One mother’s story about how her life was changed by the LFTB beef controversy

My name is Rachel and I’ve worked at Beef Products, Inc for almost 6 years. I have my BA in HR Management from the University of Northern Iowa. I have two beautiful children, Tyler, 13 and Austynn, 2. I met my husband of 3 years while working at BPI. He has worked for our company for over 16 years! We have worked very hard in life to get the things we have. Like most Americans we live paycheck to paycheck and just try to get by. We own our home and fortunately have 2 newer vehicles and a work car (not so new)  We enjoy camping, taking family vacations, just doing normal family things! We live a modest life and we’re happy just doing what we do .

But all that has changed……

We got word on Monday, March 25 that BPI, our livelihood, would be suspending operations for 60 days and after that our plant would be shut down permanently. As I stated earlier, I have two children (4 if you include Brian’s 2 children that we pay child support on) that we have to support and we don’t know how we’re going to do that once the plant closes. Brian never attended college and most businesses require a BA for Management positions and we don’t have the money for him to start going to school. There are no jobs out there and now 218 of us in Waterloo, Iowa will be looking. We will be competing against our friends that we have worked beside for years for those jobs. What are our employees close to retirement age going to find out there? What about our employees and their families with illnesses that depend on BPI’s medical insurance going to do? There’s so many unknowns. It’s so scary.

BPI employees all ages, backgrounds and nationalities. We were making a difference all over the world. We were bettering so many peoples lives, not only our employees but their families and our consumers. BPI makes a safe and lean product. I don’t get what people don’t get about that. The fact remains is that a knife cutter can’t cut perfectly when trimming away the fat so meat is left behind, that’s the meat we use, what the meat cutter in the plant miss. How is that dog food? It’s beef!

We all wonder, how did this happen and what got us here? Social media and uninformed public jumping on a bandwagon cost us our jobs, our livelihood! Jamie Oliver needed ratings and used the most laughable reconstruction of BPI’s process I’ve ever seen and scared the uninformed public. (Honestly, if I didn’t work at BPI, that episode of his show would’ve scared me as a mother too.) However, instead of researching, the public chose to believe him. Then a blogger, Bettina Siegel of The Lunch Tray, started misinforming her followers and started a petition to ban BPI beef from the school lunch program, ABC’s Dianne Sawyer and Jim Availa jumped on board and instead of contacting BPI to get the facts like a responsible journalist would do, they went public with a story they fashioned and the world went crazy. People are using a disgruntled former employee and one, let me repeat that.. ONE former USDA “scientist” as their sources. Are you kidding me???

How am I going to explain to my kids that we have to move because mom and dad can no longer afford their home, that my son can’t play baseball this season because we can’t afford bigger clothes, glove, shoes, that my children probably won’t get gifts this Christmas because someone with a different agenda has destroyed our lives. My kids didn’t deserve this. I find it ironic that the agenda for Bettina from The Lunch Tray did this “for the kids”. Who’s life is she affecting now??

So now here we are the employees and families of BPI left sitting (not standing) feeling defeated and helpless. But we are rising and banning together to get the word out and get the public informed about our product. ABC won’t listen (in fact, Jim Availa has hung up on several different people including BPI representatives and meat industry experts), Bettina from The Lunch Tray blog won’t listen. But if we can get word out to the public, we hope they will listen and get educated. Because after all the dust has settled and ABC, Bettina, Jim, Jamie and Dianne have moved on to destroy some other people’s livelihood we, the people of BPI, are left standing in the rubble wondering where do we begin to pick up the pieces of our lives and start all over?


This is just one of the many letters that are coming in from employees, consumers and parents in support of BPI.

Get the facts,

Join in the conversation on twitter using hashtag #beefisbeef and on facebook at People for the Truth.

About the author
Mrs. Hatland is a 30-something married, mom of 7 and the face behind the popular online publication, Motherhood Defined. Known as the Iowa Mom blogger by her local peers and “The Fairy Blogmother” worldwide. She has professional experience in working closely with clients on brand ambassadorships, client outreach services, content creation and creative social media advertising exposure.

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