This morning’s paper had an article about the uprising over ammonia-treated pink slime and the fact that it’s on the menu in many of our nation’s schools. The pile of tiny pink sticks of pseudo-beef filler in the accompanying photo did nothing to quell the uneasy feeling in my gut as I read the article. I don’t think that knot in my stomach was about the foodstuff but rather about the motive behind it.

I’m all for efficiency and making the most of a resource but at some point we have to draw the line and recognize that the end-product crosses the line. It’s a perfect example of what happens when we put the almighty dollar before our values. Can’t you just imagine the meeting where the idea for pink slime first came up?

A big conference room filled with suits. Someone timidly advances the idea of a great new product made from erstwhile waste.  “All we have to do is scoop it up, heat it up, spin it awhile and add a puff of ammonia gas.” (Or something to that effect.)

Stomachs churn. They continue, “Presto-chango we have something new to sell!”  Ears perk up, stomachs settle down and excitement builds as the analyses of future profits from a pile of garbage are presented. Moral compasses are overridden by financial opportunities. Corporate greed trumps individual good. How easy it is to forget the end-user amidst the promise of more corporate dollars.

When did we start putting corporate profits ahead of individual values. Just because it’s allowable does it make it right? Isn’t there a point where we stop and say, “Wait this doesn’t make sense. Something in my gut tells me I wouldn’t want to eat this—why would I give it to others?”

Today’s the day to start using your pink slime filter (previously the sniff test) to get to your core values. If it doesn’t pass, it’s time to stop, re-evaluate and get to the bottom of that pile of pink stuff?

An icky journey, but one we must all rise to.

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