The "pink slime" in the ground beef controversy has been much in the news lately. If you have not heard about this, you can read more about it here. I'm happy to tell you our grass fed beef has no "pink slime" added - or anything else either. We sell pure grass fed, grass finished, Angus beef -period. The increased attention to beef processing is important though and a good thing I think. If you don't have anything to hide why would close attention to what you are doing be a problem?
I personally feel the beef eating public should know not only what their beef was fed, but just as important, how it was processed. In my humble opinion - which I'm quite sure the USDA doesn't give two hoots about - I think if this 'slime' is allowed in ground beef it should be clearly labeled so folks buying meat can decide for themselves if they want to eat the stuff.
Obviously I don't make the rules however, and the current USDA regulations allow this substance to be added to meat with no labeling required. It has been reported that up to 70% of ground beef sold in this country has "pink slime" added. This includes the meat fed to children in their school lunches.
Our meat is individually hand cut by the expert staff at our local, farmer owned, USDA inspected Co-Op. This is important for many reasons. First, these experienced, professional people take great pride in their workmanship and the quality shows in the finished product. Second, we know them and they know us and our beef. Third, our meat is processed individually - not in a large batch. This is very important!
Why you ask? Have you ever wondered about the huge beef re-calls when thousands upon thousands of pounds of meat are affected in many different states? How does that happen? It happens because the meat from hundreds if not thousands of animals, from many different sources, are mixed together in processing - especially in ground beef.
One contaminated carcass is dumped in a huge vat with thousands of others and the whole batch is contaminated. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so let me show you a few pictures of our beef being processed at the co-op. Each of our animals is USDA inspected and individually processed - including the ground beef. The picture above is the beef grinder.
As each carcass is cut the small ends and pieces of meat that are hand trimmed from the various steaks and roasts are set aside and ground to make our naturally lean ground beef.
The ground beef has no additives or fillers of any kind - including "slime" or amonia. Just our own Angus grass fed, grass finished beef. After the fresh beef is ground, it is put through a machine that forms it into perfect one pound bricks of ground beef.
Each one is individually packaged to be put on the sealer.
The one pound packages are sealed and shrink wrapped to keep the ground beef fresh and delicious for our customers. The packaging is much sturdier than the shrink wrap you see in the supermarket. It allows our meat to keep very well in the freezer for at least a year if solidly frozen. Another benefit from the beef "bricks" is that their square shape stacks easily in the freezer.
Growing all grass fed beef naturally without growth hormones, feed additives or antibiotics is not the quickest way to produce beef. We certainly feel it is the best way; both for the environment, the cattle and the beef we produce. It is by far the the most natural way - and natural is usually best isn't it?
In the same way, processing beef individually by hand is certainly not the fastest way it can be done; or "most efficient" in the beef industry lingo. When I hear about "beef efficiencies" I always wonder what that means in real life? Hormone implants? Feeding grains that make the animals sick? If that is "efficient" we are clearly not. We are not in a race. Our goal is not to have the quickest beef possible. We do care very much about having beef of the best quality, best cut, best tasting possible. And we believe wholeheartedly that we do. It is the best we have ever tasted, and it is what we feed our family. Are you ready to try some?