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What's in Your Ground Beef? Pink Slime


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#21 ExtraMSG

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 07:10 PM

The pink goo process basically makes a puree that includes the manure and then tries to kill the pathogens associated with the manure without actually removing the manure itself. Am I failing to make clear the distinction?


I don't think this is an accurate depiction of the process. They use centrifuges to separate the meat from non-meat prior to sanitizing it. I wouldn't be surprised if the stuff is washed first, too. If you have the time, I suggest trying to find a relatively neutral depiction of the process, perhaps from the USDA, and posting it.

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

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#22 jafar

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 08:12 PM


The pink goo process basically makes a puree that includes the manure and then tries to kill the pathogens associated with the manure without actually removing the manure itself. Am I failing to make clear the distinction?


I don't think this is an accurate depiction of the process. They use centrifuges to separate the meat from non-meat prior to sanitizing it. I wouldn't be surprised if the stuff is washed first, too. If you have the time, I suggest trying to find a relatively neutral depiction of the process, perhaps from the USDA, and posting it.


That's a good idea, I'll do that when I get a chance. In the meantime If found this article from the New York Times a few years ago. It doesn't get into much detail of the process, but rather focuses more on the safety aspect.

http://www.nytimes.c...?pagewanted=all

#23 ExtraMSG

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 08:21 PM

This one from the post as well:

http://www.washingto...61103656_2.html

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

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#24 polloelastico

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 08:30 AM

Free markets, safety, sensationalism, advocacy, all that aside...this is just plain fucking gross.
“Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.” — George Carlin

#25 ExtraMSG

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 10:42 AM

Free markets, safety, sensationalism, advocacy, all that aside...this is just plain fucking gross.


"Gross" is no kind of argument. The circle of life isn't all warthogs and lions singing pop duets. The process starts by scrambling the brains of an animal and then skinning and eviscerating it. The whole thing is "gross".

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

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Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#26 polloelastico

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 10:57 AM


Free markets, safety, sensationalism, advocacy, all that aside...this is just plain fucking gross.


"Gross" is no kind of argument. The circle of life isn't all warthogs and lions singing pop duets. The process starts by scrambling the brains of an animal and then skinning and eviscerating it. The whole thing is "gross".

Centrifuged bits from multiple erstwhile carcasses, from multiple feedlots, reassembled like particle board after being doused with chemicals to kill off endemic life-threatening bacteria? That's just fucking gross. I'm not arguing anything, just as my contention that Foster the People is a crappy band or Crazy, Stupid, Love is a shitty movie isn't an argument in and of itself as it is a visceral reaction.

So, yeah, fucking gross.
“Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.” — George Carlin

#27 Angelhair

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 11:50 AM

or Crazy, Stupid, Love is a shitty movie isn't an argument in and of itself as it is a visceral reaction.

So, yeah, fucking gross.


another man feeling emasculated by Ryan Gosling, sipping drinks out of a tiny schwanz.

#28 ExtraMSG

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 12:16 PM

Centrifuged bits from multiple erstwhile carcasses, from multiple feedlots, reassembled like particle board after being doused with chemicals to kill off endemic life-threatening bacteria? That's just fucking gross. I'm not arguing anything, just as my contention that Foster the People is a crappy band or Crazy, Stupid, Love is a shitty movie isn't an argument in and of itself as it is a visceral reaction.

So, yeah, fucking gross.


It's an enthymeme; there's an implied argument. Why no reaction like this to, say, salumi from Olympic Provisions?

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#29 Calabrese

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 01:03 PM

You're all missing the master's point. If something is for sale, it must be a good thing. If it is for sale, you should be a willing market/buyer to what is for sale. The nanny marketplace as it were. We wanna sell, you should have no choice but to buy.

Or to clean-up a quote from an old book: "Some people would buy dog poop if it was packaged in red cellophane"

#30 Cbas79

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 06:53 PM

Centrifuged bits from multiple erstwhile carcasses, from multiple feedlots, reassembled like particle board after being doused with chemicals to kill off endemic life-threatening bacteria? That's just fucking gross. I'm not arguing anything, just as my contention that Foster the People is a crappy band or Crazy, Stupid, Love is a shitty movie isn't an argument in and of itself as it is a visceral reaction.So, yeah, fucking gross.

It's an enthymeme; there's an implied argument. Why no reaction like this to, say, salumi from Olympic Provisions?


