altA well-known fast-food chain has launched its non-meat burger.

Television commercials with “customers” saying the fake-meat burgers taste “just like the real thing” are filling the airways. Despite all of the hype, I think I will stick to the real beef that comes from real bovines.

Why? Because the new wonder “burger” has more than 20 ingredients, including the laxative methylcellulose and a highly-processed powder found in lotion and hair products called Maltodextrin. Doesn’t that sound yummy?

What’s in real beef? Beef, beef, beef and more beef. I can pronounce all of the ingredients, and I know how beef is made.

According to the Center for Consumer Freedom, veggie burgers typically have a few “extras” not included on the menu, including Tertiary butylhydroquinone to prevent discolorations; Magnesium carbonate to help food retain color and an agent found in fire-extinguishing compounds; Erythosine (Red No. 3), an artificial food coloring that has been banned in cosmetics because of links to cancer; Propylene glycol, an odorless, colorless liquid used as a moisturizer that is also found in e-cigarettes and antifreeze; and finally, Ferric orthophosphate, or iron phosphate, which can also be used as a pesticide to kill slugs and snails.

The newly-released fake-meat burger is not the “healthy” choice consumers are lead to believe. It has about the same calories as the original, and 9 grams more carbs. A registered dietitian warmed consumers not to “kid themselves” into thinking the plant-based product was healthier than the meat-based burger.

The fast-food chain’s meat-like burger is not a vegetarian or vegan option either. Vegetarians and vegans are outraged because the burgers are cooked on the same surface as the beef version, according to published reports.

My question is this: If you want something with the flavor and texture of meat, why not eat meat – real meat?

Other companies and restaurant chains are developing meat-less menu options as well, like chicken-free nuggets made from mashed potatoes, chickpeas, onions, carrots and corn. I’m not sure what part of the chicken a nugget comes from, but the chicken-free version doesn’t sound very appealing. It sounds more like leftover holiday meal potpie, without chicken – or flavor.

A small part of me wants to try the new “burger” to see what all of the hype is about, but I can’t do it. I can’t bring myself to pay a single penny for fake meat. It’s kind of like paying admission to a concert and getting a George Strait impersonator instead of King George himself.

Anti-agriculture groups claim swapping a pound of fake meat for a pound of ground beef will save 90 gallons of water and save 290 square feet of land. Placing the blame on farmers for environmental issues is the norm these days, but as the old saying goes, a finger pointed at someone is three fingers pointing back at you.

My county has a population of about 16,700 people in 543 square miles. That space is shared with 752,259 head of cattle, sheep, goats, hogs, horses, ponies, mules, turkeys and chickens. In comparison, New York City has a human population alone of 8.4 million people living in 306 square miles. No wonder folks in New York are worried about how many square feet a cow takes up and how much water it consumes; they’ve out of room. And I sure wouldn’t want to take a drink from the Hudson River.

I’m going to spend my money on products that are not lab-crated. As the number of fake-meat items on menus across the nation continues to grow my lunch options may shrink, but that’s OK; I’ll be a patron of those establishments that support farmers and ranchers by offering real beef, pork and poultry – real food – to their customers.

I will still enjoy my fruits and veggies as well, just not on a bun with mustard and ketchup.


Julie Turner-Crawford is a native of Dallas County, Mo., where she grew up on her family’s farm. She is a graduate of Missouri State University. To contact Julie, call 1-866-532-1960 or by email at [email protected].


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