Sunday, October 4, 2009

Shocking- Ground Beef is Not Safe



It takes a lot to shock me, but the article in today's New York Times about E. coli in ground beef is truly eye opening. I want you to read the entire article but here are some scary highlights and facts that show our meat sources are not safe for consumption:
  • A single portion of hamburger meat bought at most supermarkets is not from meat run through a grinder. It is an amalgam of various grades of meat from different parts of many cows and even from different slaughterhouses.
  • There is no federal requirement for grinders to test their ingredients for E. coli pathogen.
  • Hamburger meat might be labeled "Angus Beef" but it can be made up of low grade ingredients cut from areas of the cow that have contact with feces, which carries E. coli.
  • Many big slaughterhouses will only sell to grinders who agree not to test their shipments for E. coli because they fear that discovery will set off a recall of ingredients they sold to others.
  • Meat grinders buy trimmings of fatty edges sliced from better cuts of meat and mix them with other fatty meat products that have been centrifuged and treated with ammonia to kill E. coli. One company, Beef Products Inc, produces seven million pounds a week that is sold to grocers and fast-food restaurants and served in the federal school lunch programs.
  • The Agriculture Department regulations allow hamburger meat labeled ground chuck or ground sirloin to contain trimmings from those parts of the cow.
  • Bacterial testing of ground beef is not required because the industry says the cost would unfairly burden small producers.
  • Costco tests trimmings for E. coli before grinding.
  • E. coli gastroenteritis is usually a mild disease. Five to 10% can be serious and cause hemolytic uremic syndrome and kidney failure.
  • There is no question that the U.S.D.A. does not protect consumers from contaminated meat.
  • Hamburger meat is not safe unless you have a butcher grind up a full cut of beef.
I will not be buying hamburger meat ever again. I just threw out some frozen meat from my freezer. The article disgusted me and the description of the slaughterhouses reads like the turn of the century book, The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair , which eventually led to the Meat Inspection Act.

We have learned that we cannot count on the government to protect our finances and we should not count on the government to protect our food. It is up to each of us to learn about and support safe, small organic farming, eating from food sources that are close to home and certainly avoiding ground meat that comes from the grocer.


13 comments:

Anonymous said...

It doesn't even seem like you can even trust organic hamburger meat either.

Raymond Bouchayer said...

Whoa !!! but then again "greed" wins out ...anything for a buck . I remember when I used to go to a "drive in " and the hamburger was made in front of me with bare hands and it was good and we never heard of E.Coli.

KM said...

I read this story earlier about the E.coli and it is the same thing that happened to my cousin that caused him to go on dialysis for over eighteen years three times a week and have two kidney transplants. The second transplant is still working that he had in 2006. With him E.coli was traced back from a hamburger he ate in the Chicago Airport when he was in high school and at that time they didn't know very much about E.coli. He is now 40 and when I visited him in that hospital it was so amazing they found a kidney match for him which is still working, his first one only lasted four years before his body started rejecting it, a long time ago.
He has lived longer then doctors originally thought he would ,from the damage of the E.coli infection. But before eating the E.coli infected hamburger was a completely healthy teenager.

Lisa said...

Great Article. Those who are aware of how diseased and rancid the food we are consuming in the US actually is, will need to go to start going to great links to ensure where their food comes from. This includes all animal products, meat, chicken, eggs, cheese, as well as milk ( if you haven't seen the latest PETA video on the abuse and horrors inflicted on dairy cows, you should look it up.) Buying organic and free reange is one step, drinking soy milk is another, limiting your consumption of animal products is another. I have even strated buying local organic meat from a rancher in Sonoma. It has been years since I have bought non organic animal products from a store like a Safeway.

tracy said...

i want a cheeseburger...hummmmmm-but then, i may be passively suicidal...

Brandy said...

I think I will stick to buying my meat from Costco and may look into grinding my own whole cuts.

Rich said...

My dog has been trying to convince me to go vegeterian for some time now, I'm ready.

Rich said...

http://beefmagazine.com/mag/beef_beef_chat_inside/

Anonymous said...

The following article came out today. http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/pdf/FDA_Top_Ten_Report_dangerous_foods.pdf?tag=contentMain;contentBody

Thought you might be interested in it, since beef isn't on the list. I would love to see what a doctor has to say about it.

Toni Brayer MD said...

Anon 8:42: I saw that article and I think it is poor journalism. The foods are not dangerous in themselves...it is the farming and transport methods. Similarly, hamburger is not dangerous by itself...it is the mass farming, industrial slaughterhouses and lack of safety oversight that make it inedible.

We need to get back to basics. Humane and organic farming, eating with the seasons and knowing how our foods are produced is becoming essential.

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I think that all the fast food chains do not provide quality in their meat, they always buy the cheapest product so they can sell us that stuff.

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