What’s The Beef With BPI?


It comes from a cow.

It’s heated. The fat is separated from the protein by centrifugation, then added back to the protein in precise amounts to achieve a targeted fat percentage.

It has been treated to kill harmful bacteria.

It contains ammonia.

Its label does not disclose any of this.

GOT MILK?!??!??!

Next time you pick up a carton or jug of pasteurized reduced fat milk, look at the label. It doesn’t say “skim milk with 2% fat added back.” It doesn’t say “whole milk processed to remove the fat and add back a measured amount.” It doesn’t say “milk contains ammonia.” It says “reduced fat milk.”

After weeks of media reports, blog posts – some accurate, others less so – and public reaction to the “pink slim” story, I am left wondering why the target has been glued so firmly to the corporate back of Beef Products, Inc. After all, BPI is not the only producer of Lean Finely Textured Beef.

Cargill, a corporation that has had its share of food safety issues over the years, also makes and sells this product. Both Cargill and BPI treat their products chemically to eliminate harmful bacteria. BPI uses ammonia, which is a natural constituent of beef. Cargill uses citric acid, which – although a natural constituent of citrus fruit – typically is produced by fermentation of a sugar solution. Chemists use a calcium hydroxide treatment, followed by a sulfuric acid treatment to recover citric acid from the fermented solution.

Contrary to how it has been characterized in a number of media reports, BPI’s lean beef product is not a filler. Fillers, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) are “…mostly plant substances, low in protein and high in carbohydrates such as cereals, roots, tubers and vegetables and some refined products such as starches and flours. Pure meat products are very low in carbohydrates. Hence the addition of carbohydrate-rich substances is not an “extension” of the protein mix, but some new components “fill-up” the product volume. Apart from their volume-filling capacity, some fillers, in particular starches and flours, are also used for their capability to absorb extensive quantities of water.”

Bill Marler suggested in his Food Safety News Publisher’s Platform today that BPI should invite the public – not politicians – to tour its plant and taste its meat. Sounds like a great idea, but how many individual consumers have the time, the motivation, or the money to travel to BPI’s production plant? And would the company still be in business by the time its message was spread by word of mouth by these few consumers – even in this era of instant Internet news?

Bill also suggested that BPI should post its lab test results online, and should tell the public how the product is made and what is in it. “If you are proud of your product,” he writes, “explain in honest and clear terms why you are.

The company has been trying to do this, including on YouTube. But their positive message is being overwhelmed by national media follow-up reports that continue to feed consumer concerns.

So, BPI invited ABC News – its most powerful media critic – to bring its camera into the plant. Yes, it also invited governors from the states in which it operates. And it invited consumer food safety advocate Nancy Donley, whose nonprofit organization, STOP Foodborne Illness, it helps support.

The plant tour was followed by a news conference, which can be viewed in its entirely here.

This is no longer a story about food safety – if it ever was. Near the end of the news conference, Jim Avila of ABC News was taken to task by Texas Governor Rick Perry. After first declining to answer Perry’s questions, Avila acknowledged that the safety of BPI’s meat was not at issue.

We have,” Avila admitted, “never said this product is unsafe.”

11 thoughts on “What’s The Beef With BPI?

  1. When I look at labels for hamburger, I see “100% beef” – not “made from 100% whole beef muscle meat”. LFTB is beef – the label is correct. Seeing Lean Finely Textured Beef on a label would mean nothing to 99% of those who actually read labels. Or did people expect to see the anger inciting terminology “Pink Slime”? Even products labeled as “100% Sirloin” or “100% Chuck” contains fat, gristle, tendons, and other connective tissues – what did people think happened to the left overs once the whole cuts of meat were removed? Thrown out? Highly processed food products like hamburger and cold cuts will always contain highly processed ingredients – unless you pay a hefty premium for them from a processor that uses only whole cuts of meat. Educate yourself and then make the choice to buy or not. Don’t just fall victim to sensationalism.

    And there isn’t alot of horse meat in dog food. Horse meat commands too high a price in Europe for it just to go to dog food.

