Rip off by the checkoff
File this one under “Separation of Meat and State: We Could Use Some.”
This time (and there are dozens of cleaver ways U.S. taxpayers are bilked into state-funded meat promotion) it’s the government’s checkoff program. These days, it is severely challenging all hope for sanity.
The checkoff forces meat producers to fork over a percentage of each sale to the government, so it (the government) can design national advertising campaigns on their (the farmers’) behalf. “Got Milk?” and “Beef: It’s What’s for Dinner” are a couple of well-known examples. Smaller meat producers have had their own complaints with program, at one point challenging the advertising-on-automatic-pilot in court on the grounds that it tends to benefit larger concerns.
In any case, vegans should file their own legal brief on the subject. I’d say, we now have a class-action lawsuit staring us right in the face. The latest: Checkoff money is going toward the promotion of Quiznos Prime Rib Sub, a product that, if we could just get the nutrition information about it, is sure to conflict starkly with the government’s own official dietary guidelines. And that’s just for vegan-issues starters.
While you ponder that, may I suggest you take a look at a recent blog post from U.S. Food Policy (The U.S. Food Policy and Economics from a Public Interest Perspective). It’s put together a very nice rundown of the facts.