Tuesday, March 27, 2012

One huge step backwards for mankind

Amazingly, we as individuals within an extremely informed society know more about less than ever before. Somebody can come up with a negative slang term like “pink slime’ and complete chaos follows.

What happened to all of their lip service about “the desire to live a green life?” Is that just lip service or do people know so little about the food system that they fall for anything. People haven’t really looked into the process but are quick to condemn it. The technique created by Beef Products Inc found a way to remove every last bit of beef from the bone of the critter and then add a dash of ammonium hydroxide to it to help maintain the proper pH and eliminate bacteria growth. Yesterday BPI announced the shut down of 70% of their production, leaving hundreds without jobs all because of media hysteria.

The technique they developed actually recovered enough additional beef from the bone that it reduced the need for 1.5 million additional head of cattle each year. Forget about the carbon footprint that so many are usually stammering on about, what about just the concept of being better with our resources in order to feed more with less?

Thanks to its catchy and housewife-scaring title of pink slime, the general concern is supposedly not about the beef but about the Ammonium hydroxide that is added. Here is science on that:

Ammonium hydroxide is ammonia combined with water. Ammonia (NH3) is a compound consisting of nitrogen and hydrogen. Both ammonia and ammonium hydroxide are very common compounds, found naturally in the environment (in air, water, and soil) and in all plants and animals, including humans. Ammonia is a source of nitrogen, an essential element for plants and animals. Ammonia is also produced by the human body – by our organs and tissues and by beneficial bacteria living in our intestines. Ammonia also helps maintain the body’s pH balance.

Amazing, huh? A nutrient essential to our healthy living and yet we put a dash of it in the lean beef trimmings to achieve a desired pH balance like we have in our body and people go nuts. What is really strange about this situation is that usually these food scares involving the implementation of technology start in the EU. Get this the World Health Organization, along with most countries in the world, consider this an approved technique - even the EU!

Here is the really sad part of the story. If you were to eat a double cheeseburger the ppm of ammonia in the burger with “pink slime” is lower than that of the cheese, the bun or the condiments (ketchup, mustard and mayo).

In fact, maybe the most disheartening thing about what has transpired in the past week is that when you look at the big picture, this technology has been used in food production in the United States for twenty years. One must wonder why is it that beef is singled out? Who really started this “pink slime” propaganda campaign? Lets take a look at the prevalence of ammonia in other foods that utilize the same procedure.

Domestic Blue Cheese 1389 ppm
Beer Cheese 917 ppm
Peanut butter 489 ppm

Catsup 352 ppm
Gelatin 342 ppm
Grapefruit 166 ppm
Ground Beef 101 ppm

This is information that was part of a 1973 study printed in the The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The world continues to ask the question, “How will we feed 9.3 billion people on the planet by 2050?” The answer is simply that we must feed more people with less resources. This food-saving technique is just one example of how American ingenuity continues to pave the way toward improving human lives. However, based solely upon selective portrayals of the truth, we have just taken one giant step backwards for hungry, iron-deprived people around the world.

The real issue is not how it will impact one company and their need to shut down three food plants and lay off hundreds of workers. The real loser in this situation is the millions of working Americans who will now be forced to spend more of their hard-earned money to feed themselves and their families. The revolt should come from working people who take to the streets and tell these elitists among us to take their sensationalism to another country. We don’t have time for it here in the good, old United States of America. We are busy producing food to feed a hungry world!

Trent Loos is a sixth generation United States farmer in Central Nebraska. He also host the Loos Tales radio program and was recognized by West Quest as the Voice of Rural America. More information at www.LoosTales.com or email him at trentloos@gmail.com

Photo taken Jan 12, 2023 at 9:29 pm