Sunday, January 3, 2010

It's still a Jungle in the Food Industry

Jennifer Poole at Daily Kos has the story about how the Bush Administration and the meat industry lobbyists turned ground beef into a slime of chemicals.
You're not going to believe what you've been eating the last few years (thanks, Bush! thanks meat industry lobbyists!) when you eat a McDonald's burger (or the hamburger patties in kids' school lunches) or buy conventional ground meat at your supermarket:
According to today's New York Times, The "majority of hamburger" now sold in the U.S. now contains fatty slaughterhouse trimmings "the industry once relegated to pet food and cooking oil," "typically including most of the material from the outer surfaces of the carcass" that contains "larger microbiological populations."
This "nasty pink slime," as one FDA microbiologist called it, is now wrung in a centrifuge to remove the fat, and then treated with AMMONIA to "retard spoilage," and turned into "a mashlike substance frozen into blocks or chips".
Thus saving THREE CENTS a pound off production costs. And making the company, Beef Products Inc., a fortune. $440 million/year in revenue. Ain't that something?[...]

Bush's U.S.D.A. also allowed these "innovators" to get away with listing the ammonia as "a processing agent" instead of by name. And they also OKd the processing method -- and later exempted the hamburger from routine testing of meat sold to the general public -- strictly based on the company's claims of safety, which were not backed by any independent testing.[...]
U.S.D.A. department microbiologist, Gerald Zirnstein, who called the processed beef "pink slime" in a 2002 e-mail message to colleagues, represents the situation better: "I do not consider the stuff to be ground beef, and I consider allowing it in ground beef to be a form of fraudulent labeling."
What does Poole offer as a advice?
I've been thinking about an action item on this issue, and I've got three ideas:

1. Write Michelle Obama through this web form: or snail mail: The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500;

2. Print out the NY Times article and give it to the manager of your local supermarket, and ask them if they sell any kind of ground beef that doesn't contain this "pink slime" or if their butchers will grind meat fresh for you;

3. Just stop buying the damned stuff altogether.

For those beef lovers, try organic meat.


eli said...

For about one hundred dollars,and a little learning curve, you can obtain a wonderful little kitchen gadget that makes hamburger of any cuts of meat you put in the hopper....if you are old enough,you remember the one with the crank that was used in the kitchen of your early youth.
But that was before we trusted big business to take good care of our food supply....
Oh,and by the way,you can grind peanuts into butter-without anything else-and many vegetables -to bruised to eat-into juice that has no additives. Be Well

rross said...

Now you tell me! Around Thanksgiving I was looking for a grinder to make real chopped liver.