KCBD INVESTIGATES: What's on your Plate? - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

KCBD INVESTIGATES: What's on your Plate?

Nowadays, the American diet goes to the extremes. While some families eat entirely organic, others cannot seem to have enough fried food at their fingertips. 

But what about the ingredients inside your beef? 

Pink Slime and Meat Glue are two different processes the meat you buy can undergo without you even being aware of it.

So what is it?

Although defined as "lean finely textured beef" by those in the meat industry, Pink Slime is a process which involves the mechanical separation of beef trimmings from a carcass.  Meat processors then gather them all together in a giant mixing bowl, centrifuge them on low heat and puff the mixture with ammonia gas to remove bacteria.

It is this very ingredient that has many people concerned. 

However, Director for the Texas Association Meat Processors Davey Griffin says at the end of the day, it is still just beef.

"The folks that were involved in that showed that you just took household ammonia and pored it into the meat; well, that's not at all what was going on. It was a puff of ammonia and the meat already has ammonia in it, but you lower the pH just a little bit and what it does, it retards a lot of the bacteria that might be in it."

Approved by the USDA, Griffin says this process is a vital staple as beef prices continue to rise. "Obviously in the future this will be our major choice, a major thing that we're going to have to do to feed more people," said Griffin.

The enzyme transglutaminase, or "TG" known as "Meat Glue," sticks different cuts of meat together.

Other surprising ingredients added during these processes can include: extracts from insects in colored candy, extracts from duck feathers and hair in bread, or enzymes from beaver anal glands as flavoring.

Auburn University Food Science Professor Dr. Leonard Bell said the food industry uses these ingredients for specific functions.

"When you take these products and you treat them with specific processes, it's no longer duck feathers, it's no longer hair, it's no longer an animal protein," said Bell.

This process is noted on labels as "formed" or "reformed" meat.  However, it will not be noted on the menu at your favorite restaurant.

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