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meat



Taiwan Trashes US Meat Over Livestock Drug

Ractopamine, ever heard of it? Probably not. However, this feed additive is rather controversial and is causing international waves.

Ractopamine is fed to American livestock in order to promote lean meat. Currently, it is fed to about 60 to 80 percent of the pigs in America and as a result, there have been numerous reports of dead and sickened pigs. No other livestock drug has caused such high numbers of death and illness according to an investigation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Since the drug was introduced, over 218,000 pigs on ractopamine have been reported to show very adverse effects. Since March 2011, the drug has caused the majority of problems in pigs even though other livestock animals are on the drug. Pigs are suffering from hyperactivity, trembling, broken limbs, the inability to walk, and death.  These results were gathered from a FDA report that was released under a Freedom of Information Act request. Even though these disturbing things are happening to the livestock, the FDA says the data can’t determine that the drug caused these effects.


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Ag-Gag Bills Will Keep Food Preparation Methods Secret

Pink slime has been making headlines a lot lately. As most consumers are learning the truth about the food they’re putting in their mouths, the government is apparently getting nervous.

If you haven’t read the truth about this product called pink slime that is making up the majority of the meat served in this country, you should really inform yourself.

Microbiologist Carl Custer gives an excellent definition of pink slime. Custer explains how the substance is primarily connective tissue and gristle, the texture is simply manipulated mechanically and the flavor altered chemically to fool you into thinking it’s meat.

“It’s not meat. We call it Soylent Pink,” Custer said, who has worked with the Food Safety Inspection Service for 35 years.


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USDA Adds Nutrition Labels to Raw Meat

March marks the start of nutrition labels for raw meat and poultry. The new USDA rule states that nutrition information must be made available for most ground meat and ground poultry and for popular cuts of the two.

Previously, the USDA only required nutrition labels on meat that had added ingredients like stuffing or a marinade sauce. Now, all ground meat and poultry must carry a label. Along with ground meat 40 popular cuts will also be required to post a label either on the product or on a nearby chart. Some of those cuts include beef porterhouse steaks, chicken breasts, and pork chops.

The labels will provide the calorie and fat content of the meat. If the product shows a percentage of lean meat, it must also include the percentage of fat.

The labels do not have to include amount of trans fat though. This is not a requirement as the USDA estimated that nearly 80 percent of all nutrition labels list trans fat voluntarily.

There is an exception to the new labeling rule. Small meat grinding businesses are exempt. As long as the business provides lean and fat content information and makes no other nutrition claims on the package, they do not have to provide the other content in a label.

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Scientists to Dish Up “Test-Tube Burger”

test tube and pipetteScientists in the Netherlands have been growing meat tissues in the laboratory, and hope to create the first ever “test-tube burger” by the end of 2012. Also known as “in vitro” or “cultured” meat, the researchers have successfully used stem cells to grow strips of muscle in petri dishes. This tissue will be combined with blood and artificially grown fats to make meat with a hamburger consistency.

The project was funded by an anonymous investor, who contributed roughly $330,000. Although this is a high cost to produce just one hamburger, lead researcher Prof. Mark Post is confident that costs can be dramatically reduced by commercialization, like so many other inventions.

The concept of lab-grown meat may trigger a gag reflex in many, but a number of organizations argue that it can reduce the environmental damage caused by raising livestock. The global demand for meat continues to climb, particularly in Asia and Africa. It’s hoped that artificial meat will use fewer resources to produce, in addition to cutting down the animal cruelty so too often found in factory farms. PETA endorses lab-produced meat, going so far as to offer a million dollars to the first scientist able to bring the product to the commercial market.


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Ban on Horse Meat for Human Consumption Lifted in the U.S.

If you’ve ever visited another country or even enjoy a foreign cuisine chances are your eyes have been opened to many different ways of doing things. One of the major eye openers I’ve experienced as a traveler is how different the food is in other cultures. As my family dined on a Dim Sum meal in Boston’s Chinatown, my little boy was served chicken feet. He bravely accepted the feet and began chowing down. And as a good guest, so did I. I had to separate myself from what I was doing, and try to enjoy what those around me were calling a delicacy.

Chicken feet aren’t the typical American fare, however, they don’t stray too far from a familiar food. But what about bugs? Rats? Or even horses? These meats are very popular in many cultures around the world. However they seem to make us squirm. Should they?

Americans may be serving horse meat to humans in the near future. Are you ready?
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