Wed Apr 4, 2012, 09:12 AM
n2doc (26,025 posts)
The Pink Menace
By MARK BITTMAN
Rick Perry — remember him? — was more inspired as a defender of the beef processing industry than he was as a debater. Last week, Perry — along with Iowa’s governor-for-life Terry Branstad and Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas — implored the media to end its “smear campaign” against pink slime, the ammonia-treated burger extender he’d rather have us call by the name used by its producers: Lean Finely Textured Beef.
Whether “pink slime” is a fair handle or not, public outrage has thrown it off a cliff. Some of the country’s largest grocery chains have announced that they will no longer sell products containing it, as did McDonald’s, while Wendy’s emphatically insisted that it never has. The United States Department of Agriculture, a major buyer of pink slime for its National School Lunch Program, has offered participating schools the option to order their beef with or without it, though it will likely remain in many schools.
As a result, the largest producer of the stuff, Beef Products Inc., has suspended operations at three of its four plants for 60 days, by which time it hopes to do some public relations hocus-pocus to restore consumer confidence before resorting to permanent closures. We’ll see.
A little review: Lean Finely Textured Beef was born about 10 years ago, as an attempt to eliminate E. coli from ground beef. Using fatty beef trimmings, which are especially susceptible to E. coli and salmonella contamination, B.P.I. created a product that could be sprayed with ammonia (yes, that stuff, referred to by B.P.I.’s former quality assurance manager as “Mr. Clean,” in this dramatic piece by Michele Simon) to kill the bacteria. It was then mixed with “normal” ground beef. Voilà: safe hamburgers.
Except that despite B.P.I.’s claim that the ammonia treatment killed E. coli and salmonella, and despite the U.S.D.A.’s support for this process, those pathogens have been found in B.P.I. meat. Oops.
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The Pink Menace (Original post)
Response to n2doc (Original post)
Wed Apr 4, 2012, 10:09 AM
Mopar151 (6,041 posts)
2. Rolling Stone said it best
"There is a simple reason for E.coli contamination - there is shit on the meat." The meat scraps that become LFTB slime come from several places - off the dirty slaughterhouse floor, trimmed off the outside of sides as they are broken down into "boxed meat", and from a process called "Advanced Meat Recovery", which cleans any trace of pink meat, along with plenty of gristle, tendons and nerve tissue, from the bones.
Ground beef filler/extender isn't the best use of LFTB, but it brings the most $$$$$. My completely unscientific observations tell me that "slimeburger" has a higher water content than the burger I get from my local meat counter. It would not surprise me to find a water("solution") line running into that big grinder at the meat plant.
Maybe BPI should retool the LFTB into a granulated product for canned chili, Taco Hell mystery meat, and the like - cooking it in the process would make it safer as well. And stop sneaking LFTB into the ready-made patties - makes 'em tough as an old tire.
The quick bankruptcy make me think "bust-out" - not unknown in the meat business.
Response to n2doc (Original post)
Wed Apr 4, 2012, 11:31 AM
ladywnch (2,603 posts)
3. this product was originally created to supply filler for DOG FOOD..........
but then again, once we decided as a country that it was okay for our Seniors to live on dog and cat food I guess it would stand to 'reason' to just start using the stuff directly into human food and charge twice as much for it now since it is 'people' food.