I think we assume that Olympic Provisions grinds their own meat which they receive in large/subprimal cuts that are from animals of a certain quality. I am guessing that they don't treat their charcuterie with ammonia prior to stuffing it into casings and terrines, and that they don't craft their artisinal (and somewhat expensive) product from a biweeekly delivery of "pink slime" that you deem fit for our consumption.

#31 ExtraMSG

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 08:04 AM

I think we assume that Olympic Provisions grinds their own meat which they receive in large/subprimal cuts that are from animals of a certain quality. I am guessing that they don't treat their charcuterie with ammonia prior to stuffing it into casings and terrines, and that they don't craft their artisinal (and somewhat expensive) product from a biweeekly delivery of "pink slime" that you deem fit for our consumption.


I would assume that Olympic Provisions receives their pork from a supplier like Carlton Farms which processes pork from multiple carcasses from multiple lots across the NW, including Canada. Then they grind the fat and muscle into an unrecognizable sausage and treat it with multiple substances, including sodium nitrite, to kill off endemic life-threatening bacteria. Then they stuff it into the entrails of an animal and hang it until covered in mold.

It's not like I'm a proponent of "pink slime". But it seems like the same people who might be for legalizing raw milk and raw milk cheeses or salumi made without nitrites are very willing to accept propaganda about lean beef trimmings because, why? It's "gross"? If that's our standard, we're not going to have a lot of food left and things that a lot of us enjoy, like tongue, tripe, sweetbreads, sausage, hot dogs, etc, are going to be off the table. Because it uses the leftovers, the trimmings, the "trash" from processing beef? Similar to "it's gross". It plays on the same emotions that keep people from eating offal and makes us a country of wasteful eaters who only want the "pretty" cuts of meat. Because it requires chemicals to clean the meat and insure it's safe? This is true of every chicken you're likely to buy, as well as a lot of other foods that are treated in various ways, including fruits and vegetables.

It's sensationalism. It's propaganda. The process isn't substantively different from other processes except that it gets sensationalized in order to promote a political or cultural point someone is trying to promote.

The original "whistleblower" wasn't even against the use of pink slime for any of the reasons people are now attacking it or using it as propaganda. His problem with it, which seems fair, was that it's largely not beef. A large portion of it is connective tissues, such as tendon, he says. And as such, it's nutritionally different from beef and so it should be labeled as such. Which seems reasonable. But people are going far beyond that claim, suggesting it's less safe than regular ground beef or just that it's "gross" so they can promote an anti-meat or anti-corporate message -- or at least with better intentions, a pro-safe-food message, even if in this case, it doesn't apply.

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#32 polloelastico

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 08:36 AM

But what you describe in terms of salumi are very traditional methods of curing and preparing charcuterie, a well-documented and accepted practice that dates back hundreds of years. It's not hidden or obfuscated. Blue cheese is similarly "gross", but at least we know what it is and how it came to be. You know what else is gross? Hot dogs. Industrialized, emulsified forcemeat (or surimi) is also a very disturbing process to witness. In their modern form it can be argued that it veers systematically from the original archetype, but at least it's mostly a sterile, bleak, and soulless extrapolation of practices that are centuries old. A 99 cent package of Bar-S hotdogs is still gross, as most hot dogs are, but I'll still eat one when drunk at a ball game. *Because it's there*.

Where this beef veers off course is that it's simply filler, a way for industrialization to stretch pennies exponentially into profit. We have had a way to ground beef for centuries, it works fine, but we decided it wasn't good enough so we pushed to take what is already a pretty unsettling practice even further into a gray area of acceptability. It's like the dude from INXS who couldn't be content with having sex with Kylie Minogue, so he resorted to hanging himself in order to get his rocks off. It's tacky, it's unnaturally hubristic, and it's entirely unnecessary.
“Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.” — George Carlin

#33 ExtraMSG

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 09:19 AM

But what you describe in terms of salumi are very traditional methods of curing and preparing charcuterie, a well-documented and accepted practice that dates back hundreds of years. It's not hidden or obfuscated. Blue cheese is similarly "gross", but at least we know what it is and how it came to be.


"Pink slime" has been well-documented as to how it's made and is tested to show its safety. And again, it's been shown to be more safe than typical ground beef. I also doubt that despite how long the process has been underway that most people know any better how lean beef trimmings are used than how blue cheese is made. It took me a hell of a lot more internet research to get good information on tripe than it did on pink slime.

You know what else is gross? Hot dogs. Industrialized, emulsified forcemeat (or surimi) is also a very disturbing process to witness. In their modern form it can be argued that it veers systematically from the original archetype, but at least it's mostly a sterile, bleak, and soulless extrapolation of practices that are centuries old.

