The USDA and beef producers aren’t required to tell consumers how they kill bacteria in meat, or that hamburger contains “pink slime” (the trimmings that were formerly considered “unfit for human consumption”)… but don’t worry I Pledge® to tell you (hint).
I recently wrote an article encouraging consumers to buy naturally pasture grazed hormone and antibiotic free Grass Fed Beef, rich in nutrients and balanced in omega 3 & 6 fatty acids, grass fed beef is one of natures perfect foods… its just not that easy to find.
Unfortunately what is easy to find is grain fed, factory-farmed meat that is ubiquitously consumed and readily available throughout North America.
On July 8, 2011 the USDA announced an incentive plan for beef and poultry producers to reduce the risk of E. coli and Salmonella.
While on the surface that may sound like a good idea, the method employed to kill bacteria is something you as a consumer have a right to know.
The agri-business of feedlot “finishing” of cattle began around 100 years ago (roughly the same time amount of the USDA has been in obvious conflict of advising farmers how to improve profits, while simultaneously telling consumers what they should eat) that has systematically ruined the quality of red meat in favor of yield and revenue.
Factory farmed livestock (and humans) are fattened quickly and efficiently by introducing mammals to low fat grains (corn and others) similar to the ingredients found in your grocers cereal isle or in packaged /processed foods.
Grain fed beef is heavily marbled, deficient in nutrients, hormone and antibiotic laden… as if that wasn’t enough – now the USDA is actually encouraging beef processors to add one more chemical to the vat of ground beef trimmings.
Ammonium Hydroxide (the very same corrosive and hazardous commercial cleaner found in products like Windex®) is being added to the ground beef mixtures to kill living organisms (bacteria).
Furthermore, the USDA and beef producers are under no obligation to tell consumers that toxic ammonia based chemicals are being added to meat because of the “naturally occurring” loophole.
Naturally occurring ammonia is found in low levels in rainwater, soil and air so it is no surprise that low levels of ammonia are also found in meat. Ammonia is also produced in the metabolism of protein, and is passed in the much less toxic form of urea (found in urine – if you were curious, why urine is considered a sterile liquid in disease free subjects).
As a result of adding Ammonium Hydroxide to ground beef, producers may now create beef patties that include scraps – similar to the lips & A–holes theory of and anything and everything that can be scrapped off the meat processing plant floor we know as the All–American hot dog.
Leading the way is a company named Beef Products Inc. that devised a way to increase profits by finding a way to make what was formerly deemed as “unfit for human consumption” trimmings that can now be added to the mixture in hamburger meat that technically can be called 100% beef with the blessing of the USDA.
Previously, the leftover trimmings of the cow carcass were sold at a discount to make pet food or cooking oil because of the remnants high susceptibility of contamination from E. coli and salmonella.
Now the previously unfit for human consumption remains are found in America’s most popular burger restaurants, grocers and school lunch programs.
Beef Products Inc. website boasts they serve “as many as 20 billion meals each year”. With these kinds of numbers it is no wonder the company is motivated to squeeze a few more cents per pound out of every cow they process.
The process they slyly call pH enhancement – is in fact the addition of
Ammonium Hydroxide (aka. glass, brick, metal and stainless steel cleaner) that can be found with the familiar toxic warning label of skull and cross bones sign, DO NOT CONSUME … yes, that very same Ammonium Hydroxide.
The company’s theory I imagine is… if a little naturally occurring ammonia is good… and ammonia is capable of killing things – then more ammonia… must be better?
Beef Products Inc. added Ammonium Hydroxide to the formerly unfit for human consumption carcass remnants in a vat… and voila – Pink Slime was born.
(The phrase Pink slime was coined by one of the microbiologists asked to review the invention, when he saw the ammonia enhanced meat mixture, he said it looked like “pink slime”. Another microbiologist Gerald Zirnstein assigned to the investigation, reported back to the USDA with the following comment regarding the ammonia-ized meat concoction:
“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.”
That was an easy solution for the USDA…according to their self-appointed dictatorial authority -100% ground beef doesn’t require a label – problem solved
Instead, the USDA decided that not only was the “pink slime” approved to be called “100% beef”, the USDA further decided that the ammonia laden slime when added to a mixture of traditional hamburger would further reduce the risk of contamination of ground beef, so… all of the Beef Products Inc. hamburger with added Ammonia would be exempt from routine USDA quality testing.
If you think this story of the USDA’s autocratic sanctioning of concealing Ammonia laden beef scraps in hamburger from public knowledge – stinks. Bingo… that is exactly how the public uncovered the mystery (meat).
The human olfactory system cannot deny that – Ammonia is a pungent gas that definitely stinks.
As a result 7,000 pounds of meat sold in the State of Georgia was returned to Beef Products Inc because of a “very strong smell of ammonia” assuming the meat was bad.
To help insure this didn’t happen again -Beef Products Inc. reduced the amount of ammonia added to the “slime mixture” which now unsupervised by USDA inspectors increased the risk of E. coli and salmonella contamination.
Approximately 3 cents a pound
Both the USDA and FDA will tell you that Ammonium Hydroxide is safe for human consumption, but warning labels and the US Government:
National Library of Medicine disagrees, listing Ammonium Hydroxide in the Hazardous Substance Data Base as: POISIONOUS.
ONE TEASPOONFULL (3 TO 5 ML) OF STRONG (28%) AMMONIA SOLN HAS BEEN RECORDED AS FATAL DOSE BUT RECOVERY HAS FOLLOWED AS MUCH AS 1 FLUID OZ ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS.
Swallowing of the liquid results in severe corrosive action to the mouth, throat, and stomach.
© 2011 Copyrights Grant Roberts, All Rights Reserved
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