Mr. Doug Hamilton, Producer
125 Western Ave.
Boston, MA 02134 By email: [email protected]
This responds to your letter of April 9, 2002 [see .jpg below] that was received in my office on April 11 via Federal Express. It is regrettable that you were unable to reschedule the March 19 interview with me. My request to reschedule came to you more than four weeks before your show was scheduled to air, and because of the frustrations that you claim you had to arrange interviews with industry executives, and my availability beginning March 27, it seems very surprising that you could not work it into your schedule.
I am also surprised that your investigative efforts did not clarify for you that the American Meat Institute did not join the group of organizations that were amicus to the plaintiff in the lower court, and it did not seek to be an intervenor in the Appeals Court.
Once again, we hope that you will make clear to your viewers that the judicial decision in Supreme Beef vs. USDA does not undermine USDA’s authority to enforce the law or even to use performance standards, but merely requires the government to use testing technology to truly measure performance and protect consumers. Frontline’s promotional quotations of Carol Tucker Foreman, whose organization was an amicus to the defendant, incorrectly inform consumers. We urge you to inform your viewers that unfortunately you were not able to make adjustments, three weeks before the show, to interview a key industry representative.
Doug Hamilton, Producer & Writer
1459 18th Street #121
San Francisco, CA 94107 By email: [email protected]
After several telephone calls and emails, Steve Johnson confirmed to me on Wednesday that you are close to the end of your interviews for on-air presentation in the April 18, 2002 Frontline segment about the meat industry and that you will not be interviewing me. Your advance website promotional introduction, which was posted after the 3-hour background discussion you and Steve had with me on January 11, drew conclusions very critical of the meat industry. Nevertheless, I believed an on air interview would provide some balanced perspective about industry initiatives to make meat safe. Your viewers need to know the meat industry works hard to improve food safety, not to impair it.
Specifically, your website description of the recent decision in Supreme Beef Processors v. USDA is biased against the industry and makes a direct reference to our organization, followed by disparaging comments from an Amicus party of the defendant. National Meat Association participated in this litigation, first as an Amicus, and ultimately as a Plaintiff/ Intervenor, because we believed USDA’s ground beef performance standard was applied at a point where it did not measure performance, and both the District Court and the Court of Appeals agreed with us. In the cancelled interview we had hoped to reassure viewers that these judicial decisions do not undermine USDA’s authority to enforce the law or even to use performance standards, but merely make sure that the government will use testing technology to truly measure performance and protect consumers..
There’s not one person working in the meat industry today who doesn’t want to provide wholesome food for Americans. They all have families and children who eat meat, and they are just as concerned about eating safe meat as every other consumer.
The meat industry does care about food safety. Safe meat is simply good business for meat processors.
Please share this letter with your viewers.