Did anyone happen to catch The View on ABC yesterday morning? I don’t tune in regularly but had the TV on in the background as I was puttering around the kitchen. Rachael Ray was a guest, there to promote her new cookbook that features burger recipes.
As a beef producer who enjoys preparing beef for my family, that caught my attention so I sat down briefly to watch her segment expecting to perhaps pick up a new idea or two. I did not expect to be confronted with misinformation regarding beef; its production and preparation to be exact. As Rachael Ray displayed samples of finished product from her new book, the ladies tasted and commented. One of them remarked that some of the ground beef was red or pink and wondered if it was safe to eat. Rachael Ray replied that it’s fine if it’s “grass fed” or “organic”. The truth is that all ground beef must be cooked to reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees F in order to kill bacteria. The color of the hamburger is irrelevant. Bacteria are everywhere in our environment. Whether the beef is raised using conventional or organic production methods has absolutely nothing to do with the safety of the hamburger. Whether the beef is fed grass, hay, corn, soybean meal, or Krispy Kreme donuts also has nothing to do with the safety of the hamburger. Whether the beef is processed in a large facility, local butcher shop, or at home the same rules apply.
She also went on to state that the beef “scares” in the media recently were all due to “mass produced” beef and that if you know your producer and where your beef comes from you are guaranteed a safe product. Again, not true. She also stated that beef is OK to consume “once in awhile”. In reality, recent studies have shown that beef can be, in fact, eaten every day as part of a healthy diet. There are 29 cuts of beef that meet nutritional guidelines for “lean”, each with less than 10 g of total fat per 3 oz. serving. In addition, there is 7 times more vitamin B12, 6 times more zinc, and 3 times more iron in beef than the same size skinless chicken breast. You can find more info on the benefits of beef here: http://www.beefnutrition.org/CMDocs/BeefNutrition/HeartHealthyFactSheet.pdf
What troubles me is that Rachael Ray, who has built an empire from food preparation, is not aware of basic food safety or nutrition information. I am bothered when celebrities attempt to influence or lecture us common folk about topics that they are so obviously not experts. However, she wasn’t attempting to give her input on the political scene or give an economics lesson, she was speaking on a topic on which she should be well-versed. The public should have a reasonable expectation of accuracy on this topic from her. In reality, Rachael Ray is a popular and very influential celebrity with her own television show and magazine, but she is terribly misinformed. Also bothersome to me is that not one of the ladies on the set with her thought to question what she was stating. I wonder how many people watching yesterday took what she said as gospel. What she said was irresponsible as well as dangerous. I’ve written her about this. Let’s see if she will correct it….