Pink slime, glued meat; what’s next?

by Catherine Haug, April 17, 2012

One of the issues I have with our American culture is our flippant attitude toward waste – “out of sight, out of mind.” So on first brush, one would think I would be in favor of creative ways to reduce waste in the meat-products industry. Ha! I am disgusted by what the meat processing industry has come up with:

  • Glued meat: using enzymes to ‘glue’ scraps together and sell them as desirable steaks (see m earlier post Scary Foods (or why we should support local food producers)
  • Pink slime: ammonia-laced meat processing biproducts (finely ground beef scraps, sinew, fat, and connective tissue), mixed into ground meat as a filler for burgers, etc..

The problem is not only are these disgusting to consider, but they also have the potential to pass on disease (despite the treatment with ammonia).

At the very least, foods containing these innovations should be labeled as such! We have a right to know what we are feeding ourselves and our families!

Isn’t there a better way to avoid waste?

A better way to avoid waste

Traditional societies – for example our Native Americans – found useful, healthful ways to use every bit of the buffalo, elk, squirrel or grouse they killed for food.

  • The blood and liver of fresh-kill were consumed while still warm.
  • The brain was used to tan hides, but was also a food.
  • Fatty cuts of meat were dried into jerky, or pounded with berries and/or nuts into pemmican – both dense but nutritious food for journeys.
  • Skins were used for clothing, blankets, housing, and storage containers.
  • Bones were used for tools and adornment, as well as for making mineral-rich soups and broths.
  • Antlers and horns were used for things like sleigh runners, structural support,  tools, buttons and other closures, and adornment.
  • The gut was dried and used like sewing ‘thread’ or bindings…

Why can’t we learn from such expertise?

Thank goodness many of us are savvy to what it going on and are turning to local growers/producers for our dietary needs, encouraging them to minimize waste in a more healthful, environmentally sound way. FromWikipedia: “The pink slime stories were reported to have led to increased business in small neighborhood markets, as customers ‘don’t want to eat ‘lean finely textured beef.'”

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