women 4 hope

Dedicated to addressing women’s issues.

You May Not Want To Know What’s In That Burger

Posted by Catherine Morgan on February 16, 2010

Would you like a little dog food and ammonia with your burger? –

Question.  Would you eat dog food?


What if it was mixed in with your hamburger meat?  Would you eat it then?

What if I told you it wasn’t your choice?  What if it was already in the burgers you are eating?

Don’t shoot the messenger.  Anyway, it’s not like they are just putting dog food into your burger, they are adding ammonia first to kill off the E. coli.  Well that’s a relief.  And if the USDA says it’s safe, it shouldn’t matter whether you know about it or not.  Right?

I don’t know how I missed this – It was in the New York Times back in December…

Eight years ago, federal officials were struggling to remove potentially deadly E. coli from hamburgers when an entrepreneurial company from South Dakota came up with a novel idea: injecting beef with ammonia.

No worries though…The USDA says it’s a perfectly safe way to turn fatty slaughterhouse trimmings (once sold as dog food) into burgers from your favorite fast food joint, grocery chains, and even school lunches.

Yes, you heard right.  Rather than make dog food out of this otherwise trash, it’s now being processed into food for you and me (and our kids).  What are the poor dogs going to eat?  And how long will it be before we are all eating that too?

And get this…The USDA has exempted this new beef product from its mandatory E. coli testing, based on studies done by the same company making millions selling this disgusting stuff.

From the New York Times article – Safety of Beef Processing Method is Questioned

Beef Products does not disclose its earnings, but its reported production of seven million pounds a week would generate about $440 million in annual revenue, according to industry records.

And don’t think you can just check the ingredient label for ammonia to avoid ingesting this trash .  Nope.  Because in order to make this new beef product more palatable to the American people – Federal officials agreed to the company’s request that the ammonia be classified as a “processing agent” and not an ingredient that would be listed on labels.

The USDA would like you to think this is all okay, since it’s protecting you from the deadly E. coli bacteria.  But the New York Times article reveals it’s not even doing that…

E. coli outbreaks nationwide have increased in recent years. And this summer, two outbreaks of particularly virulent strains of salmonella in hamburger prompted large recalls of ground beef across several states.

Not surprisingly, the company that makes this stuff declined to be interviewed by the New York Times.  But while researching for this post, I came across this video where a Beef Products executive invited the Food Inc. crew to record his company’s inner workings.  In it, he explains the process of collecting trash from the slaughterhouse floor, turning it into a disgusting mess, liquefying it, adding ammonia, and turning it into a mashlike substance frozen into blocks or chips to be added to a burger near you.  Well, not just “a” burger.  At the end of the video, it’s revealed that this product ends up in 70% of hamburgers served in the U.S. and the company predicts that in five years it will be in 100 percent.  Seriously…You have got to see this video to believe it…

Evidently, scraps of cow flesh, swept up from slaugtterhouse floors and pulverized into a kind of paste, are moving through the tubes, subjected to a lashings of ammonium hydroxide to kill bacteria.The scene ends with those heavily protected workers carefully packing uniform flesh-colored blocks into boxes. “This is our finished product,” the executive declares. He then claims that the product ends up in 70 percent of hamburgers served in the U.S. “In five years we’ll be in 100 percent,” he predicts.

Also See:

Had you heard about this?  Does it make you want to stop eating hamburgers?


*cross-posted at BlogHer Health & Wellness

[photo credit Tony Cenicola/The New York Times]


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