Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Pink Slime

Some processors label beef containing 'pink slime'

I don't have a problem eating what is known as Pink Slime. I'm already aware that meat processing can be a messy affair, so... hey, what's one more thing I didn't expect?

What I have an issue with is the not knowing.

When I buy something labeled as 'Ground Beef', my mind immediately pictures bits and scraps of beef too small to be sold as cuts (i.e., steaks, roasts, etc.) that are fed into a grinder. You know... the same thing my deer processor does when I deliver a carcass to be retrieved later.

I assume everybody else is thinking the same thing.

Seems folks are upset with the beef processors when their real anger should be at the government agencies who allowed the obvious/straight forward thoughts/expectations of consumers to be corrupted.

You know that somewhere along the line money has changed hands to make this happen.

That said, Pink Slime is safe.
Pink Slime is protein.
It has a legitimate place in a budget minded food chain.


Vanesa Littlecrow W. said...

Some of my favorite things to eat are SPAM and spreadable meat, which are both pretty much pink slime. I love them.

Having said that, I am in complete agreement that bloated government agencies that are in place, presumably, to ensure that interstate trade stays honest, fail so miserably. Which of course begs the question, why bother with them if they are too corrupt to do their job?

Bike Bubba said...

Vanessa has a stronger stomach than I!

Agreed that nobody has found anything deleterious about pink slime vs. regular meat, but part of me has to wonder what treating meat with ammonia will do to it, nutritionally. Is it that there are no problems, or is it that nobody has looked?

To use Vanessa's picture, SPAM and such do nasty things to my digestion. Is it the fat, or is it some other process? What about cheap ground beef?

Foxfier said...

Funny thing is, this came about in part because of the fear of fat. Way back when, you have a slab of fat with meat chunks in it, you feed it into the grinder with the ugly chunks of meat. (assuming cheap hamburger, anyways)

Bike Bubba-- the way it's being described is really misleading. It's a bit like talking about "Fast food places use bleach in food prep!" Totally true, but only in the sense that all food places use water with a small amount of bleach to sanitize things from tables to cutting boards.

The gaseous ammonia-and-water mix is a standard disinfectant for all kinds of food.
My mom-- the rancher with an ag BS and a minor in teaching-- suggested this girl's writing when I thought the fuss about pink slime sounded fishy and called her up about it.

She's slightly less pissed about the shock-jock idiot that started this than she is about PETA's usual scare-the-kids tactics. Slightly. Funny thing being that it doesn't touch their production at all, their ranch sells natural, grass-fed pure black angus yearlings-- the ground beef needs a little oil or grease added to stick together for hamburgers.

Speaking of pure black, Bubba.... is that a coffee press in your gif?!?

Vanesa Littlecrow W. said...

Foxfier: My husband is a farmer, so I feel that pain. If people were aware of how many conventional crops were being fed anhydrous ammonia fertilizer, they might actually realize ammonia isn't going to be the instant death that they assume it will be. I find it laughable that people freak out over ammonia being used to clean icky meat, yet have no problem with eating non-organically grown corn, potatoes, etc. on a daily basis, even though these crops "eat" ammonia.

Bike Bubba: I'm a third generation SPAM eater, and I converted my husband to it. I find SPAM or pink slime no more objectionable than other favorites in both of our families such as chitterlings (which are actually more dangerous than pink slime if badly prepared,) gizzards, blood sausage, pigs feet and ears, fish heads, bone broth, tongue and other delicious things most Americans freak out about that people have been eating since time immemorial.

I don't think it's the fat that is the problem. Every body reacts differently but how you prep the food, serving size can make a big difference. For example, if you eat more than one slice of SPAM per sitting or a bucket of fried gizzards by yourself, you are asking for an angry body.

I am more concerned about antibiotic use, poor livestock and irresponsible processing practices (which often happens even in the most expensive cuts of meat) than unappealing food in it of itself.

Brian said...

It's anecdotal, but some people seem to have a hard time with nitrites when consumed in large quantities (processed meat, some cheese, some less expensive red wines). For some it causes headaches, others, allergic-type reactions (esp. trouble breathing and inflamed skin), and in others stomach upset.

It could be an allergy, or a weird interaction with the particular bacteria you happen to have living in your gut. There's a lot we don't know about that stuff.

Vanesa Littlecrow W. said...

People do have a hard time with nitrites and they do increase the risk of heart disease. That's why moderation or in the case of people with sensitivities, abstention, is important, particularly when it comes to foods.

Foxfier said...

Psychological effects are huge, too-- my brother induced actual illness in half his shop (of SEALs!!!) when he shared home made jerky, and only after folks were on their third piece mentioned that "venison" is Bambi. A family friend has "horrible joint problems" that can be fixed in ten minutes by taking a handful of fish oil pills. (I'm not going to argue with him-- the pain is real, it doesn't matter to me if it's a physical effect or a psychological one so long as the pain eases.)

What your body is accustomed to is also huge-- I can remember my grandmother scraping blue-green fuzz off of her cottage cheese with no problem, even though she was very unhealthy in a long list of ways. More recently, we had a big family get-together at a Mexican place, and everyone in my generation got food poisoning; the ones that had grown up with a side of beef hanging in the well house that you scraped fuzz off of before slicing off that night's cut of meat had no problem. (some fifty years after the last side of beef had been hung there, too-- so the effects don't wear off very much)

I'm not diagnosed with any kind of milk allergy, but just the thought of drinking milk makes me feel ill. I don't have trouble with hard cheeses, so who knows where that comes down. If your body tells you that something is double-plus ungood, it's generally wise to listen.

Gino said...

Spam rocks, especially with eggs.

Vanesa Littlecrow W. said...

Yes it does, Gino!

Foxfier said...

Soaked in teriyaki, browned (fried or baked, doesn't matter-- we use a Foreman grill) and served up as sushi.

Vanesa Littlecrow W. said...

It's great in fried rice. I also like stuffing croissants with spinach, cheese, SPAM, spinach and asparagus.

Mr. D said...

Spam cooked on a cast iron skillet on a camp stove is also really good.

Foxfier said...

Spam cooked on a cast iron skillet on a camp stove is also really good.

I'm pretty sure a slice of young pine tree cooked in cast iron on a camp stove would be good.... There's just something about camping, it makes even the blackened bacon I tend to get when cooking on open flame taste good.

Bike Bubba said...

Grazie, y'all. I still won't be joining y'all for SPAM, but it's good to know someone has actually tested the effects of ammonia on food.