Injecting Beef With Ammonia; Safety of Beef Processing Method Is Questioned

Carl S. Custer, a former U.S.D.A. microbiologist, said he and other scientists were concerned that the department had approved the treated beef for sale without obtaining independent validation of the potential safety risk. Another department microbiologist, Gerald Zirnstein, called the processed beef “pink slime” in a 2002 e-mail message to colleagues and said, “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.”

Toxic zombie food!


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A Beef Products Inc. processing plant in South Sioux City, Neb. The company injects fatty beef trimmings with ammonia to remove E. coli and salmonella.

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Both McDonald’s and Burger King use Beef Products’ processed beef as a component in ground beef.

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Eight years ago, federal officials were struggling to remove potentially deadly E. coli from hamburgers when an entrepreneurial company from South Dakota came up with a novel idea: injecting beef with ammonia.

The company, Beef Products Inc., had been looking to expand into the hamburger business with a product made from beef that included fatty trimmings the industry once relegated to pet food and cooking oil. The trimmings were particularly susceptible to contamination, but a study commissioned by the company showed that the ammonia process would kill E. coli as well as salmonella.

Officials at the United States Department of Agriculture endorsed the company’s ammonia treatment, and have said it destroys E. coli “to an undetectable level.” They decided it was so effective that in 2007, when the department began routine testing of meat used in hamburger sold to the general public, they exempted Beef Products.

With the U.S.D.A.’s stamp of approval, the company’s processed beef has become a mainstay in America’s hamburgers. McDonald’s, Burger King and other fast-food giants use it as a component in ground beef, as do grocery chains. The federal school lunch program used an estimated 5.5 million pounds of the processed beef last year alone.

But government and industry records obtained by The New York Times show that in testing for the school lunch program, E. coli and salmonella pathogens have been found dozens of times in Beef Products meat, challenging claims by the company and the U.S.D.A. about the effectiveness of the treatment. Since 2005, E. coli has been found 3 times and salmonella 48 times, including back-to-back incidents in August in which two 27,000-pound batches were found to be contaminated. The meat was caught before reaching lunch-rooms trays.

Read moreInjecting Beef With Ammonia; Safety of Beef Processing Method Is Questioned

Scientists grow pork meat in a laboratory for the first time

Bon appétit!


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SCIENTISTS have grown meat in the laboratory for the first time. Experts in Holland used cells from a live pig to replicate growth in a petri dish.

The advent of so-called “in-vitro” or cultured meat could reduce the billions of tons of greenhouse gases emitted each year by farm animals – if people are willing to eat it.

So far the scientists have not tasted it, but they believe the breakthrough could lead to sausages and other processed products being made from laboratory meat in as little as five years’ time.

They initially extracted cells from the muscle of a live pig. Called myoblasts, these cells are programmed to grow into muscle and repair damage in animals.

The cells were then incubated in a solution containing nutrients to encourage them to multiply indefinitely. This nutritious “broth” is derived from the blood products of animal foetuses, although the intention is to come up with a synthetic solution.

The result was sticky muscle tissue that requires exercise, like human muscles, to turn it into a tougher steak-like consistency.

“You could take the meat from one animal and create the volume of meat previously provided by a million animals,” said Mark Post, professor of physiology at Eindhoven University, who is leading the Dutch government-funded research.

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Video shows shocking farm cruelty to pigs

UNDERCOVER animal activists have filmed horrific scenes of cruelty to farm pigs.

The incidents include workers slamming piglets on floors and leaving them still wriggling to die, beating animals to death with metal rods and inserting rods into sows’ hindquarters.

Activists from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) posed as workers between June and September this year at a farm in the midwestern US state of Iowa, the Associated Press (AP)reports.

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Huge rise in the price of food

Supermarket food prices are soaring, with the price of key items rising at several times the rate of inflation, figures show.


The rising cost of the shopping basket

The price of fresh food has risen by 12 per cent since the start of the year, while meat and fish now costs 23 per cent more on average. Meanwhile chicken and ham have risen by 42 and 45 per cent since January, placing the former staples out of many consumers’ price range.

The rises in the price of both basic pasta and basmati rice have also smashed through the 40 per cent barrier.

Even so-called slump proof tinned foods have registered a price rise of 15 per cent – more than three times the Government’s official inflation rate of 4.4 per cent.

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US food prices to post biggest rise since ’90, says USDA

WASHINGTON, Aug 20 (Reuters) – U.S. consumers should brace for the biggest increase in food prices in nearly 20 years in 2008 and even more pain next year due to surging meat and produce prices, the Agriculture Department said on Wednesday.

Food prices are forecast to rise by 5 percent to 6 percent this year, making it the largest annual increase since 1990. Just last month, USDA forecast food prices would climb between 4.5 and 5.5 percent in 2008.

Read moreUS food prices to post biggest rise since ’90, says USDA

US: The Cattle Industry Is Struggling To Survive

Beef prices are likely to increase as rising food and fuel prices threaten many cattle ranches

The American beef industry is in trouble. Though the financial strain of rising fuel and food prices is being widely felt across the U.S. economy, the livestock industry, which consumes about 5 billion bushels of corn annually, is suffering more than most.

Feedlot operators, who fatten their animals on corn before sending them to a slaughterhouse, are losing $150 a head with corn prices near record levels because of demand for corn-based ethanol. In Texas, the country’s largest beef-producing state, a quarter of the once-packed feedlot space is unoccupied. Some operations are shutting their doors, and “liquidation”-the culling of herds-has become a frequent escape hatch for the seriously struggling.

Read moreUS: The Cattle Industry Is Struggling To Survive