When celebrity chef Jamie Oliver launched his crusade against so-called “pink slime,” a processed beef product added to burger patties in the U.S., the world watched in horror. The media was buzzing with stories about how beef off-cuts were being processed with ammonium hydroxide, then mixed with hamburger meat.
 
Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution: Pink Slime – 70% of America’s Beef is Treated with Ammonia
 

 
McDonald’s in the U.S. stopped using the stuff this January, and the media was quick to condemn the US Department of Agriculture’s National School Lunch Program for buying the product.
 
Health Canada doesn’t permit the use of ammonium hydroxide in meat products, so there’s no pink slime in our burgers. But should Canadians be feeling smug?
 
R. Holley, Ph.D. (Guelph)
Professor
Microbial ecology of food spoilage; meat, poultry, dairy; food safety
 
Richard Holley, a food science professor at the University of Manitoba, not only thinks “pink slime” is fine, he thinks it’s a better alternative to what is typically done in Canada.

“I see this as not an unreasonable process from a scientific perspective,” he says. “It enables the recovery of high-quality protein from meat that otherwise would more than likely end up as mechanically separated.”

You’ve no doubt noticed the words “mechanically separated” on many a meat label. It’s a process that’s been used for some time in Canada, and other parts of the world, where carcasses are put through a high-pressure filter and all the tissue is extracted, even some spinal fluid.

Mechanically separated meat products can only be used in products that are frozen, because it has high bacterial numbers,” says Holley. “What we’ve got here, with ammonium treated beef, is a chemical intervention that’s reducing potential for E. coli contamination.”
 
Joe Schwarcz – Biography
 
According to McGill chemistry professor Joe Schwarcz, the process is nothing to worry about.
 
“Neither the dissolved ammonia, nor the ammonium hydroxide it forms, presents a health concern,” Schwarcz wrote in a recent Montreal Gazette article.“Ammonia is a product of protein metabolism and therefore routinely forms in the human body. It ends up being converted into urea which is then excreted in the urine.”
 
So is Canada better off without pink slime? Or, as food columnist Ari Levaux asks in the Atlantic, “Is pink slime any worse than pink cylinders, yellow nuggets, brown breakfast sausage patties, or any number of mystery meat products?”

“Probably not,” he writes. “And for what it’s worth, it isn’t even slimy.”

What about the carbon monoxide-treated meat?
Shoppers who judge the freshness of meat by its pink color may be deceived by a relatively new industry practice of treating meat with carbon monoxide, critics say.

The meat industry defends the use of carbon monoxide to help meat retain its pink hue, saying large sums of money are wasted when sellers throw away meat that is still safe to eat but is not as attractive because it is slightly brown. Read more ….
 
U.S. MEAT TREATED with CARBON MONOXIDE to make it LOOK FRESH
 

 
70% of ALL beef and chicken (including organic) has been treated with Carbon Monoxide Gas. It can make bad meat look good. How many people have become poisoned by this chemically altered meat that we are eating and feeding our children?
 
Not only it’s a method of passing off decayed meat as fresh, but this shows that governments work on behalf of Big Business and NOT for the people.
 
Any possible side effects?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a toxic colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas which essentially replaces oxygen in the blood. When individuals are exposed to higher levels of CO, it begins to cause detrimental effects after binding to a molecule in the blood that normally carries oxygen, known as hemoglobin. Lower levels of exposure results in headaches, confusion, fatigue, and nausea, while higher levels of exposure could result in unconsciousness, death, or long-term negative neurological effects.

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