The commercial ammonia used by Beef Products, Inc. should not be confused with the natural ammonia your body produces from natural sources. There are no tests differentiating the effects of natural ammonia produced by the body from natural foods and the commercial ammonia additive used by Beef Products, Inc. And while no longer range testing has been done to determine the negative effects this newly added toxin has to your body, this is especially dangerous for people with certain illnesses that make it hard for their body to process ammonia already; it can even be fatal!
Yummy. Does that mean that McDonald’s and other fast food chains are now selling double ammonia face-cheeseburgers? Despite industry claims, does anyone really know how much beef and ammonia is in the hamburger that Americans buy for their children every day? In the face of massive recalls of beef (4.95 million pounds from November 2009 through February 2010), do any consumers really know how much E. coli slips past inspection?
So why did the USDA approve treating hamburger meat with ammonia? The executives at Beef Products Inc. felt frustrated that they couldn’t use the fatty waste in the beef because it is so vulnerable to bacterial contamination and could not pass inspection. But as described in Food, Inc., a company executive came up with a money-making idea. If the fatty waste could be treated with large amounts of ammonia, likely “the contaminants would die and then the waste could be ground into a paste, added to hamburger, and sold for a far higher price.”
Tests showed that their commercial ammonia kills off E. coli and salmonella. The FDA and USDA not only approved the ammonia-treated fatty waste, the agencies granted an exemption to Beef Products, Inc. so that the ammonia-based fatty waste was exempt from regular inspections. Ammonia-treated ground beef is found in up in 70% of all hamburger sold in the U.S., including hamburger products sold at Burger King, McDonalds, school lunch programs and most supermarket chains.
No independent tests were run to assess the risks before the "product" (Treated Fatty Waste) got the USDA stamp of approval. Instead, the USDA relied on assurances from Beef Products, Inc., that they had tested the fatty-waste-filled-beef and found it to be perfectly safe. A classic example of the farmer asking the fox to guard the henhouse.
A former USDA microbiologist, Carl S. Custer, called the processed ammonia-fatty-beef-waste “pink slime” and opined, “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.” However, the industry claims that ammonia is present in all foods and essential to maintain life.
No one knows the amount of commercial ammonia used by Beef Products, Inc. But after consumer complaints that hamburgers smelled like ammonia, the industry reduced the amount to conceal the odor. By doing so, the ammonia stopped killing all of the dangerous bacteria and other pathogens.
Although the USDA didn’t require it, schools kept testing the hamburger and found that in the years 2005 to 2009, ammonia-treated-fatty-waste hamburger tested positive for salmonella 36 times per 1,000 tests, compared to only nine positive tests per 1,000 for other suppliers. This included two contaminated batches of 27,000 pounds in August 2009. E. coli contamination was also found in the meat. In spite of these test failures, Beef Products Inc.’s profits rose to $440 million annually.
Despite the dangers, the School Lunch Program says it “… will continue to use BPI beef despite some misgivings … because its price is substantially lower than ordinary meat trimmings, saving about $1 million a year.” McDonald’s, Burger King, and Cargill all said they’ll continue to use the meat.
“U.S. demand for beef has remained relatively constant even amid massive recalls, disease outbreaks and scares over mad cow disease. We tend to trust, more than any country in the world, the (government) food inspections”, according to Abner Womack, a senior economist at the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri.
Bottom line- commercial ground beef (if you can still call it that) has so much added to it to increase production amounts and keep cost low that you really don't know what you are getting at the grocery store anymore. The consumer buys this "meat" to save money because it is cheaper and smaller farms have a hard time competing with this price. Although the farm's product is 1000 times better their sales are down because they cannot compete with the low prices of the large scale commercial beef industry. This is why its so important to support smaller American Farmers and Producers. The large scale commercial beef industry will have to stop these horrible practices if consumers get educated and stop buying it.
This is why JB Kobe Beef Farms only uses a small local butcher that does not add anything to our product. When you get JB Kobe Beef Farm's ground Kobe beef you can be assured it comes from top quality cuts such as round steak, sirloin tip steak, short ribs, and high quality trimmings with no fillers, chemicals, or anything else considered undesirable. Because of the superior quality farm raised products are more expensive, but worth it! We do not add fillers and chemicals to give us more product because we care about the health and wellbeing of you and your family.