Monday, March 19, 2012


There has been a real stink in the last couple of weeks about ‘pink slime’ in ground beef.  The public is up in arms about meat fed to their kids in schools and are demanding it not contain treated meat.  Here’s an article on HuffPo about it.

I’m a carnivore.  In my mind, food eats grass.  I will give up quantity for quality any day.  For the last few years, I have been buying my beef and pork from a store down east in the complete middle of nowhere.  It’s a small community market named Acre Station Meat Farm.  I have always dealt with the owner, a man named Ronnie.

I called and placed a meat order this weekend, and while I had Ronnie on the phone, I asked him if the ground meat I got from him had pink slime. 

Yes, it was possible.  They process much of their own beef and pork, but they do buy GROUND meat from suppliers who MAY treat it with ammonia.  He went on to explain why. [He also said that the anti-meat crowd always uses these disgusting terms to make their point.  He called it ‘not retail friendly’ – he’s such a diplomat!  LOL]  So.

In the slaughter process, it’s very likely that the animal has fecal matter both on the outside of its body, and of course, in the entrails.   While care is taken in processing, there is no way to prevent some contamination. The large cuts of meat aren’t a problem, though he told me every piece of meat should be rinsed with COLD water and patted dry prior to preparation.  [This was news to me but you better bet I’ll start doing that now.]  He also said that for every degree above 38° that meat ‘warms’, bacteria grow exponentially.  Geez.  I was taught to let a steak sit out an hour before grilling it.

Anyway.  Because ‘ground’ anything contains pieces/parts of everything, there is a huge chance of e coli contamination.  Recall all the ‘recalls’ over the last few years.  Ronnie said the best way to kill the e coli [other than cooking ground meat well done] was with a ‘puff’ of ammonia gas at the end of the processing process.  The meat is NOT rinsed with ammonia like you find under the kitchen sink.  It’s a GAS.  The meat goes through a chamber and is gassed, and when it comes out the other side it’s immediately packaged and chilled.  He said buying ‘organic’ meat that’s been ground is one solution if you want to avoid the ammonia, but the prices is vastly more expensive, and you may have meat with e coli.  He says the best way is to ask your butcher to grind up a chuck roast, or a sirloin roast while you wait.  You’ll be paying roast prices, but that’s cheaper than organic.

I’m still ‘processing’ what he said but….. I love hamburgers and I’m not going to give them up for long.  And I trust this butcher because I have never gotten anything but the very best quality from him.

This reminds me of the guy who went into a restaurant for lunch.  The waitress asked him if he wanted the daily special – beef tongue.  The guy replied, ‘I’m not eating anything out of a cow’s mouth – I’ll have an omelet.”

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