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  • Beef: It's 'not' what's for dinner.

    Company's record on treatment of beef is called into question
    By Michael Moss
    New York Times
    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, 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 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 U.S. 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 USDA'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.

    But government and industry records obtained by The New York Times show that in testing for the school lunch program, E. coli and salmonella pathogens have been found dozens of times in Beef Products meat, challenging claims by the company and the USDA about the effectiveness of the treatment.

    Since 2005, E. coli has been found three times and salmonella 48 times, including back-to-back incidents in August in which two 27,000 pound batches were found to be contaminated. The meat was caught before reaching lunchrooms.

    In July, school lunch officials temporarily banned their hamburger makers from using meat from a Beef Products facility in Kansas because of salmonella the third suspension in three years, records show. Yet the facility remained approved by the USDA for other customers.

    Presented by The Times with the school lunch test results, department officials said they were not aware of what their colleagues in the lunch program had been finding for years.

    In response, the Agriculture Department said it was revoking Beef Products' exemption from routine testing and conducting a review of the company's operations and research.

    The founder and owner of Beef Products, Eldon Roth, declined requests for interviews or access to the company's production facilities. Responding to written questions, Beef Products said it had a deep commitment to hamburger safety and was continually refining its operation to provide the safest product possible.
    So, Beef Products Inc. "included fatty trimmings the industry once relegated to pet food" and "the trimmings were susceptible to contamination" so they injected the so called beef with ammonia. And, the USDA approved the whole process because it destroys E. coli "to an undetectable level" so they say. Not to mention the fact that "the federal school lunch program used an estimated 5.5 million pounds of the processed beef last year alone." Great. I think I'll go vomit now. Anybody up for a burger?
    |TG-X| mp40x



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  • #2
    Re: Beef: It's 'not' what's for dinner.

    This is why you make your own burgers. Way tastier, way cheaper, and way less disgusting. :p

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    • #3
      Re: Beef: It's 'not' what's for dinner.

      You can drain out all that fatty oil too when you pan fry the patties yourself.
      |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
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      • #4
        Re: Beef: It's 'not' what's for dinner.

        But that's what makes them juicy and yummy... :(

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        • #5
          Re: Beef: It's 'not' what's for dinner.

          Pan fry burgers? Blasphemy! I grill them over mesquite and mix a healthy amount of Sriracha hot sauce into the meat before I pat it out.
          sigpic

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          • #6
            Re: Beef: It's 'not' what's for dinner.

            Mmm... grilled jalapeno and blue cheese burgers



            TacticalGamer TX LAN/BBQ Veteran

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            • #7
              Re: Beef: It's 'not' what's for dinner.

              Mixing your meat with stuff other than salt and ground pepper? D:

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              • #8
                Re: Beef: It's 'not' what's for dinner.

                Originally posted by sordavie View Post
                Mixing your meat with stuff other than salt and ground pepper? D:
                That's what you do when you have to buy meat from the grocery store!

                My family has been buying a whole steer to be butchered(we split it with a neighbor) for over 10 years now and let me tell you, it's the only way to go. The farmer who raises the beef is a big dairy farmer around my area, and he eats the stuff as well so all his beef is tested and the stalls are kept quite clean so there has never been an issue with any kind of disease. 350ish lbs. of good meat for $1.55/lb+$75.00 for butchering costs, if only I could teach my wife to make a steak medium-rare, it would be perfect! ;)

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                • #9
                  Re: Beef: It's 'not' what's for dinner.

                  Originally posted by Morganan View Post
                  That's what you do when you have to buy meat from the grocery store!

                  My family has been buying a whole steer to be butchered(we split it with a neighbor) for over 10 years now and let me tell you, it's the only way to go. The farmer who raises the beef is a big dairy farmer around my area, and he eats the stuff as well so all his beef is tested and the stalls are kept quite clean so there has never been an issue with any kind of disease. 350ish lbs. of good meat for $1.55/lb+$75.00 for butchering costs, if only I could teach my wife to make a steak medium-rare, it would be perfect! ;)
                  Nice!

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                  • #10
                    Re: Beef: It's 'not' what's for dinner.

                    Its really quite disgusting what they are getting away with. Some former USDA microbiologists had this to say about the so called beef product, wich is in almost ALL beef patties sold in America:
                    Carl S. Custer, a former U.S.D.A. microbiologist, said he and other scientists were concerned that the department had approved the treated beef for sale without obtaining independent validation of the potential safety risk. Another department microbiologist, Gerald Zirnstein, called the processed beef "pink slime" in a 2002 e-mail message to colleagues and said, “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.”
                    The USDA did no independent study of their own to ensure the safety of this product, instead they used the study provided by the manufacturer.
                    Within the U.S.D.A., the treated beef has been a source of friction for years. The department accepted the company’s own study as evidence that the treatment was effective.
                    The USDA covered up the fact that the product had ammonia in it by only listing ammonia as a processing agent, not an ingredient.
                    The company says its processed beef, a mashlike substance frozen into blocks or chips, is used in a majority of the hamburger sold nationwide. But it has remained little known outside industry and government circles. Federal officials agreed to the company’s request that the ammonia be classified as a “processing agent” and not an ingredient that would be listed on labels.
                    If you guys have time, read the entire shocking article. Safety of Beef Processing Method Is Questioned . There is a picture of the ammonia soaked, formerly used as pet food, now inside your hamburger "pink slime" Here.
                    |TG-X| mp40x



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                    • #11
                      Re: Beef: It's 'not' what's for dinner.

                      Before I became a vegetarian, I loved to make hamburgers on the grill. Reports like this make my stomach turn.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Beef: It's 'not' what's for dinner.

                        Freshly and personally processed venison ftw. ;)
                        It's not exactly fun, but it's worth it.

                        I have an aunt who's worked in the meat department of a grocery store and doesn't like remembering what they did to chicken to keep it sell-able. If it wasn't ammonia, it was some similar product. Hamburger is a bit scarier, though. I feel better getting it from a local shop where the butchers come out and wash their hands to sell it....

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                        "The true genius shudders at incompleteness - and usually prefers silence to saying
                        something which is not everything it should be." Edgar Allan Poe

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