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Fear Mongering is a Poor Marketing Tactic

Fear Mongering is a Poor Marketing Tactic
Fear over facts is nothing more than a coward's way to get attention.

I tend to be somewhat like an ostrich. Sometimes for my sanity I just have to bury my head in the sand. I realize that is not always the most mature or best way to handle a situation, but I am who I am.

I saw a post being shared on Facebook the other day that caused me to take a deep breath and head towards the sand pile:

The anti-media:

Scare tactics: Unsubstantiated fear has no place in the discussion of our food supply. It's merely a ploy for attention that is working and needs to be brought under control.

Whatever you do, don't eat beef from McDonald's. This Q&A is now on their website: "Does your beef contain added hormones?" McDonald's answer: "Most of the cattle we get our beef from are treated with added hormones, a common practice in the U.S. that ranchers use to promote growth." This growth hormone produced by Monsanto is banned in all of Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Argentina, and Israel because usage often results in severe and unnecessary pain, suffering and distress for cows, associated with serious mastitis, foot disorders and some reproductive problems. Cow's milk that is treated with growth hormone has higher levels of IGF-1 in humans may increase the risk of cancer.

An acquaintance from high school posted it on my personal Facebook wall with the comment: "Please explain this to me … thank you for your wisdom and knowledge [by the way]."

I first giggled at the "wisdom and knowledge" part and generally I refuse to partake in greasing the squeaky wheel outright. But when asked directly, I feel that the person is genuinely interested in the truth and I oblige.

My response:

The level of hormones present in beef has been determined to be insignificant by the USDA, being barely discernible from untreated beef, and much lower levels than other common products we experience daily.

A birth control pill contains 7000x more estrogen than an 8 oz. steak. A serving of cabbage has 1000x more estrogen than a serving of steak. These are common things we experience daily.

Much of Europe's ban is more political and trade-oriented. The science supports the safety of these products. The unnamed studies in this post are vague and loosely written to support agendas. Using a lot of words like "may cause" allows a lot of wiggle room.

As people on the ground floor, we trust the safety of our food system, and applaud the advances in safety, affordability, and accessibility gained over the last 100 years. Please visit this website for good information on beef hormones.

I wish I could explain it by myself, but people and groups such as the anti-media have millions of people writing daily to push fear over facts using strings of intimidating words that don't even go together and relying on consumers to 'take their word' for it because they aren't involved in agriculture, so why would they want to pull the wool over your eyes? Why not come out and ask those who raise the food in the world these questions – instead of those whose job seems to be to just point fingers and accuse.

Fear over facts is not how we should be handling information about our food system. Many farmers aren't naturally defensive people. Let's hope they don't have to become that way.

The opinions of Jennifer Campbell are not necessarily those of Indiana Prairie Farmer or the Penton Farm Progress Group.

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