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Saturday, January 02, 2010
New York Times digs into a ground beef safety issue
by Larry Geller
As you may remember from her famous run-in with the cattle industry in 1996, Oprah Winfrey exclaimed on her show about mad cow disease, "It has just stopped me cold from eating another burger!" So she was sued.
She ultimately won, but that suit underlined the risk involved in taking on the meat industry in this country. One little slipup and you’re in trouble.
Perhaps that figured into the careful investigation conducted by New York Times reporter Michael Moss in preparation for his article, Safety of Beef Processing Method Is Questioned (12/30/2009). The newspaper posted a series of documents, some marked “Confidential,” along with the article.
The story is about fatty trimmings that “the industry once relegated to pet food and cooking oil.” A company invented a process to treat these trimmings (see how respectful I am being) with ammonia to kill E. coli and salmonella.
Based on a study conducted by the company, according to the Times article, the USDA approved the product, and
The Times reports that they obtained records from the school lunch program that show problems with the product:
The USDA comes under scrutiny in the article for accepting the product despite internal criticism:
Fraudulent or not, it’s safe to assume that most people are not aware of what goes into this or other food that they eat.
Read the Times story and draw your own conclusions. Yeah, I’m chicken (though the more I know about chicken…). I’ve done my job if you read the article.
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