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Grocery Aisle Ethics: Meat and morality

Meat is an essential part of cooking.  Almost everyone has gone to the grocery store to buy it and nearly everyone has bought some that they regret.

Meat in supermarkets is almost like a moral grey area of uncertainty, mostly because the only news stories we see are  about how terrible meat is. ABC recently ran a story on the trimmed beef known as “Pink Slime.” The “pink slime” is made by gathering waste trimmings, simmering them at low heat so the fat separates easily from the muscle, and spinning the trimmings using a centrifuge to complete the separation. Next, the mixture is sent through pipes where it’s sprayed with ammonia gas to kill bacteria. The process is completed by packaging the meat into bricks. It’s then frozen and shipped to grocery stores and meat packers, where it’s added to most ground beef. Gross, right?

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“Don’t be afraid of all the meat!” Photo from: Creative Commons

But don’t be afraid of all the meat! Just look at what you’re buying a little more carefully. Avoid the neatly trimmed beef and anything that has an ingredients list containing chemicals. There may be bad meat out there, but there’s still good meat too. Check the labels for ingredients that are too difficult to pronounce. Usually, simple is best.

The best way to find good meat at a store is a fairly easy three step process.

1: Pick a store that has a fairly broad selection of meat; more choices usually means better choices.

2: Research and use common sense. Organic ground beef is prohibited from containing “pink slime,” per National Organic Program standards, so it’s your safest bet. Organic meat is usually the best bet because, as the name suggests, there are no unnatural additives. If you can’t find organic, check the labels on the meats to see which type has the least additives.

3: Get it home and enjoy!

Safe hunting everyone.