Assessing Consumer Concerns About The Meat Industry
On Thursday's Fresh Air, Tom Philpott, who covers food and the agricultural industry for Mother Jones, joins Fresh Air's Terry Gross for a wide-ranging discussion about the meat and poultry industries — covering topics like pink slime, proposed legislation affecting antibiotics in the livestock food chain, labor issues within the meat industry, and the practice of feeding "chicken litter" to cows, which raises concerns about passing along bovine spongiform encephalopathy into the food chain. Read more...
...The meat industry's very business model is deeply gross. Even if pink slime is purged from the face of the earth, the system that produces our meat and related products (eggs, milk) won't be fundamentally changed. A while back, I identified something about meat production that's "even grosser than pink slime"—proposed new rules that would privatize inspection at poultry slaughterhouses while dramatically speeding up kill lines. Here are four more.
"Lean finely textured beef," aka "pink slime," sparked an uproar when the USDA bought 7 million pounds of the stuff for school lunches. The agency maintains it's safe and healthy; critics say it's not fit to eat. But the burger filler isn't new, nor is it the only way that meat packers maximize production. Here's how it stacks up against two other mechanical processes.
Transglutaminase is an enzyme, naturally found in blood, that can bind proteins together. Food scientists figured out how to synthesize it from bacteria, and a Japanese company called Ajinomoto markets it in the United States under the brand name Activa.