Eight years ago, federal officials were struggling to remove potentially deadly E. coli from hamburgers when an entrepreneurial company from South Dakota came up with a novel idea: injecting beef with ammonia.
The company, Beef Products Inc., had been looking to expand into the hamburger business with a product made from beef that included fatty trimmings the industry once relegated to pet food and cooking oil. The trimmings were particularly susceptible to contamination, but a study commissioned by the company showed that the ammonia process would kill E. coli as well as salmonella.
Officials at the United States Department of Agriculture endorsed the company’s ammonia treatment, and have said it destroys E. coli “to an undetectable level.” They decided it was so effective that in 2007, when the department began routine testing of meat used in hamburger sold to the general public, they exempted Beef Products.
With the U.S.D.A.’s stamp of approval, the company’s processed beef has become a mainstay in America’s hamburgers. McDonald’s, Burger King and other fast-food giants use it as a component in ground beef, as do grocery chains. The federal school lunch program used an estimated 5.5 million pounds of the processed beef last year alone.
I've been aware of this and worse for many years. I grew up in family that was very food oriented and my mother listened to nutritionists like Carlton Fredericks and Gary Null. Nowadays I think Michael Pollan is the prophet of healthy eating and clean food.
The documentary Food Inc. does a very good job of showing how so much of our food is being tainted by these practices. My response is "just say no" - there are perfectly good alternatives to factory farming and corporate processing methods. . If we stop buying it, they will stop doing it. By the way, it's not any better in the chicken industry and even worse in pork industry.
I have a Kitchen Aid mixer and was just looking at grinder attachments... not nearly as expensive as I expected!
Organic doesn't mean much anymore. Try and look for locally grown or research a few companies to find one's you trust. The word "organic" was taken over by corporations during the last administration and it's hard to know what it even means anymore (Tyson Organic is an oxymoron to me). Berkeley should be a great place to find healthy, local food. And yes, find a good butcher and local baker for best the quality meat and grains.