No More Ground Beef

(pic from here)I gave up Shark Fin Soup last year.  That was for the sharks.  This year, I’m giving up ground beef.  This is for me, not the cows.  I suggest that everyone else give up ground beef too.  If you’re wondering why, check out this article: Woman’s Shattered Life Shows Ground Beef Inspection Flaws (watch the video feature too). The story:  Stephanie Smith went to her mom’s house for a hamburger, and because the ground beef patty was contaminated with E Coli, it left her sick and paralyzed ten days later.  Doctors say she’ll never walk again.

The very first time I heard rumors of the disgusting waste that comprises ground beef was on a Jamie Oliver’s cooking show.  Jamie was teaching people to make hamburgers, and he said that he bought whole cuts of meat and ground them in a food processor rather than buying ground beef.  He explained by saying that with whole cuts, at least you know what you’re getting.  I bought a food processor and ground my own meat the first few times, then I got lazy and started buying ground beef.  I figured that Jamie was British, and perhaps things were different in Britain.  Ground beef couldn’t be that bad.

It turns out Jamie was right, and I was wrong.  Check out all the interesting contributors to the hamburger that paralyzed Stephanie Smith.  Her burger came from four different sources, one of which is a plant in Uruguay.  Most of it comes from trimmings that are not fit to be included as whole cuts.  These big beef companies artificially alter the percentage of fat by selectively mixing trimmings–that’s why they’re able to put a percentage fat grade on each package of ground beef.  As for pathogens, because the FDA hasn’t done much enforcing of the industry, only certain players test for E Coli.  In the meat industry, testing is almost entirely voluntary.

Jamie Oliver was right.  Cleaning your food processor is a pain, but it’s worth it to avoid eating all the nasties that go into ground beef.  If you absolutely can’t spare the time to clean or fine chop the meat yourself, buy your ground beef from Costco–even though Costco also has nasty trimmings in their ground beef, they’re one of the few big retailers that tests all trimmings for E Coli before grounding.  Costco–you never fail me.

But if you can ground it yourself, do so.  It’s really easy.  Just buy the cheapest whole cut you can get, cut it into chunks, stick it into the food processor, and hit the chopping button for just a few seconds, several times.  Remove the ground meat from the food processor,and move on to the next pile of meat.  Keep doing this until you’re done.  Then use the meat to cook your burger, meatloaf, or whatever it is that you’re cooking.  It won’t have the consistency of the prebought ground beef, but it’ll be better for you.

Trust me, you’ll thank yourself later.

11 thoughts on “No More Ground Beef

  1. First of all, it’s a pretty scary story—and a sad one for that woman.

    Absolutely, you can grind your own! I remember seeing that Jamie Oliver episode as well and it really does make sense. Who knows what they ground up in the back and put in the packaged ground beef?

    I’ve cut back a lot on consuming beef. Still, every once in awhile, I’ll get the craving for it if I’m sick of chicken or fish. But I try to avoid getting a hamburger if I’m eating out. I’d much rather get a steak salad than a burger.

    I’ve also made a big push to get more leafy greens in my diet other than just bok choy. Snow pea leaves, choy sum, chinese mustard greens, etc…but I accidentally bought mallow, thinking it was Chinese broccoli. Anyone know how to cook mallow or have any recipes?

  2. It’s not just the beef industry. For general overview see Food Inc.

    http://www.foodincmovie.com/

    I was against groth hormones. My husband was against inhumane treament of animals. The only places we can get out meat is local farmers and fishermen. We buy veggies from community supported agriculture and our meats come from local farms or farms we know do not use hormones in their meats. It is a pain in the ass, but it is worth it.

    Oh and you can get ground beef from your local farmer, that is clean and does not have shit/urine traces because the meat was treated well alive (not standing in it’s own waste) and was butcher properly and the spinal cord was disposed and not ground into the beef.

  3. I ground/mince my beef the old school way, using one chopping board and two heavy meat cleavers (one in each hand) Then i slice the piece of meat crossways over and over again until it is nothing but pure ground/ mincemeat! I have to thank my grandma for passing that method onto me lol.

  4. oh great, now that I’m a big leafy green veggies kick, the Center for Science in the Public Interest comes out with a study saying that the 10 riskiest foods are:

    LEAFY GREENS, eggs, tuna, oysters, potatoes, cheese, ice cream, tomatoes, sprouts, and berries (in descending order).

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/05/AR2009100503385.html

    I’m hoping that the farmers growing bok choy, etc, are practicing much more healthy operations? maybe i should start growing my own, or do as American Girl suggested: start supporting your local and family owed farms!

  5. Man, nothing is safe.

    I ate chili today at a party which contained ground beef. Had no choice. I just hope any E Coli died during the two hours it was being cooked.

  6. 70% of ground beef is pink slime! 70%. Which means it’s mostly pink slime. Costco tests their ground beef–they’re one of the few that do–but I wonder if they buy the slime too.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/08/pink-slime-supermarket-ground-beef_n_1332429.html?ref=mostpopular

    Funny that I referenced Jamie Oliver a while back. It looks like he’s responsible for getting McDonalds to swear off pink slime.

    http://eater.com/archives/2012/01/27/mcdonalds-ditches-pink-slime-thanks-to-jamie-oliver.php

    Love this presentation:

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