beef mishmash and the 4 letter word

1. If you haven’t read this Pulitzer prize winning article yet, you should:

Woman’s Shattered Life Shows Ground Beef Inspection Flaws

Ground beef is usually not simply a chunk of meat run through a grinder. Instead, records and interviews show, a single portion of hamburger meat is often an amalgam of various grades of meat from different parts of cows and even from different slaughterhouses. These cuts of meat are particularly vulnerable to E. coli contamination, food experts and officials say. Despite this, there is no federal requirement for grinders to test their ingredients for the pathogen.

The frozen hamburgers that the Smiths ate, which were made by the food giant Cargill, were labeled “American Chef’s Selection Angus Beef Patties.” Yet confidential grinding logs and other Cargill records show that the hamburgers were made from a mix of slaughterhouse trimmings and a mash-like product derived from scraps that were ground together at a plant in Wisconsin. The ingredients came from slaughterhouses in Nebraska, Texas and Uruguay, and from a South Dakota company that processes fatty trimmings and treats them with ammonia to kill bacteria.

Mm mm mm mm mmmmmmm.  Fatty beef trimmings and scraps treated with ammonia.  Makes me want to chow down.

Do you know what’s in your hamburger?  And if you don’t, why are you eating it?

2. I knew it was too good to be true – the earliest ever recorded melt off of snow, a pleasant March and April, and now what is in the forecast?  S N O W.  Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

Alhamdulilah I didn’t purchase my seedlings yesterday.   I guess it’s a small consolation (for me at least), that I don’t live in the Dakotas, where they’re looking at perhaps as much as a foot.  Bah.


6 thoughts on “beef mishmash and the 4 letter word

  1. As-Salaamu ‘alaikum,

    I couldn’t read the story at your link, but found this one off Google. Hope others can read it now insha Allah.

    I commented on this story when it was published, because various disabled bloggers had a huge go at both Stephanie Smith and the NY Times for the story. They thought she should have just got over it like they supposedly had (one of those involved was a guy who’d been a paraplegic for 30 years). Here it is.

    To be honest, I can’t understand why any Muslim eats this kind of thing. I’ve always really respected the British Indo-Pak community for insisting on monitoring halaal meat and insisting that Muslims eat it. In this country, we don’t talk about zabiha meat but about halaal meat, and the only debate is over whether stunning before slaughter makes the meat haraam or not. Besides which, burgers stink. I have to keep the doors closed at home when anyone is cooking these things, because I don’t want it up my nose.

    The other day I read a hilarious story about an autism charity teaming up with White Castle to sell burger-scented candles in aid of the charity! Autistic people are often sensitive to smells and couldn’t tolerate being around these things, or even normal scented candles, when they’re lit — but who else would want to be around them either? Yet they sold out.

  2. wa alaikum assalam,

    I wonder though, even with meat that is slaughtered properly, how the animals are treated prior to slaughter, and how the meat is processed afterwards. Even if someone slits the throat and says bismillah, they could still process the meat poorly, causing e-coli contamination and use substandard scraps for ground beef.

    Heck I even wonder if poor practices are more common in muslim slaughter houses here than in the general population. It’s sad to speculate, but I honestly don’t trust that a lot of them would care too much about safety of the workers, the humaneness of the slaughter and the cleanliness of the processing.

    I do looooove burgers, but AbuS and I aren’t eating any red meat for awhile, so no worries there. When we do, I’ll have to just buy a steak and have them grind it for me so I know it’s clean.

  3. I make my own burgers. Here we have halal ones, but I find them to contain more fillers than any real meat. So once in a while I go to the local market, get some nice freshly slaughtered halal meat and and chop them up with my food processor. The only fillers that go in are some spices and onions. Oh yeah.

  4. Oh yes, full of TVP (textured vegetable protein) and God knows what else. We had run out of meat a few months ago, and AbuS volunteered to pick up some meat from a store near where he worked. More chemicals then meat. We do have access to straight up ground beef, but until I figure out what’s actually in it, I’ll refrain and perhaps just chop it up myself.

    Do you have any special attachments you use to grind?

  5. Nope, I just use the double scythe-like blades and it is chopped up into small pieces just fine. It can be a bit difficult to clean if you use meat that has too much fat in it, as the fat just gloops up the blades and the inside of the food processor. So I guess my beef is more chopped up rather than ground, but honestly I can’t really tell the difference. I find some onions and celery essential, as well as some herbs (oregano and rosemary are great!), powdered cumin and coriander, and a dash of worcestershire sauce. Oh yeah, and some salt. My hubby would purr loudly if he could whenever I whip up one of these. And vintagey cheese. He made some relish once to go with some lamb burgers, and it went down a treat. Yum. Hungrrryyy…

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