USDA: No Meat in ‘Meatless Monday’

Photograph by Sam Hodgson/Bloomberg

Steve Tellam, co-owner of Tellam & Tellam Cattle, prepares to round up cattle to sell to another ranch in Ramona, California.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association was not amused, not by a long shot, when it learned this week that the USDA was endorsing — or at least someone with access to an agency website was endorsing — “Meatless Mondays.”

The posting encouraged USDA employees to participate in the program, backed by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, by taking advantage of all the “tasty meatless options” offered by the agency cafeterias.

J.D. Alexander, the president of the Cattlemen’s group, said the posting was an “awakening statement.” On the NCBA website, he argued that eating beef is healthy and that “this move by USDA should be condemned by anyone who believes agriculture is fundamental to sustaining life on this planet.”

Shortly thereafter the USDA posting disappeared. “The USDA does not endorse Meatless Mondays,” a spokesperson e-mailed reporters, adding that the “statement found on the USDA website was posted without proper clearance.”

The spokesperson would not say whether an investigation is under way, or if disciplinary action is in the offing.

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