Salt Lake Tribune Business section Feb 6th 1977
Up and Down the Street Mr. Woody By Robert H. Woody Tribune Business Editor Never underestimate the power of the consumer movement — for better or for worse — says Archie Rae McFarland. Last April, the Department of Agriculture said it would allow —. on interim basis — an increase from a haJf percent percent to up to one percent in (he amount of bone a packer could have put in meat products. What was involved involved was not "hard" bone materia! us laymen might believe, but rather bone material that was highly soluble. Federal Register However, the regulation was published published in the Federal Register, the pi-ess picked it up, and the public was suddenly indulging visions of bone fragments in their hot dogs — an image nearly as repugnant as that of finding rodent pellets or hair in one's deviled ham. Mr. McFarland is president of Bee- hivu Machinery, Inc., Sandy. Beehive claims to be the "world's largest manufacturer of deboning machines." Packers use deboning machines to get the last bit of scrap from carcass remains — whether beef, fish or fowl. They look like mechanized and highiy sophisticated scaled up versions of the meat grinders everyone owned in the 1930s. But they can cost $300,000 or more each. Go in Hopper Bones go In a hopper. They are squeezed under high pressure by an auger. The bone residue is extruded from one end, "the meat residue from the other — meat which had formerly wasted. With the public in- alarm, and consumer consumer groups leading the chorus of ptotesls the packers immediately put their deboning machines under cover or canceled orders for new ones. Beehive, with 2,000 employes', saw its U.S. sales drop drastically. By vear's end U.S. sales were off 80 percent And Budn**, with Poles, Czechs nearly 50 persons had been dropped I rom the payroll. Yet. Beehive survives. No thanks to the domestic market. -Rather, thanks to to the Soviet Union and satellites Czechoslovakia and Poland. Though domestic sales had fallen. Beehive managed to increase its imer- mitiomt sales by 160 percent in 1976, Mr. Mel- arland said. The Poles and Czechs were absolute- in t£ u"s b> UU> t>onsumw Archie Rae McFarland, president of Beehive Ma- chmery, shows component of deboning machine to members of the Utah District Export Council Sales to East Europe saved company in 1976." The reaction peaked in when a consumer suit got a judge to rule against the USDA's authorization ol the interim increase in bone contwit. After nil. argued the Poles and I'/cdis. if a beef carcass hanging in u supermarket meal section was presumed presumed to be tot idly edible — bones and Jill — bewuise of USDA what was all this hassle about bone in meat products. products. After all. Americans had been using bones in soup for years. Hustle Contracts It was. indeed, no big deal for UK- eastern Europeans in svho.se countries Mr. McFarland and other Beehive officers hustled contracts. Beehive has now sold one machine for Czechoslovakia and has contracted for delivery of seven more. It is now negotiating a $5 million order from Poland. Why are Poland and Czechoslovakia hot for Beehive deboncrs. Those countries are absolutely desp- <-ratc' for a hard currency — particularly particularly American dollars, says Mr. McFar- huul. Residual Meat And in a year's time a deboning machine .will recover residual meat that would be equivalent to 1,000 cows a year rendered conventionally. Figure! It takes about 10 pounds ol fjrain to pul u pound ol" the best beef on a cuw. That's a lot of grain !<j grow and transport, and — if you're short — you have to buy from someone else like the United States. _The Poles don't want to buy from the U.S. If anything, they want to sell — to get American dollars. So desperate are the Poles to export for currency, that their best meat product — e.g. Polish hams — is reserved for export, not their own consumers.