offers an unintentionally amusing complaint:

By excluding meat from its healthy kids recipe contest, USDA continues to add to the misconception that meat is over consumed in the U.S.

Beef magazine goes on to paraphrase Butts:

Cattle producers need to encourage their elected lawmakers to ask USDA to use science and facts when finalizing the dietary guidelines, she says. Lean beef needs to be incorporated as part of the solution to curbing obesity and promoting a healthy lifestyle for children and adults.

There you have it folks: if you want to curb childhood obesity, beef “needs” to be part of the solution.

What’s happening here is that the beef industry’s position as a dominant supplier to the National School Lunch Program is slowly eroding. And the people at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association will say pretty much anything to keep that from happening, no matter how silly or obviously self-serving. (Thanks, Paul.) Link.


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