Then Jamie took on school food in the USA with Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. While he didn't have the effect he'd hoped for, what with being turned away from 75 LA school districts when he offered them an opportunity for a cafeteria makeover. America really didn't want anyone to know what kind of crap they were feeding their kids in school. But then this happened:
Jamie showed off the "pink slime" or "finely textured lean ground beef" used as a filler product in commercial ground beef. A USDA study shows that pink slime is used in about 70% of all commercially made ground beef in the US.
Well, things happened. Things like this report from ABC News on 21 March 2012:
Safeway, the #2 supermarket chain in the US is now refusing to stock ground beef containing the filler.That's success. In Colorado, parents have pushed school districts to reject beef using the filler. That's success.
And back in the UK, The Guardian reports that a study published in The Journal of Health Economics shows:
So you get why I love this guy? Impact. And a positive impact at that. And it's exactly this kind of impact that has caused industrial food to pursue "ag gag" bills in various state legislatures in the US.Because if you don't know about it, they can keep doing it--no matter what "it" is.
Jamie Oliver's healthy school dinners continue to produce a marked improvement in national curriculum test results five years after the chef first launched his campaign, according to research.
A study by academics shows children eating the healthier lunches introduced by the TV chef do far better in tests.
Absenteeism from sickness was also said to have dropped by around 14%.
And it is claimed that a child eating the healthier food will earn between £2,103 and £5,476 more over their lifetimes due to their improved literacy.
UPDATE: Read a report that said that three of Beef Products Inc.'s four factories producing "pink slime" have been closed for 60 days, pending a review of demand. The closure may be permanent. Like I said, impact.
UPDATE II: Reuters is reporting that
Ground beef processor AFA Foods filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday, citing the impact of the uproar over a meat filler dubbed "pink slime" by critics.The Daily Mail Online is headlining that
'Pink slime' company files for bankruptcy amid controversy over the ammonia treated filler
Over at the Food Integrity Campaign, there's a really nifty timeline of the "pink slime" issue, from it's beginings to the almost total rejection of the product in this past week. Also, back in 2009, the New York Times ran an excellent article (it must have been, it won awards) about the use of ammoniated beef and the problems that were apparent with the product even then.
You know, I started out wanting to talk about a chef who has leveraged his celebrity to try and do some good in the world. I really didn't see this explosion coming, thinking it was just one more example of the crap we're stuck with eating ,and that until there was a revolution we would continue to be stuck with eating. But, man, did this thing ever achieve critical mass in a hurry!