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Chances Are Pink Slime Is In Grocery Store Beef, Too

 
 
Reply Fri 16 Mar, 2012 11:41 am
Chances Are Pink Slime Is In Grocery Store Beef, Too
March 16, 2012
by Allison Aubrey - NPR Morning Edition

If you're trying to determine whether the ground chuck you buy in the grocery store contains so-called pink slime, or lean beef trimmings, you won't find it on the ingredient list. "It's not required to be labeled," explains Don Schaffner, a food scientist at Rutgers University.

But, chances are, it's there. An estimated 70 percent of the ground beef supply contains these lean bits of meat derived from muscle and connective tissue. The industry calls the trimmings Lean Finely Textured Beef.

With Thursday's USDA announcement giving schools the options to order beef that does not include these trimmings, and the publicity over the online petition initiated by The Lunch Tray blogger Bettina Siegel, which quickly drew more than 200,000 signatures, it's clear that there's a lot of disgust over the concept of pink slime. And with a name like this, how could there not be?

But Schaffner says the suggestion of an ooey, gooey liquid is deceiving. Lost in the social-media outrage, he says, is the understanding that lean beef trimmings are a way of taking fatty bits of meat and extracting the lean part.

"What the process does is take the mostly fat trimmings and heat them up so the fat becomes a liquid," explains Schaffner, "and then uses a process to separate the lean portion from the fat portion."

The safety concerns stem from reports that the lean beef trimmings are likely to harbor pathogens, such as E. coli or Salmonella and other bacteria. And Schaffner, who has worked as a consultant to the meat industry, says this is true. "The bacteria risk comes from the fact that these are pieces that are being cut away from the outside of the meat, and that's where the bacteria are likely to be."

The industry recognizes this, and has adopted a practice of treating the meat trimmings with a gas made of ammonium hydroxide. This kills the pathogen, but according to critics, even if it solves one problem, it creates another. They say using ammonium hydroxide is gross, and they worry about its safety.

The American Meat Institute defends the practice. "This is not the same ammonia you'd use in cleaning supplies," explains Betsy Booren of the AMI Foundation. "It's a gas, it's a different compound, and it's a well-established processing intervention that has a long history of success."

But consumer sentiment has been turning against meat treated with ammonium hydroxide for a while. In January 2011, McDonald's announced that it would no longer use ammonia-treated beef in its burgers. And other fast-food chains, including Taco Bell and Burger King, have made similar decisions.

And given that only an estimated 30 percent of the ground beef supply is free of these meat trimmings, it may now be a challenge for schools or restaurants to find certified ammonia-free ground beef.

Chef Ann Cooper, who oversees a school food program in Boulder, Colo., says she tried to find some Thursday, and her suppliers couldn't procure it. "They can't find any," Cooper tells The Salt. "My processor out of Denver can't find it for us."
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Mar, 2012 11:46 am
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
ya gotta go to the butcher, ask him/her to grind fresh beef for you, or if you've got the old meat grinder in the house - do it yourself
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Mar, 2012 11:49 am
Yup. Ask them to grind up Brisket - it makes the best hamburger and is cheap!

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Mar, 2012 11:50 am
Yup, I buy from a butcher. They raise the cattle, hogs and chickens themselves, then butcher and wrap it. I don't buy meat from the box stores, haven't for years.
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Mar, 2012 11:52 am
@Ceili,
Ceili wrote:

Yup, I buy from a butcher. They raise the cattle, hogs and chickens themselves, then butcher and wrap it. I don't buy meat from the box stores, haven't for years.


Snap, my butcher doesn't raise his own stuff, though they do locally source... We do have a group at our farmer's market who does that, but the prices really are very, very high.

Cycloptichorn
Ceili
 
  3  
Reply Fri 16 Mar, 2012 12:04 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
When pretty much the entire world shut out Canadian Beef because of BSE and our collective honesty.. The farmers were screwed. The had all this beef and no where to sell it. The big box grocery stores are mostly US owned, and they wouldn't touch it - for a reasonable price. So, many farmers started their own small shops and took control of the distribution of their products. In the end, we all won, better prices, better product and the farmers didn't lose their shirts, livelihood and legacy.
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Mar, 2012 12:08 pm
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
You should really read Robin Cook's Contagion
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Mar, 2012 12:10 pm
@roger,
Contagion film for you. BBB

Storyline

Soon after her return from a business trip to Hong Kong, Beth Emhoff dies from what is a flu or some other type of infection. Her young son dies later the same day. Her husband Mitch however seems immune. Thus begins the spread of a deadly infection. For doctors and administrators at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, several days pass before anyone realizes the extent or gravity of this new infection. They must first identify the type of virus in question and then find a means of combating it, a process that will likely take several months. As the contagion spreads to millions of people worldwide, societal order begins to break down as people panic.

Written by garykmcd

FILM:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1598778/
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Mar, 2012 01:15 pm
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
The Robin Cook book is an entirely different story. He is becoming a favorite author replacement for Michael Crichton's genre of books. His writing skills aren't on par with Crichton's.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51xJgUL6uBL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg

http://www.amazon.com/Contagion-Robin-Cook/dp/0425155943

Quote:
When not one but three different extremely rare diseases kill several patients at a New York hospital, forensic pathologist Jack Stapleton suspects it's more than just coincidence. He thinks there's a connection between the appearance of the mysterious microbes responsible for the deaths and the HMO that owns the hospital--the same HMO that once destroyed his flourishing medical practice. Is Americare deliberately killing off its sickest patients--those who cost the most money to treat? Or is there an even more sinister motive behind the strange goings-on at Manhattan General, not to mention the attempts on Jack's life? And what is beautiful Terese Hagen, the hard-driving creative director of a Madison Avenue ad agency, doing in the middle of this slightly muddled, but still engrossing, tale of greed, medicine, and mayhem? Like Michael Crichton, whose Andromeda Strain remains the classic in the genre, Cook is sometimes heavy-handed when it comes to character development, and his fulminations about the dangers of managed care often get in the way of the plot. Still, Contagion will make you think twice about taking your next case of flu to the ER instead of your own bed.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Mar, 2012 01:56 pm
@Butrflynet,
I just finished Crichton's Micro. He has done much better, but I do understand it was completed after his death.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Mar, 2012 03:52 pm
I buy most of my groceries at HEB. They told a reporter yesterday that they do not use the slime. In the same report, Walmart refused to answer the question.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Mar, 2012 04:04 pm
@edgarblythe,
I posted years ago, as ehBeth mentioned, to be safer, have a good butcher grind the beef. I think that was on a Robert Gentel thread. I can understand companies using the ammonia waft. I can also understand just using, uh, non exterior beef.
0 Replies
 
jcboy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 31 Mar, 2012 10:45 am
I saw something about pink slime on ABC World News a few nights ago. I wanted to slap the Mustache Man. (Terry Branstad?) And Rick Perry's just too dumb to slap. I feel kinda sorry for him.

My common sense tells me to eat food as natural as possible. Pink slime? No thanks.
0 Replies
 
 

 
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