I’m avoiding eating meat these days because of what’s been in the news:
- The recent discovery of mad cow disease in Tulare County, California
- Pink slime
- Meat glue
Need I say more? Actually, I turned to the Library’s A-Z Resources for more information on these three concerns. Choosing Power Search, I found out among other things:
On the mad cow disease found in Central California: The case was “atyptical”, not classic bovine spongiform encephalopathy, meaning the cow contracted the disease spontaneously rather than through the feed supply. The risk of transmission generally comes when the brain or spinal tissue of an animal with BSE is consumed by humans or another animal. Meat from the sick cow never entered the food chain so there is no danger here of anyone contracting a human degenerative brain disease known as variant Creutzfield-Jakob.
On pink slime: What a former U.S. government scientist called “pink slime” is “lean finely textured beef” in the meat industry. Pink slime is fatty trimmings used as a filler for ground beef. The fatty trimmings are more susceptible to contamination than other cuts of beef and are sprayed with ammonium hydroxide–ammonia mixed with water–to remove pathogens such as salmonella and E.coli. Even though U.S. public officials deem it safe to eat, fast-food chains and supermarkets have rejected the product, and hundreds of U.S. school districts have demanded its removal from school lunch programs.
On meat glue: We eat glued meat when we sink our teeth into chicken nuggets, hotdogs and sausages. The “glue” used is either meat juices or a natural enzyme that links meat proteins, transglutaminase (beware of polysyllables!). When the meat is cooked, the enzyme or juices are cooked, too. Once they’re cooked, they are just more protein to digest. If the enzyme is used in the product, the meat must be labeled as “formed” or “reformed with water and TG enzyme”. The use of meat glue creates “steaks” or chicken-breast tenders or ham slices that have uniform shape and sizes. The process also puts to good use small pieces of perfectly edible meat trimmed from larger pieces. Lady Gaga’s meat dress likely was shaped and held together using transglutaminase.
Pink slime and meat glue may not pose health risks but for me they bring out “yuck” and “eeww” issues. My real fear is unknowingly consuming meat from a diseased animal and then, as a result, I find myself suffering from hastened dementia, blind and with no coordination. To be safe, I’m staying away from steaks and hamburgers. I don’t know for how long, but I’ll sure try.
To find the library’s databases, start at the Alameda County Library home page www.aclibrary.org, hover your cursor over the Research tab and select A-Z Resources. Make sure to check “full text” when results are returned in any search you do. In the meantime, here are video clips on pink slime and meat glue.