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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What's Your Beef?

Or more importantly, what's in your beef?

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.

Did you know about pink slime before this? What is your reaction to this?


  1. I have known about this issue for a couple of years. I highly recommend to everybody to watch the movie, Fresh. It is a great resource for this issue as some others. It actually takes you into the plant where they manufacture the "slime". The main supplier is BPI, Inc. They are located in North Sioux City, SD, which is part of Sioux City, IA's metro area.

    I know that I preach this over and over, but you have to grow your own or buy from someone locally that you can trust. We are what we eat, so it is important to get good quality food. It does take extra work, but the Bible says we are to toil for our food.

  2. I used to work at a food testing lab (we tested for bacteria) anyway we tested the beef that was to go to school lunch program, taco bell and BK and guess what it was almost liquid at room temperature-or as the term so nicely coins, "pink slime". We also used to test the rendered fat that they would mix into ground beef the processing made it smell like rubbing alchohol. I try to buy greenwise (our local store's storebrand organic) I wonder if this has organic pink slime. AHHHH

  3. I used to buy and cut my own from bulk cuts to get fat free ground beef-- guess I'd better go get the grinder out of storage again. USDA just isn't our friend and protector anymore and the legislators aren't looking out for us either!

  4. This is no surprise to me! We eat very little red meat at present, mostly chicken or turkey, occasionally will buy a steak or another cut of meat. We have a Fareway store, and also a HyVee with a meat counter; you can have your meat freshly ground so you know exactly what you are getting. We have people who sell at our local farmer's market; locally raised and processed meat which is genuine. But it's not just our meat that we have to worry about. It's all the processed foods high in salt and sugar (or fructose corn syrup) that I believe contribute not only to obesity but to high blood pressure and diabetes.
    Eating fresh or frozen is the best way to control what goes into our bodies. Using less convenience food, staying away from fast food, in other words eating like our parents and grandparents did.

  5. Our family has given up commercially processed foods, which is difficult but healthier. We buy grass fed beef and locally raised free range chicken or we skip the meat and eat vegetarian as much as we can. Grass fed beef is still prohibitively expensive for eating all the time, but I Just can't stomach the alternatives.

  6. Yes, I knew this. I buy all of our meat range fed from a local farmer only. He does his own grinding and it's pure when you purchase it. I pay more but it is so worth it to avoid the chemicals and junk that shouldn't be in our food to begin with.

  7. I have heard about this before. Occasionally the butcher counter in our commissary has ground top round in the case (just basically top round steak that they grind right in the store), and I always snatch up several pounds and freeze it in portions for when they don't have it. I won't buy commercially ground beef anymore.

  8. Isn't it scary? Commercial chicken is dipped in bleach to kill all of the bacteria swarming on it too...so gross. Our food system is making us sick!

  9. OMG this almost made me throw up! I had heard something about ammonia spray in McDonald's chicken nuggets, but this is the most I'd heard about it recently being approved to save the meat industry money. Disgusting on so many levels. I don't really buy meat at the grocery store, since my husband is a vegetarian, but I definitely eat it out from time to time. I'll think twice about eating anything with ground beef in it again.



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