Saturday, April 21, 2012

It's about pink slime, not pink slime

Officially referred to as Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB), the succulent looking paste, made from ground bovine scraps and trimmings, has recently found itself in controversy with certain advocacy groups in the U.S. Used as a popular beef additive and filler (pork and chicken also have their versions of filler, though probably not as grotesque looking), the pink goo has for many people crossed the threshold of food  preparation disgust. For those familiar with abattoirs, or comfortable with the manufacturing of things like hot dogs and sausages, a food product such as this is neither surprising nor offensive. However, despite the safety standards and nutritional value of the product, the highly unappealing nature of LFTB has led some to push for an outright ban.

Economist and writer Adam Ozimek has an interesting piece in the Atlantic that points to the economic and environmental benefits of LFTB. Though nearly all the evidence may suggest this to be a worthy food product, there is no proof or logic that may be powerful enough to overcome the human 'ick' factor. While this quirk in our food preferences undoubtedly has a rich evolutionary explanation, Ozimek links to a blog post by Robin Hanson that contained a list of humbling Socratic truisms that may better account for this dynamic.

• Food isn't about Nutrition
• Clothes aren't about Comfort
• Bedrooms aren't about Sleep
• Marriage isn't about Romance
• Talk isn't about Info
• Laughter isn't about Jokes
• Charity isn't about Helping
• Church isn't about God
• Art isn't about Insight
• Medicine isn't about Health
• Consulting isn't about Advice
• School isn't about Learning
• Research isn't about Progress
• Politics isn't about Policy


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