Watching the news lately has creeped me out to new levels. The idea of any kind of “slime”, filler, or whatever you want to call it going in to our beef makes me want to swear off beef completely. But the fact remains that I love me a good hamburger and so I can’t say that I’m swearing off ground beef altogether.
However, you won’t find me ordering a hamburger at McDonald’s or even my favorite restaurant any time in the near or far future and that’s because I generally only eat beef that we raise. Unless someone tempts me with a Philly Cheese Steak – and then you have to hold me back. And thanks to ABC news’s report on Pink Slime, I’ll be thinking twice about my beloved philly cheese steaks now too.
Time and time again, you hear farmers and even us non-farming farmers (that’s what I like to call my husband who was raised in the city and thought it was a good idea to move to the country so he could raise his own animals and garden) that raising your own meat is best and the recent news is just proving that, well, we’re right. (More or less that he was right… but you didn’t read that here and I’ll deny every word of it if you tell him.)
Even buying locally raised meat from a small scale farmer (or a non-farming farmer like my hubby) is better because you’re more likely to get meat that’s been raised completely organic or with little to no hormones. (Free Range folks.) For instance, our cows eat organically from the pasture and then are supplemented in the winter with hay and grain when the lush green grass from the pasture isn’t available (well, except for this last crazy, extremely mild winter; they got all three – happy cows I tell ya).
Local small scale farmers are less likely to buy grain that has added hormones. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen; it’s just less likely. And like us, small scale farmers or us non-farming farmers, also provide more favorable living conditions; our cows see the light of day, every day, all day (Damn things don’t even know well enough to come out of the rain). They’re not kept in small pens cramped with other animals or inside a barn with only two feet of living space. I can’t even say that for all of my Amish neighbors. The last time we purchased a couple of piglets from them, 8-10 hogs were kept in asmall pen inside a dark, hot, barn.
I admire that the government is now
backpedaling, offering consumers options when it comes to what kinds of ground beef they can buy but when you think about it, if they were doing it right to begin with, and doing it honestly, then they wouldn’t have to offer consumers a choice or tell you that your schools will have a choice as to what kinds of ground beef is bought for lunches.
As I was cooking dinner last night though, it dawned on me that while I trust the beef that we raise and know what goes into their bodies before butchering and coming to my table, I know very little about what happens when the beef is actually processed so I called our butcher and asked. The response I got was very reassuring and affirming that we are right in the way we’re feeding our family.
What I learned was that local butchers normally don’t have the kind of equipment or tools that result in pink slime, nor do they have the budget; specifically ours. We have our beef butchered and packaged locally. Everything is done in house. Not only was I told that beef purchsed from the local butcher is filler free, but but when we bring our cows and/or hogs in to be butchered, we’re not getting additional fillers or “slime” either. We’re getting exactly what we asked for, the way that we asked for it. As we hung up the phone, my butcher told me, “You know where your meat comes from here, especially if you’re the one raising it. How many big chain grocery stores can tell you that?” Truer words were never spoken.
Tonight I think I’ll make burgers. On the grill. With extra onions and ketchup and mustard and as I take my first bite, I am going to be ever so thankful that we’re doing something right and I’m not subjecting my kids to something potentially harmful when we eat dinner. At least I’ve got this right.
Want more news on pink slime? Or just need to understand why you might want to cut it out of your diet? Check out Erika from A Black Girl’s Guide to Weight Loss – she has an excellent post on what you need to know about pink slime (grossed me out just a bit more than I already was but in a good, educated and informed kind of way).
Now to go till and plant that garden… Momma wants some green peppers and tomatoes with those burgers!
Tell me, Has the recent news findings about pink slime changed the way you purchase ground beef? Will it?