That's the question I've been asking myself recently while cooking my ground beef. What were those little white pieces in my meat? What was those specks of almost neon red coloring in the meat that wouldn't turn brown no matter how long I cooked it? What were those hard pieces in my meat? I've noticed the quality of the ground beef from our local grocery store has been slipping, or else, I've started noticing.
And then it happened. I watched Jamie Oliver's second season of "Food Revolution" and saw the episode about "pink slime". What is that, you ask? Do you really want to know?!
"Pink Slime" is essentially slaughterhouse trimmings that have now been approved by the US government to be mixed in with our ground beef. These trimmings were once only approved for pet food but now in order to cut costs they are, in layman's terms, thrown into a machine that looks much like a washing machine and pummeled around to separate the fat from the meat, sent through a machine that grinds it into a paste, and washed in a mixture of ammonia and water (to kill all the bacteria that is on these types of sweepings from a slaughterhouse floor). Up to 15% of the ground beef you buy consists of this pink slime, and over 70% of all ground beef sold in the US is this type of mixture. If you are buying meat from a local grocery store odds are that they are purchasing this type of ground beef.
Jamie Oliver went on to say that the only way you can be sure that you are not ingesting pink slime is to watch the butcher grind up an actual piece of meat in front of you...or purchase from businesses that slaughter their own meat and do not use these large suppliers. The meat with pink slime is not required to state on the label that ammonia is in the product so there is no way to know what you are eating unless you trust your source of meat.
I've stopped buying ground beef at the local grocery store. I can't stomach it and won't feed it to my children any more than I would spray some Windex in their mouth. Our town has a family run meat shop which is stocked with meat from this family's own farm. It is processed locally and sold locally. It is not grass fed or organic (how I wish it was!) but since we can't go that route at this time it is the next best thing. There is no pink slim in this meat and no ammonia hiding in there with pieces of meat that used to only be reserved for dog food.
I'm sick of what the government is allowing to be called "food". I recommend you read more about this pink slime and find out exactly what is in your beef. You can read more about it here.