Questions USDA Won’t Answer on Meatless Mondays Kerfuffel

You probably heard by now that the U.S. Department of Agriculture got firmly put in its place last week by the National Cattleman’s Beef Association when a poor employee had the gall to suggest in an internal employee newsletter that coworkers consider taking up Meatless Mondays. Big Beef screamed and the feds jumped. (I was told it took less than 30 minutes for USDA to capitulate.) If you missed the coverage, check out Mark Bittman’s take, along with his attempt to ask a few questions of USDA. I tried myself and have yet to receive even the courtesy of a reply. Here is the message I sent Press Secretary Courtney Rowe in USDA’s Office of Communications last Thursday:

Hi Courtney,

I am writing about this matter for my blog. Can you please clarify the extent of USDA’s retraction?

Some are saying USDA’s action does not go far enough. See:

My questions:

1)    I understand the newsletter is no longer available online, but how was it distributed to employees in the first place?

2)    Does USDA also retract the message contained within the newsletter regarding adopting Meatless Mondays?

3)    Does USDA plan a more formal retraction in another issue of the newsletter, as AgWired suggests?

4)    Has any action been taken with the employee who put it in the newsletter, also as AgWired suggests?

Many thanks for your help,


I guess I flummoxed them. Unlike the beef industry, whose message was received loud and clear.

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