There’s a meat crisis in America, and its been happening for quite some time, just none of us seem to know it. Have you ever read the phrase “mechanically separated meat” or “meat product” on your ingredients listing and been puzzled beyond belief? Even if you haven’t, you were probably shocked and disturbed that something involving machines was used to create or treat your beef or chicken. But thanks to recent reports from MSNBC, Yahoo! News, and the ever diligent work of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, the cat is out of the bag on pink slime, ammonia treated meat, and McDonald’s usage of the meet up until this August.


When we posted our Chicken McBites review, we included a pretty disturbing video showcasing one of many techniques use to generate mystery meat, including what parts of the chicken could really go into most chicken nuggets. Just as astounding is the willingness of America’s youth to eat it. Jaime Oliver was back at it again in the second season of his show with this video on America’s Ammonia treated beef:

Incase you don’t have time to watch, the video depicts the process that is used widely throughout the United States. Scrap meat and waste that would normally be thrown away or used in dog food is mechanically separated, treated with ammonia hydroxide, and then added into regular, usable meat. The ammonia hydroxide, typically used as a household cleaner and in fertilizer, is used to help disinfect the meat from any disease it may be housing, such as salmonella. The mechanical separation is typically done in a spinning device, much like a household clothes dryer, to separate the meat from the bone and cartilage.
Oliver goes on to say that this type of thing horrifies him as a food lover, knowing that this process is widely used throughout America. And the worst part is, the FDA, the administration in charge of protecting us from dangerous practices like this, doesn’t require companies to list the ammonia hydroxide as an ingredient, because they feel that it is not an integral part of the makeup of the food. So yes, you could easily be eating this type of meat and have no idea.


Though this Jaime Oliver video was made and shown on his show, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, last year, news has recently surfaced and made headlines regarding McDonald’s. After treating the meat with the chemical, it looks like pink “slime” or “goo”. McDonald’s had been using this process in their hamburger meat up until last August, ironically very close to when this episode aired. McDonald’s senior director of quality systems, Todd Bacon (yes bacon), was quoted saying that as of August they made the decision to stop using “select lean beef trimmings” (their preferred term) in their meat, citing some mumbo jumbo about it helping to aid in aligning their global standards.


Bacon went on to say that this had nothing to do with Jamie Oliver outing the pink slime. Although the US Agriculture Department considers the ammonia hydroxide process generally safe, I still don’t want anything that could be used to make a household explosive in my meat. It’s a good thing that McDonald’s stepped up and admitted using the sludge, and then discontinued the process, because this type of knowledge is pretty horrific to consumers.


It is very interesting that McDonald’s is currently in the middle of a huge campaign via their website and commercials siting the quality of their ingredients, showcasing the farmers who supply McDonald’s. Similarly, KFC seems to be obsessed with convincing consumers that their food is fresh.

Sink your teeth into some knowledge. Fast Food Geek out.

~Fast Food Geek Staff