Meat&Poultry - April 2012 - (Page 8)

Commentary BY BRYAN SALVAGE, SENIOR EDITOR Assassinating effective technology I stopped watching network news and reading mainstream newspapers years ago when it became evident many stations and newspapers were no longer interested in getting both sides of a story. Somewhere along the line, broadcasters and writers began injecting their oftentimes uninformed and one-sided opinions instead of the facts into their stories. So when the “pink slime” headlines started popping up weeks ago, which wrongly refers to the scientifically proven-safe product known as lean fi nely textured beef (LFTB) – my heart sank because I am familiar stopped offering or using ground beef containing LFTB because the unfavorable publicity caused concern to consumers of their products. Of particular concern to many uninformed consumers is the use of ammonium hydroxide in the process and the charges that unwholesome meat is used in the process. Consumers should be grateful, not concerned, this process was developed. Beef Products Inc., Dakota Dunes, SD, developer and manufacturer of LFTB, explains on its website as a part of its commitment to provide the safest lean beef possible, it created the pH enhancement process, which relies on slightly increasing the level of ammonium hydroxide already present in beef to elevate its pH. In chemistry, pH is a measure of the acidity or basicity of an aqueous solution. Ammonium hydroxide, or the combination of ammonia and water, is naturally present in all proteins, including beef. Ammonia has many benefits and uses in food production. It is widely used in processing baked goods, cheeses, gelatins, chocolate, caramels and puddings. One significant result of this food-safety system is a dramatic reduction in the number of potential pathogens that may be present in foods, such as E. coli O157:H7. BPI explains the pH enhancement process is just one important component of its overall food-safety effort. By adding a minute amount of ammonia gas to the beef, BPI raises the pH in the beef to help kill any harmful bacteria that could possibly be present. BPI’s use of ammonium We would like to hear from you – to comment on this story or to request reprints, contact us by email at hydroxide was approved decades ago by the Food & Drug Administration, US Dept. of Agriculture and was implemented only after review with several of the most prominent consumer safety groups in the US. This is a proven safe and effective process, but resulting stories since the investigative report have accused the beef industry of using this ingredient to mask unwholesome meat or that industry is using what is found under the kitchen sink (ammonia) in its meat. What’s next? Most major grocery chains that have since stopped offering LFTB have explained they are simply listening to their concerned customers. But did those who made these decisions listen to sound science and the facts regarding this technology before throwing BPI and LFTB under the bus? One prominent industry source now fears that safe and effective chemicals used as effective beef slaughter interventions could someday suffer the same unfounded attacks LFTB is suffering today. I strongly believe in a saying my late father-in-law used to say regarding controversial situations: “What’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong.” Demonizing LFTB is definitely wrong. BPI should be lauded, not punished, for developing this process. For facts on this technology, visit ■ “BPI should be lauded, not punished, for developing this process.” with this safe and effective process. I have visited one extraordinary plant that makes this product several times during the past 10 years. On each visit, it was a showcase of cleanliness, product safety and cutting-edge technology. This plant resembles a dairy plant due to all of the stainless-steel equipment, tubing and walls. This inflammatory term was reportedly coined by a former USDA PhD during an ABC investigative report on the product. I didn’t see this program, but the negative fallout and publicity from this program has been staggering. Since it aired, thousands of untrue media stories about the product and process have been published or aired – and many large supermarket and foodservice customers have 8 • Meat&Poultry • April 2012 •

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meat&Poultry - April 2012

Meat&Poultry - April 2012
Table of Contents
Commentary - Assassinating effective technology
Business Notes - LFTB fallout continues
Business Notes - Thompson to CEO of McDonald’s
Business Notes - Introducing: NAMA
Business Notes - Group to acquire Burger King restaurants
Business Notes - JBS may leave Argentina
Business Notes - JBS Q4 earnings advance despite Pilgrim’s Pride loss
Business Notes - Tyson addresses its strategy and stance on LFTB
Washington - Family farm labor pains
Cover Story - Team builder
Food Safety - Full speed ahead
CEO Series - Executive experience
Ground Beef - Burger nirvana
Meat Processing - Operations & Engineering
Flooring - Building a solid foundation
Contract Sanitation - Focus on plant sanitation
Sanitation Tips (Consejos de Sanidad) - Cleaning compounds
Sanitation Tips - Be cautious with chemicals
Packaging Solutions - Sandwich success
Ingredient Issues - ‘Real food’ nutrition
Ingredient Trends - Tracking global ingredient trends
Small Business Matters - Remote possibilities
Leadership Development - Creating future leaders
From the Corral - On-farm handling
Labor - Balancing and bargaining act
Names in the News
New Product Showcase
Classified Advertising
The Insider

Meat&Poultry - April 2012