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Do you really know what is in your store bought ground beef?

January 18, 2010
fresh-ground-beef

Freshly made ground beef made at home is easy to do and more affordable too!

I wish I didn’t need to write this article – not that I do not like writing, actually I love writing, it’s the news I feel that I need to share that I wished I didn’t have to with you all.

I love my country, truly I do. And my growing concerns on how food is handled is something I care about and wish for us all to have access to healthy fresh food – that should be a right for everyone living in our country and everywhere in our one world. So here’s some bad news on beef.

In light of some disheartening news about what the US Government allows butchers to do to our red meat for processing, it has made me go back into thinking of being a vegetarian once again and seriously this time – but there really is something nice for that once a week or every two weeks juicy burger or steak, now isn’t it? I feel like an ashamed omnivore if I dare ask for bacon on top of that juicy burger.

I recently read an article in the New York Times that led me to write the article on how to make your own ground beef since there are more than just additional additives being added to our meats which can end up supplying said ammonia-treated ground beef to hospitals, schools and even our grocery stores – just lovely. And no, that doesn’t sound so tasty after all.

And what are these additives and ‘extras’ I talk of? How about ammonia, and ‘fatty slaughterhouse trimmings’ which at one time was only slated to end up in pet food and cooking oil. These trimmings consist “most of the material from the outer surfaces of the carcass” – quotes from the New York Times Article.

Let’s start with the Amonia – and I will quote: ‘Beef Products maintains that its ammonia process remains effective. It said it tests samples of each batch it ships to customers and has found E. coli in only 0.06 percent of the samples this year.’ ….AND JUST WHAT IS AMMONIA doing in our beef? And WHY?!

“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.” OH…. I see, they use ammonia to kill the E.coli. And I won’t even dare ask why E. coli is doing in our beef supplies.

And this is also rather juicy information, “Pathogens died when enough ammonia was used to raise the alkalinity of the beef to a high level, company research found. But early on, school lunch officials and other customers complained about the taste and smell of the beef.” Sweet, huh?!

You may also wish to ask your butcher if he sells meat with modified atmosphere packaging. If the answer is yes, that means he is adding carbon monoxide to keep the meat looking super red. Isn’t carbon monoxide a poison? One word: Yes.

Now that I have turned you off to grabbing your next mcmeal, let me digress back to the original reason for writing this article – showing you how to make your own ground beef and which cuts of meat you should use and what you may need for equipment at home. Click here to go to my article on how to make your very own fresh ammonia-free ground beef at home using your food processor or a meat grinder attachment to your KitchenAid stand mixer.

Article Resource: New York Times Article: Safety of Beef Processing is Questioned

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. chefmaven permalink
    January 19, 2010 6:54 pm

    I had to share this link – as I was ‘stumbling upon’ I came across an interesting similar article – with one that had a letter from a McDonald’s supposed employee…. I quote just one paragraph from her letter here:

    ‘Be assured that we do not add ammonia to our hamburger patties. In fact, ammonia is only used by our suppliers as a processing aid to kill harmful bacteria. This process is approved by the USDA and ensures safe, quality food.’

    Ok so they (McDonalds) do not add the ammonia to their burger patties, just their suppliers to while processing the ground beef which makes up these beef patties – oh I feel so much better now (not!)

    If you are interested in learning more about the thread I found, here is a link:

    http://www.grist.org/article/2010-01-05-cheap-food-ammonia-burgers/

    The link above takes you to a different site – and no more comments are allowed but you will be able to see the entire letter from McDonalds….oh my!

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