Setting the record straight on ground beef


News and commentary reports in recent weeks have brought undue attention on ground beef. However, Donna Jo Curtis of Athens who serves as President of the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association, has joined with her fellow beef producers in reassuring consumers that the beef they love is both safe and nutritious.

“I raise the beef we all eat. I know the work that goes into caring for these animals and the safeguards that are in place to keep our product wholesome. I serve beef to my children and grandchildren and won’t let some false media reports scare me away from doing what I know is right,” says Curtis.

What has been mislabeled as “pink slime” is actually boneless lean beef trimmings. The picture many have seen circulating the internet is a false depiction of what truthfully looks exactly like ground beef.

As their real name suggests, boneless lean beef trimmings are 100{44c616e11cf70d617c8dd92fb0bc15f41001df771f775c6b004238009c89a3f0} USDA inspected beef.

Imagine trimming fat from a roast or steak. There’s always some meat that is trimmed with the fat. It is this meat, separated from the fat, which becomes boneless lean beef trimmings.

Also receiving some unfair attention are the measures food processors use to fight E. coli contamination. In truth, boneless lean beef trimmings receive a puff of food grade ammonia to eliminate bacteria safely and effectively.

When combined with the natural moisture in beef, ammonium hydroxide is formed, which is a naturally occurring compound found in many foods, in our own bodies and the environment.

This antibacterial puff of gas is not an ingredient in boneless lean beef trimmings. This process is safe and has been recognized as such by the FDA since 1974.

Noted author Peter McWilliams is often quoted for saying, “bad news gets higher ratings and sells more papers.” That sentiment surely appears to apply in this situation.

The fact is that the beef you buy at your local supermarket or enjoy at your favorite restaurant is safe for you to share with your family.

In fact, lean beef has been proven as a part of a heart healthy diet that delivers a delicious array of essential nutrients like zinc, iron, protein, and B vitamins that active bodies need.

The Alabama Cattlemen’s Association has two trained meat scientists on staff that are available to discuss this and other issues related to the beef industry.

Those interested should contact Erin Beasley at the ACA office at 334-265-1867.

More information on this issue can also be found online by visiting


-Reid Blossom

Alabama Cattlemen’s Association


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