    Milk does not contain “significant amounts of pus”. All milk is tested for somatic cell counts and total plate counts as well as antibiotics from samples collected at each farm. If the farm samples fail, the farmer has to pay for the entire tanker of now contaminated milk collected from multiple farms.

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    1. EXCELLENT Explanation Judy!!! Beef is Beef…nothing more…nothing less…and the process is called technology…we’ve come a long way n the past 20 years…It’s just amazing how most people will listen to the un-truth and feed into the sensationalism but when presented with the facts from several scientists and scientific data…they find it difficulty to believe…

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  2. You leave out some KEY facts: this pink slime is not little pieces of fat/muscle meat…it can and does contain the garbage that once went into dog food: spinal tissue, ground bone, veins, arteries, ligaments, organ parts, and TA DA Intestinal and rectal tissue. That may be the real reason they have to treat the stuff w/ ammonia. This will naturally contain feces, you can’t deny that. Yes, we can treat feces and it can become “pure” enough to eat but why should we? Another KEY factor you’re leaving out is is that WE the American people have a right to know what we’re buying. It’s your right to eat this but it’s my right to refuse it. The third KEY factor is that for 20 years this has been a well kept, dirty secret. The USDA/govt/beef industry knew it and deliberately kept it from us while adding 15% to 25% of this slime to our meat and making us pay full price. If anything, they owe all of us rebates on every package of hamburger we’ve bought for 20 years. I hope the conspirators are condemned to eat this in hades.

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  3. Just a comment…..everyone says the meat by product needs ammonia to kill harmful bacteria even after a heat process. I am concerned high high the bacteria levels are prior to the extraction process. Also, because it is a process it should not be classified as beef trim. So glad the House has a Bill introduced to require labeling of such product. Let the people decide what to put into their bodies.

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    1. to Bill Marler and the Food Bug Lady:

      The problem with pink slime is its SOURCE: the slaughterhouse floors . . . ..

      Seventy percent of US hamburger contains up to 25% per pound of “pink slime” which consists of the slaughterhouse floor wastes treated with ammonium hydroxide to kill E. coli and Salmonella bacteria.

      The problem is, ammonium hydroxide does NOT inactivate mad cow prions which may be part of the ankle-deep muck of blood, fats, tissue and scraps on the floor:

      Slaughterhouses are required to remove “SRM” – specified risk materials- the parts of a cow with the highest concentrations of prions. SRM include the skull, brain,ganglia, eyes, tonsils, spinal cord and small intestine. Power tools, including chain saws, are used to cut up the carcasses.. It is unavoidable that potentially prion infected wastes from high risk tissues end up on the blood-soaked slaughterhouse floors – to be incorporated into the pink slime.

      Alzheimer’s is a prion disease – 6 million US victims Dr. Claudio Soto, Univ/Texas .http://www.alzheimers-prions.com/pdf/CLAUDIO-SOTO-CONFIRMS-AD-IS-PRION-DISEASE-OCT-2011.pdf and http://www.alzheimers-prions.com/ .

      Pink slime is a likely pathway to deliver infectious prions to an unsuspecting public from huge vats of commercially processed hamburger, including to school children at risk for autism which has reached epidemic proportions.. The Prion Institute in Alberta, Canada, is studying Autism as a prion disease
      http://prioninstitute.ca/index.php?pahttp://prioninstitute.ca/index.php?page=webpages&menucat=42&id=26&action=displaypage&side=1ge=webpages&menucat=42&id=26&action=displaypage&side=1

      The USDA provides 7 milllion pounds of pink slime hamburger for US school lunches annually..

      Helane Shields, Alton, NH hshields@tds.net

      Seventy percent of US hamburger contains up to 25% per pound of “pink slime” which consists of the slaughterhouse floor wastes treated with ammonia and water to kill E. coli and Salmonella bacteria.