Where this beef veers off course is that it's simply filler, a way for industrialization to stretch pennies exponentially into profit. We have had a way to ground beef for centuries, it works fine, but we decided it wasn't good enough so we pushed to take what is already a pretty unsettling practice even further into a gray area of acceptability.


Poor people eating the scraps, and making delicious stuff from them, is a tradition as old as time. Hell, even within the animal kingdom, the dominant males get the first cuts. I'm sure you could put a Marxist spin on this, it wouldn't be difficult, about how eating scraps are evil because they alienate the proletariat, but then despite being part of the bourgeoisie, you seem to still enjoy poor people's food. I'm just not seeing how stretching food -- aka, making things cheaper, aka, wasting less of an animal -- should result in a viral campaign including celebrity chef outrage in one case but result in approbation in the other. As Sacman says, there are a lot of things that truly deserve outrage in the food industry which makes this a waste of time and effort by the media et al.

As a foodie, I largely agree with you on lean beef trimmings -- that they're unnecessary and don't seem to add any value to ground beef.* It only makes it cheaper, much like the use of HFCS instead of cane sugar in sodas. I feel the same way about Velveeta, even if some people do think it has redeeming value. But it seems that the outrage is far out of proportion to that "crime" and so it can't be the underlying reason. I think the "gross" factor is the root cause, but one that calmer heads should see as uncalled for.

Also, PE, you're normally the one defending cheap junk foods and treating those of us who would banish Velveeta and Top Ramen as snobs. So this position seems odd for you. I think it's one of the several cases in food politics where anti-corporatism also has an edge of classism.









* Though perhaps given the chance in a society where food prices matter more, people would come up with creative and wonderful ways to cook such a thing, like we have with tendon, tripe, bone marrow, blood, and so on.

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

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Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#34 Quo Vadis

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 10:01 AM

I'm guessing no one acting appalled here drinks portland tap water.

http://www.portlando...dex.cfm?c=48904

Treated with ammonia and chlorine.
Methinks I am like a man, who having struck on many shoals, and having narrowly escap'd shipwreck in passing a small frith, has yet the temerity to put out to sea in the same leaky weather-beaten vessel, and even carries his ambition so far as to think of compassing the globe under these disadvantageous circumstances-Hume

#35 jennifer

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 06:40 PM

A parallel discussion on pink slime is going on over at Serious Eats.

#36 jennifer

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 12:07 PM

Food writer for HuffPo bought a package of beef with pink-slime and a package without, then took them home for a cook & taste test.

http://www.huffingto..._n_1353058.html

#37 polloelastico

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 02:08 PM

A parallel discussion on pink slime is going on over at Serious Eats.

Meat Guy on that thread is pretty awesome.
“Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.” — George Carlin

#38 pyrofemme

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 02:21 PM

NPR reports:

Due to 'customer demand' the USDA will give schools that receive meat through the government's free and reduced-price school lunch program the option of ordering beef without it ("pink slime"/"Lean Finely Textured Beef") in the next school year.

http://www.npr.org/b...over-pink-slime

#39 jennifer

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 04:21 PM

I heard that report, but they didn't say whether schools would have to pay more for the real stuff, or what % of fat the real stuff would be. I'm guessing they're still figuring it out.

What was interesting to me was the HuffPo writer's description of eating the pink-slime burger:

And then there was the texture. Unpleasantly chewy bits of what I can only describe as gristle, though they were not visible, seemed to stud the meat of the pink slime burger. The result was a mealy chew that, while not overtly unpleasant, didn't leave me wanting another bite.


Based on that description, I think I've had (we've all probably had) pink slime burgers on and off for years and never really knew, I just knew that every once in a while there was some odd bit that wasn't chewable, or a burger that just tasted flat and "one dimensional", as the writer described. Cooked medium yet oddly no juice or fat running out, etc.

If nothing else, this just narrows my list of places I'll buy ground beef from. Which for the past year, I've bought very little of anyway because of how many recalls there were last year.

They can sell all the filler-ground beef they want. I just think they should label and price it as such.

#40 ExtraMSG

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 04:57 PM

I don't know, Jennifer. I take the comparison with a grain of salt. There's no real effort to compare the same quality of meat with pink slime to those without. Most of the fast food burgers have similar gristly bits, but I think it's a matter of the quality of the beef, often old dairy cows or other low cost sources, rather than "pink slime". Without a blind tasting of, say, angus from the same ranch with and without pink slime, or at least a much broader comparison, I'm not sure it's all that helpful.

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's