To add insult to injury, or to add profits to the packers, the industry is now putting what was once dog food into people food. It’s a new process called “ADVANCED MEAT RECLAMATION.” It all began when Eldon Roth invented a process to remove every ounce of meat from the bone. He took his idea to the CEO of IBP, Robert Peterson. In 1980 IBP was the nation’s largest beef processor and Eldon Roth approached Peterson with the hopes of selling him his newly invented equipment. Peterson was not interested in buying Roth’s equipment, but wanted to sell Roth his bones. It’s easy to remove the meat from the long bones, but a fair amount of meat exists in the backbones, which is nearly impossible to extract. The back bones also contain the spinal cord and, up until Mr. Roth came along, the vertebrae were processed into dog food.
Mr. Roth had a better idea. He founded a company called BEEF PRODUCTS. His new company began mixing the entire vertebrae, spinal cord and all, along with what the industry calls 50-50 (trimmings and fats), grinding it into a mixture of pink froth, adding ten percent anhydrous ammonia to kill pathogens such as E-coli and salmonella and selling it to Cargil, McDonald’s Corp, Burger King, the school lunch program and anyone wanting to cheapen the cost of hamburger. The use of this product lessens the cost of a pound of ground beef by about three cents.
One major problem existed—the concoction smelled like ammonia. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) had given Roth permission to add 10% percent ammonia, but without letting anyone know, the ammonia mixture was cut to the point that it wasn’t strong enough to control the pathogens. Large recalls of ground beef took place and the USDA determined that “at least some of the product was no longer receiving the full lethality treatment.” The FDA had okayed the use of ammonia saying, without labeling, it was safe when used as a processing agent.
The Medical Dictionary describes ammonia poisoning that may occur from swallowing or breathing ammonia, which is found in household cleaners, liniments and fertilizers. The Medical Dictionary didn’t mention ground beef. Symptoms of ammonia poisoning include fever, cough, severe chest pain, temporary blindness, lip swelling, stomach pain and vomiting. “Damage is related to the amount and strength of the ammonia.” Our government (FDA) tells us to go ahead and consume this ammonia treated pink slime, but a “little dab will do you.”