Sunday, August 18, 2013

Ammonia hydroxide for lunch, anyone?

On Facebook today a friend posted a story that would make you puke up your lunch - especially if that lunch was a Big Mac.  The story told of the chef, Jamie Oliver's ongoing battle with Macdonald's and their practice of using "pink slime" in their burgers.

According to the FB account, the fatty parts of beef are “washed” in ammonium hydroxide and used in the filling of the burger. Before this process, according to Oliver, the food is deemed unfit for human consumption.

 “Basically, we’re taking a product that would be sold in the cheapest way for dogs, and after this process, is being given to human beings.”

Besides the low quality of the meat, the ammonium hydroxide is harmful to health. Oliver calls it “the pink slime process.”

“Why would any sensible human being put meat filled with ammonia in the mouths of their children?” asked the chef, who wages a war against the fast food industry.

To be fair, a response was published in Beef Daily on August 13, 2013.  

Here is part of the article by Amanda Radke:
"It’s been more than a year since the industry was “pink-slimed,” a term coined by ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer and British food blogger Jamie Oliver. The term, of course, was the sensational characterization of lean finely textured beef (LFTB). LFTB is a 100% beef product produced by a process developed by Beef Products Inc. (BPI) of Dakota Dunes, SD, which separates fat from lean in beef trim. Until the sensational ABC News expose, LFTB was commonly used as an ingredient in school lunch programs and fast-food burgers. The fact is that billions of pounds of the product have been produced and consumed over the years without any reported problems.

The news report, and the resulting social media campaign, created such a hysteria that demand for LFTB dried up, and BPI was forced to close three of its four LFTB plants and lay off 650 employees. BPI then sued ABC News and others for defamation, and that case continues. But the nasty connotation in consumers' minds that beef is tainted with chemicals persists.

In fact, that notion is being perpetuated by Oliver’s most recent musings. His war against the fast-food industry has been largely aimed at McDonald’s, which announced earlier this year that the chain will revise its burger recipe to exclude LFTB."

So, shining a light on the fast food industry did have an effect.  Maybe more parents will weigh the convenience of the Macdonald's drive-through against the idea that they really don't know what's in that food they are buying for their little soccer players.

The food scientists are busy in their labs right now trying to come up with some other process, just as gross, to increase their profits.  
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