Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wellness Wednesday

The pink slime scare made Americans question both the origin of and ingredients in ground beef.  Pink slime turned out to be processed leftovers from a cow carcass (such as connective tissue) that is made edible through a sanitation process that involves the use of the gaseous form of ammonium hydroxide, a chemical used as a household cleaner when in its liquid form.  About 70% of ground beef contains pink slime.  What many Americans don't know, is that pink slime is also used in hot dogs, lunch meats, pepperoni, and other processed meat foods.  However, the meat industry's problem goes deeper than pink slime.

This article from Grist reveals more dark secrets in the meat industry (which includes poultry).  Apparently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture allows the following chemicals to be applied to meat to sanitize it and make it safe and edible, without any labeling requirement:  calcium hypochorite (also used to bleach cotton and clean swimming pools), hypobromous acid (also used as a germicide in hot tubs), DBDMH, also called 1,3-dibromo-5,5-dimethylhydantoin (also used in water treatment), and chorine dioxide (also used to bleach wood pulp).  Although the USDA requires additives like salt, spices, and lemon - that is, natural additives - to be listed in the ingredients list for foods, the chemicals don't have to be mentioned at all.  

Rather than questioning why meat is so unsafe for consumption, the USDA instead helps out the meat industry by allowing it to treat food with what sound like very dangerous, unnatural, and unhealthful chemicals without having to reveal those ingredients to consumers.  The USDA's head of food safety said, "I don't think your average consumer probably knows a lot about how food is produced."  Maybe we need to dig beyond the pink slime scandal to find out exactly what we're putting in our bodies.

No comments: