What’s really in my hamburger?
Ever bitten into a McDonald’s Big Mac and wondered, “What’s in the special sauce that makes it so special?” Well it might not be the special sauce you should be concerning yourself with but that ‘all beef’ pattie.
On an episode of Jamie Oliver’s food revolution, Jamie Oliver blew the lid off a practice in the food industry which has caused a stir worldwide and has certainly got peoples’ stomachs churning. ‘Pink slime’ or ‘soylent pink’ is a processed scrap beef product which was originally used in pet food and cooking oil but has somehow gained approval for human consumption by agencies such as the USDA. The beef offcuts, which butchers usually pay good money to have removed from contaminating their workspace are processed in large centrifuges with heat to separate the fat from the meat. The scrap beef is then exposed to ammonium hydroxide or citric acid to kill the high load of bacteria usually present in this waste product. It is now considered ‘safe’ for consumption and can be used as filler up to 25% to pad out a meat product. Statistics from the USA suggest up to 70% of the beef in America includes some proportion of this ammonia treated filler. The USDA has officially declared ammonium hydroxide “generally recognised as safe” and that any manufacturer using it for their meat treatment does not legally have to mention it on their food labels.
To be fair, McDonalds has stated they discontinued the use of ‘select lean beef trimmings’ (Industries terminology for pink slime) in 2011, however who else still uses it, which products and at what proportion? This has also got me thinking, what other chemical additives are in the foods I eat? What is food dye E124 that is in my apple juice? Why is sodium aluminosilicate (E554) used? Does my flour really need to be treated with azodicarbonamide (E927) or potassium bromate (E924), and what the heck is in a chicken nugget, because I highly doubt it’s actually chicken!
Should I really be lying awake at night stressing about these questions or should I live in ignorant bliss? Surely these products have gone through stringent testing before they end up in my stomach.. Right?.. I will admit, this article has genuinely opened my eyes to the degree of processing our foods undergo these days and has made me seriously reassess what food I put into my body. Could these additives be contributing to increased cancer rates? Or am I being paranoid?
Ground beef. Source http://www.cjme.com/story/certain-brands-ground-beef-under-recall-possible-ecoli/75492 Licensed under public domain.
“You tell everybody. Listen to me, Hatcher. You’ve gotta tell them! Soylent Green is people! We’ve gotta stop them somehow!” – Charlton Heston, Soylent Green (1973)