The now highly criticized saga of Beef Products Inc. is a perfect example of the current problems with the U.S.D.A.
Beef Products Inc. has developed a novel way of getting “hamburger” to your table- scrape the trimmings off the slaughter house floor, centrifuge the sludge to separate the fat and lean meat, then treat with ammonia to kill the higher levels of E. coli that are found in the meat mix. Since the U.S.D.A. approved of the ammonia treatment as highly effective at eliminating pathogens, Beef Products Inc. was exempted from safety testing in 2007.
Who wants cheap meat? Schools. So this untested, ammonia treated beef product ended up in kid’s lunches.
B.P.I.’s customers also include plenty of fast food chains which means there products reach untold numbers of consumers. With such a huge market share, you would think the U.S.D.A. would be more interested in regulating the safety of this chemically treated meat product. Instead, large manufactures have the lobbying sway to essentially dictate rules and regulations, putting public health in danger in order to increase profit.
Read more about B.P.I. in an excellent investigative piece in the New York Times