Now that Food Revolution’s Jamie Oliver has succeeded in humiliating McDonald’s into terminating the use of that disgusting pink slime as the cornerstone for their pseudo hamburgers, McDonald’s released a statement claiming that at the beginning of last year they made a decision to discontinue to the use of ammonia-treated beef in their hamburgers, but [wink, wink] it has only been widely reported within the last few days.
McDonald’s denies that Oliver’s show had anything to do with discontinuing the use of ammonium hydroxide — “an ingredient in fertilizers, household cleaners and some roll-your-own explosives” — in its otherwise inedible scrap meat masquerading as McDonald’s hamburger.
M. Alex Johnson with MSNBC reports that besides being used as a household cleaner and in fertilizers, the compound ammonium hydroxide releases flammable vapors, and with the addition of certain acids, it can be turned into ammonium nitrate, a common component in homemade bombs.
“It’s also widely used in the food industry as an anti-microbial agent in meats and as a leavener in bread and cake products.”
Oliver’s campaign to get fast-food chains to stop using the pink slime began in April when he included a segment on what he called “pink slime” on his TV show. Oliver demonstrated how it’s made from scraps that are soaked in ammonium hydroxide and then ground into a pinkish form that looks something like hamburger meat.
Oliver claims the pink slime is in 70% of U.S. beef, out of both fast food restaurants and public school cafeterias.
“The use of treated scrap meat to me as a chef and a food lover is shocking,” Oliver said. “Basically we’re taking a product that would be sold in the cheapest form for dogs and making it ‘fit’ for humans.”
The Daily has reported that the USDA plans to buy 7 million pounds of the pink slime for public school cafeterias in the next several months.
According to the Daily, the USDA buys the treated ground beef from Beef Products Inc., a South Dakota-based company that pioneered the practice of rinsing beef scraps and by-products normally relegated for dog food with ammonia hydroxide, a mixture of water and ammonia found effective in ridding meat of bacteria such as E. coli.
The International Business Times has a short list of more food additives in fast-food meals:
Ammonium sulfate: Similar in chemical composition to the wash for meat trimmings, this substance is used as a dough enhancer in some commercial bakers. The chemical feeds dough-rising yeast and makes a more consistent bread.
Propylene glycol: This chemical is very similar to ethylene glycol – dangerous anti-freeze. This less-toxic iteration prevents products from becoming too solid. Low-free ice cream has the ingredient; otherwise you’d be eating ice.
Carmine: Commonly found in red food coloring, this chemical comes from crushed cochineal, small red beetles that burrow into cacti. Husks of the beetle are ground up and forms the basis for red coloring found in foods ranging from cranberry juice to M&Ms.
Titanium dioxide: This whitening agent is used in sun screen, but is also added to skim milk that is normally bluish in color. This chemical doesn’t have to be listed as an ingredient, so you may not know if you’re drinking it or not.
Shellac: Yes, this chemical used to finish wood products also gives some candies their shiny sheen. Plus, it comes from the female Lac beetle.
L-cycsteine: This common dough enhancer comes from hair, feathers, hooves and bristles.
Lanolin (gum base): Next time you chew on gum, remember this. The goopiness of gum comes from lanolin, oils from sheep’s wool that is also used for vitamin D3 supplements.
Silicon dioxide: Nothing weird about eating sand, right? This anti-caking agent is found in many foods including shredded cheese and fast food chili.