Don’t read this while eating.
There’s a company in South Dakota (Beef Products, Inc. One of its plants is depicted above. It looks like a factory in a Terry Gilliam movie) that, eight years ago, decided to take beef scraps that had previously been thought fit only for pet food or making into cooking oi and inject those scraps with ammonia so they could be made into hamburger. The big fast food franchises (McDonalds, Burger King) went for it, and (off and on) the meat was even sold into the school lunch program. And guess what? It seems the ammonia thing, while it did succeed in putting ammonia into the food supply, did not succeed in destroying all the pathogens.
The New York Times has details about all this, and about the Department of Agriculture’s failure to deal with it, here.
It’s interesting how little visibility this company has online. This is from a Beef Products press release:
Most American consumers may not know what BPI[R] (Beef Products Inc.) Boneless Lean Beef Trimmings are, but this lean, low-fat, and flavorful ingredient is key in producing a range of lean, high-quality, cost-effective products millions of American consumers enjoy every day including fresh and frozen hamburger patties, taco meats, low-fat hot dogs, beef stick snacks, and sausage, just to mention a few.
BPI[R] Boneless Lean Beef Trimmings are found in most ground beef made in the United States. The trimmings are used by major packers and processors as an integral part of their ground beef or hamburger blends. And BPI’s trimmings are also used by the majority of QSR (quick-service restaurant) chains, HRI (hotel, restaurant, and institution) suppliers, and foodservice suppliers in the country. The trimmings are also approved for use in the USDA’s AMS (Agricultural Marketing Service) School Lunch Program. …
While BPI’s product is used in school lunch programs at blends up to 10 percent, most commercial grinds incorporating the product are at blend rates of 15 to 25 percent or more. Made to customer specs, most of BPI’s lean-beef trimmings are finished as 94-percent lean, lean-beef trimmings in 60-pound boxes. With consumer and customer demand increasing for leaner products, BPI plans to introduce a 98-percent lean product within the year.