8 creepy mystery ingredients in fast food

Mechanically separated meat (MSM)... is commonly referred to as “pink slime.” Looking more like frosting than pureed meat and bone bits, the FDAdefines mechanically separated poultry (MSP) as “a paste-like and batter-like poultry product produced by forcing bones, with attached edible tissue, through a sieve or similar device under high pressure to separate bone from the edible tissue.”

After the meat slurry has been produced, it is sometimes treated with ammonium hydroxide to remove excess bacteria. Ammonium hydroxide is also used as a household cleaner and in fertilizers. Since the resultant meat-bone-muscle-tendon-ammonium-hydroxide goop doesn’t taste much like meat, artificial flavors are added to finish the whole thing off.

Mechanically separated meat is to blame for a number of processed meat products; think hot dogs, salami, bologna, burgers and many a chicken nugget. Fast-food restaurants are known for employing pink slime, ...

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Ewww!to the "pink slime" meat-bone-ammonium-hydroxide-paste-goop! (There may be safety issues as well, from fragments of bone marrow.)


But if you read the entire article, despite its claim "not to be sensationalist here", it mixes items that should elicit real concern with others that are sensationalist crap.

1. Duck feathers and human hair (l-cysteine)

I don't care if a pure amino acid, common in high-protein foods, was extracted from duck feathers. (Though, as the article points out, people following ethical or religious dietary restrictions might. Synthetically produced L-cysteine is available at a higher price.)


2. Sand (silicon dioxide)

[...] but just know that the ingredient keeping that chili meat nice and non-caking is the also the primary component of diatomceous earth, commonly used as a pesticide.

So what? It's not a chemical poison. Diatomaceous earth (sharp-edged microscopic diatom fossils) works as a pesticide mechanically, not chemically, by abrading insects' cuticle and absorbing the protective lipids that usually keep the insects from dehydrating. As one article put it, the teeny-tiny bug innards turn into teeny-tiny bug innard jerky.


3. Wood (cellulose)

[...] with the addition of wood pulp, products can boast of less fat and more fiber. Just don’t mind the wood.

And since when has eating paper hurt the kids and pets that do it?


6. Soil fertilizer (ammonium sulfate)
Ammonium sulfate is sold by chemical companies to food manufacturers as “yeast food for bread,” [...] its main task: as a fertilizer for alkaline soils. Ammonium sulfate also does duty as an agricultural spray adjuvant for water soluble insecticides, herbicides and fungicides.

The fallacy of guilt by association. We wouldn't want to eat insecticides! The real question is whether or not the FDA's "Generally Recognized As Safe" designation is justified.


7. Beetle juices (carminic acid, confectioner's glaze)

[...] The female beetle secretes a resin that is [...] collected and processed into a shiny coating to be donned by a variety of foods, including candy, vitamins, pills, tablets, capsules, chocolate and waxed fresh fruit. You won’t find beetle excretions on the ingredients list, however, look for its aliases: Confectioner's Glaze, Resinous Glaze, Shellac, Pharmaceutical Glaze, Pure Food Glaze, Natural Glaze, or Lac-Resin.

Most of us think of another insect excretion as a delicious treat: honey!

Pill Cam: Watch how ramen noodles 'don't really break down' inside our stomachs


I don't get why the subjects apparently swallowed the noodles whole instead of chewing them. Home made noodles are likely to be softer and to break apart mechanically faster than noodles which were initially dried. So the pill cam footage doesn't mean much to me. It seems misleading.

That pink slime looks so yummy - hehe.

Students Eating "Pink Slime" for Lunch? Fast Foods Have Ditched the...

"Pink Slime" is ... made of parts of the beef that used to be considered too inferior for eating.

...a product made from beef that included fatty trimmings the industry once relegated to pet food and cooking oil.

[emphasis in original]

The other microbiologist who spoke to The Daily had an equally evocative name, referring to cultural touchstone Soylent Green: “We originally called it soylent pink. We looked at the product and we objected to it because it used connective tissues instead of muscle. It was simply not nutritionally equivalent [to ground beef]. My main objection was that it was not meat,” Carl Custer told the paper.

There's no telling what is in the school lunches these days .. especially since they declared that pizza was a vegetable.

Back to ground-up bugs:

Starbuggs? Strawberry Frappuccino Colored by Insects (ABC News)

You can get your Starbucks Strawberry Frappuccino venti, grande or tall. You just can't get it without insects, to which it owes its pink and rosy color.
In what the company, in a statement, says was a move intended to reduce its use of artificial ingredients, Starbucks has started using cochineal extract to supply its Frappuccinos' strawberry hue. [...] Cochineal is considered safe by the FDA, and is widely used for coloration in jams, preserves, meat, marinades, [...] and many other food products.
It has been found by the World Health Organization, however, to cause asthma in some people, and in some others an allergic reaction.

I go to Starbucks all the time too. I will say I need my coffee without the bugs.

Beef Products Inc. plans a lawsuit over "pink slime", with full backing of "multiple governors, including Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman."

BPI plans 'pink slime' defamation lawsuit

Company officials ... blamed the closure of three plants and roughly 700 layoffs on what they viewed as a smear campaign.

BPI has declined to discuss how much it has lost in sales, but acknowledged it took a "substantial" hit after social media erupted with worry over the product and an online petition seeking its ouster from schools drew hundreds of thousands of supporters.

Naturally, the response by some is simply "just rebrand it."

I am thinking they will rebrand it. Many companies do that once the truth comes out about a product.

In 2011, Taco Bell was sued for using beef that was less than 65 percent, well, beef  —  which meant it didn’t meet USDA’s definition for beef.

So something that's only 64.9% beef counts as beef for the USDA. Good to know.

Big Food




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