      The problem is, ammonia does NOT inactivate mad cow prions which may be part of the ankle-deep muck of blood, fats, tissue and scraps on the floor:

      Slaughterhouses are required to remove “SRM” – specified risk materials- the parts of a cow with the highest concentrations of prions. SRM include the skull, brain,ganglia, eyes, tonsils, spinal cord and small intestine. Power tools, including chain saws, are used to cut up the carcasses.. It is unavoidable that potentially prion infected wastes from high risk tissues end up on the blood-soaked slaughterhouse floors – to be incorporated into the pink slime. See pink slime video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByxaIr2Cs-Y

      Alzheimer’s is a prion disease – 6 million US victims Dr. Claudio Soto, Univ/Texas .http://www.alzheimers-prions.com/pdf/CLAUDIO-SOTO-CONFIRMS-AD-IS-PRION-DISEASE-OCT-2011.pdf and http://www.alzheimers-prions.com/ .

      Pink slime is a likely pathway to deliver infectious prions to an unsuspecting public, including school children at risk for autism which is approaching epidemic proportions.. The Prion Institute in Alberta, Canada, is studying Autism as a prion disease

      http://prioninstitute.ca/index.php?page=webpages&menucat=42&id=26&action=displaypage&side=1

      The USDA provides 7 million pounds of pink slime hamburger for US school lunches.

      Helane Shields, Alton, NH hshields@tds.net

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      1. How many times must this be repeated? BEEF TRIM USED IN LEAN FINELY TEXTURED BEEF (so-called “pink slime”) IS NOT TISSUE RECOVERED FROM THE SLAUGHTERHOUSE FLOOR. PERIOD. EXCLAMATION POINT!!

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  4. It is my understanding that meat, mechanically separated from the bone, is a pretty high risk factor for prion diseases. It cotains a fair proportion of connective tissue (can you say gristle?) This should be the dog food, used to be the dog food. Now our dogs are mostly forced to eat rendered road kill and euthanized pets and horses, comlpete with drugs used to kill them!

    Prions are not killed by anything, even autoclaving or downright burning to ash! Many believe this is why Alzheimer’s disease is on the increase.

    Ammonia isn’t really a component of beef is it? I think it is a metabolite of protein–in other words, the excess protein that the body can’t use, which is then carried away in the urine. Unless they are adding ammonia to artificially increase the amount of nitrogen that can be tested for, thereby making people think it’s higher in protein. After all, they can’t use melamine!

    I think the main point is that we, as consumers, do have a right to know exactly what we are eating. What with the concerns raised by the massive pet food recalls in ’07, and the numerous meat recalls in recent years, likely due to the fact that all meat is processed by a handful of “too big to fail” companies, why should we trust any of it? What with cattle, hogs, and chickens being raised in wall-to-wall conditions knee deep in their own excrement and force fed antibiotics in order to even survive, that is enough for me to not want any part of any animal product! Even your example, milk, from machine milked cows, is allowed to contain a significant amount of pus!

    I first noticed that ground beef just wasn’t what it used to be about 10 years ago–it had this nasty fine textured ??? in it. That was the last time I ever made burgers for my grandkids–they won’t do that on my nickel any more. I suppose a lot of people never noticed the difference but I will tell you that my cats wouldn’t eat it either and Mom’s rule of thumb, before expiration dates and “when in doubt throw it out”, was that if the cats wouldn’t eat it, the people were wure not going to. The dogs could if they would, if not, the chickens or the hogs surely would!

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    1. Kathy, this is not meat that is mechanically separated from the bone. It is beef trim – excess fat and lean that is trimmed from “intact” cuts such as steaks and roasts. Beef trim is used in all commercial ground beef, including those that don’t contain the BPI product.

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  5. I wondered where that video was going. No clue in advance. It is sad that corporate America still uses these sentient beings for commercial purposes. There is no doubt that Opal is kept in quarters not suitable for elephants.

    The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwahl TN allows the elephants to have thousands of acres to roam and are not subjected to Hollywood type commercials or even visitors on the grounds. http://www.theelephantsanctuary.com

    Marriott needs to rethink this commercial and pull it.

    Emilie

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