forum: Food & Drink

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#1 Thu 23 Aug 12 7:54am

IloveEATING

Member
Member since Thu 23 Aug 12

Beef & Red Meat in the U.S...is this normal?!

Hi,

I am an Australian who lives in the U.S. I recently bought some beef stir-fry strips from a supermarket/grocery store.

When I was cooking the meat in a hot wok it started to form a brown liquid which was bubbling like crazy, it had a very strong and terrible odour, I can't even begin to describe the smell, it was awful..!!

I thought maybe the meat was old, but I purchased some beef again from the same supermarket (a major food chain), and the exact same thing happened...I smelled the beef before I cooked it, it didn't smell quite right. I would have thought that fresh beef would be odourless (I dont recall this smell when cooking meat in Australia).

Firstly, I just wanted to check if this is normal, e.g. is american red meat farmed and prepared differently? Or is this completely normal?

I'm worried that additives and hormones may have been added. I'd like to buy organic, but it appears to be quite pricey over here. Maybe I should just avoid beef all together!

Any knowledge on this area would be greatly appreciated.

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#2 Thu 23 Aug 12 9:26am

cohphanta

Forum champ
Occupation Book Seller
From Jacksonville, FL
Member since Sun 04 Apr 10

Re: Beef & Red Meat in the U.S...is this normal?!

I've had that happen. Does the store cut their own meat or does it come 'pre-done'.  I worked for a chain that the meat came in already cut and pre-packed.  Those types are preserved with carbon monoxide, and can be months old.  We would get our meat in and it would last "unpeeled" for a month at least or more.  The packs are have 2 seals. The meat is brown (not red).  Once the top layer of plastic is "peeled" off, the second layer of plastic has microscopic holes that allow oxygen in, the meat turns red.  A lot of chains do this.  Also, a lot of meats have water added along with preservatives.

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#3 Thu 23 Aug 12 9:34am

oliviascotland

Forum champ
From Scotland
Member since Wed 06 Apr 05

Re: Beef & Red Meat in the U.S...is this normal?!

Also bear in mind that in Australia beef cattle are predominantly kept on pasture, and I believe that, as in the UK, there are restrictions against overuse of antibiotics and against growth hormones.  There are no such restrictions in the US, and many of the cattle raised from beef are kept mostly inside and fed on corn, soy and other grain-based feed.

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#4 Thu 23 Aug 12 11:00am

IloveEATING

Member
Member since Thu 23 Aug 12

Re: Beef & Red Meat in the U.S...is this normal?!

Cohphanta - thank you for your first hand insight!! The meat was pre-packaged, and exactly how you described, and now that I think back, it did change color once I had taken the plastic wrap off, I knew it looked suspicious! Its outrageous that leading supermarkets in the US may be selling beef that is MONTHS old, surely something that smells that bad can’t be very good for you…Why do they have to mess with food so much!! I certainly won’t be purchasing this pre-packaged meat again.

OliviaScotland –We are so fortunate back in Aus and the UK to have strict regulations around antibiotics and growth hormones. You also make a good point on how the cattle are raised and fed, the meat definitely tastes ‘different’ over here…I personally think all Americans should be outraged that this is happening to their food. I remember looking at some pork chops in the grocery store, shaking my head in disbelief, they were TWICE the size of a pork chop back home – the poor pig had surely been force fed and injected with hormones!! I have noticed the attitude of food over here is generally 'bigger is better'.

Upon further investigation I thought maybe the beef had been treated with Ammonia to help kill bacteria. I’ve been reading articles on ‘Pink Slime/Ammonium Hydroxite’ in ground beef – gross!! Which has lead me to ask the question – Is ALL beef treated with Ammonia to kill bacteria?? Even organic beef? Is this practice common in most countries? The USDA have made it perfectly legal to have no labelling on whether it is contained in meat.

I do understand the need to stop disease, but if I am eating meat treated with a chemical I would like to know….Mainly so I don’t drop dead of cancer and wonder why….!

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#5 Thu 23 Aug 12 12:47pm

The White Rabbit

Forum super champ
From Sydney, Australia
Member since Tue 22 Jun 04

Re: Beef & Red Meat in the U.S...is this normal?!

I've been told by US colleagues when they've been living here that they love coming over because they can buy meat without having to research it first.

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#6 Thu 23 Aug 12 12:51pm

The White Rabbit

Forum super champ
From Sydney, Australia
Member since Tue 22 Jun 04

Re: Beef & Red Meat in the U.S...is this normal?!

IloveEATING wrote:

Upon further investigation I thought maybe the beef had been treated with Ammonia to help kill bacteria. I’ve been reading articles on ‘Pink Slime/Ammonium Hydroxite’ in ground beef – gross!! Which has lead me to ask the question – Is ALL beef treated with Ammonia to kill bacteria?? Even organic beef? Is this practice common in most countries? The USDA have made it perfectly legal to have no labelling on whether it is contained in meat.

I do understand the need to stop disease, but if I am eating meat treated with a chemical I would like to know….Mainly so I don’t drop dead of cancer and wonder why….!

ammonium hydroxide; hydroxite does not exist

for the fellow pedants out there

also, you would smell the ammonia if it was still there and it's not a carcinogen (cancer causing chemical). Besides people are most likely to get cancer from eating badly in terms of fat and alcohol and being obese (or smoking) more so from the slim risks that may or may not be posed from small quantities of compounds within the food chain.

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#7 Thu 23 Aug 12 1:05pm

IloveEATING

Member
Member since Thu 23 Aug 12

Re: Beef & Red Meat in the U.S...is this normal?!

Good to know The White Rabbitt! My rule of thumb - if I can't pronounce it, I probably don't want to be eating it!

Sure, there may be no research to support the link to cancer - but I wouldn't want to risk it personally. I'm sure back in the day they thought asbestos was safe - there needs to be much more research done!!

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#8 Thu 23 Aug 12 2:26pm

Ashen

Forum champ
Occupation Why is the Rum always gone???!
From out to lunch
Member since Sat 07 Jan 06

Re: Beef & Red Meat in the U.S...is this normal?!

ok just to jump on the pedant chain... 

ammonium hydroxide  may no be carcinogenic but it is tumorigenic according to MSDS sheet. 

I will add for perspective that black peppercorns are also tumorigenic, and that there is naturally occuring instances of ammonia in many foods .  It is produced by the natural decomposition process in those foods.  overripe cheese is a prime example .


The Universe is alive and self aware. 
Need proof?
Look in a mirror.
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#9 Thu 23 Aug 12 3:19pm

MsPablo

Forum super champ
Occupation Just being me
Member since Fri 28 Mar 08

Re: Beef & Red Meat in the U.S...is this normal?!

If you have any of these shops near you, I think they are a little better on price than Whole Foods for organic meats and other products.
-Trader Joe's
- My Organic Market - (pretty good price on grass-fed, organic ground beef)
- Wegman's - good sales on 'Club' packs of organic meats

In our area, it's practical to plan meals around what's on sale, otherwise you are paying 2 or 3 times the price for food.  I try to buy extra and freeze.

Last edited by MsPablo (Thu 23 Aug 12 5:27pm)

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#10 Thu 23 Aug 12 5:50pm

sergio1972

Forum champ
Occupation NLP Trainer and Coach
From Portugal
Member since Tue 09 Dec 08

Re: Beef & Red Meat in the U.S...is this normal?!

Yes Trader Joe's is pretty cool and has got a lot of good stuff. So is Whole foods.
I've just came back from your great country MsP and had a great time thumbsup
again... big_smile

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