Saturday, 28 January 2012

McDonald's: The rumors are true

When McDonald's entered our area I was a young lad.  Of course health consciousness wasn't as prominent as it is today, so my family and I rushed off to try this international phenomenon without reservation.  We marvelled at how cheap, tasty and generously sized the food was.  It seemed so true: McDonald's was the champion of the people.  Those were the days we didn't know or bother to think too much about where our food came from.



Then a few weeks ago people started posting the picture below on social networks.  An email to this effect was also doing the rounds:


The accompanying captions and emails claimed that this is what a McDonald's beef patty looks like before it is shaped and colored to look edible.  Apparently the meat you see above is similar to the meat trimming that would go into dog food. It's pink because ammonium hydroxide was used to clean out bacteria from these beef trimmings.  Eventually after enough soaking the meat would be "fit" for human consumption.  

I thought this story wasn't true.  So many of these scare stories come out that it's safer to assume they aren't true until proven otherwise.  Only when I see such a story surface from a credible source do I believe it.  These chain emails and social media posts are riddled with misinformation and half truths.  

Well, a credible source has verified this one.  GlobalGrind.com, a site founded by the venerable Russell Simmons, has confirmed what the emails and Facebook posts have been saying.  Here's an extract:

In the wake of an outcry by Jamie Oliver, McDonald's said on Thursday it will stop using ammonium hydroxide, a common ingredient in cleaning solutions that's dubiously dubbed "pink slime," in its beef patties.

McDonald's beef producer, Beef Products Inc., says ammonium hydroxide occurs naturally in most foods and helps reduce bacteria. However, Oliver launched a personal campaign against its use in beef throughout the U.S. on his show "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution."Oliver explained that beef producers take "trimmings" that would normally go to dog food and wash it with the compound until it is fit for human consumption.

"Imagine how happy an accountant is. You just turned dog food into what can potentially be your kids' food," he told "Food Revolution" viewers.

A McDonald's USA senior director credited the change to the restaurant's priorities on food safety, not Oliver. But whatever the reasons, the move has been made.

If the use of "pink slime" is a great method to make low-grade meat fit for human consumption, a shift away from that and toward better meat, unless a more favorable cleanser can be found, almost certainly means higher costs.

That's not good news for McDonald's, which has taken great pains to fend off rising commodity costs for vegetables, beef and grains.


Look at that pic: Can you tell what parts of the animal are included in this pulp?  It could very well be that the entire animal - ears, eyes, tail, hooves all inclusive - has been cruelly ground in a sinister looking machine to form the pulp we see.  Then after it's soaked in this poisonous sounding ammonium hydroxide it's treated again to look edible.  McDonald's then fry this patty shaped pulp and serve it with love to customers.  

Now McDonald's have promised to source better meat and not to use ammonium hydroxide.  But do you think you're going to get grade A fillet now? Or are McDonald's going to exclude the hooves, eyes and ammonium hydroxide from their pulp and call it an improvement?  I don't know what price you place on your health and conscience, but I hope it's extremely high, because fast food chains place a very low value on such unnecessary details.  If you aren't vigilant over what you eat, don't expect the big fast food franchises with friendly clown, king and colonel mascots to do it for you.  No wonder McDonald's is so cheap.  Because it is.  

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