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McDonald's dropped the ingredient to be "consistent with our global beef-supply chain," according to a statement from the Oak Brook, Illinois-based company.

There's your clue : Only in America could this gunk be sold as food.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Apr 5th, 2012 at 04:52:39 AM EST
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In most African countries they beg to differ.

This is a massive war of communication (yet again), between industries with a heavy financial interest and concerned environmentalist groups that tackle small outliers in their aim to fight bio-industry at large. Except that the discussion is playing heavily on citizen fears and industry mistrust, and very little on facts on the ground.

The use of ammonia and the existing unease on the industralisation of how we process our daily food seems to be the real topic.

Anyway, if it's decided processed meat scraps no longer go into food products, it'll probably end up in pet food.

by Nomad on Thu Apr 5th, 2012 at 05:15:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
These kind of scraps always used to go into pet food. Why was a decision made to feed them to humans, when we are already overproducing and overconsuming meat? I can't see anything beyond increased profit margins made possible by the industrialisation of food production and the integration of consumption patterns into supermarket and fast-food chain habits.

In other words, this is not an outlier, but a symptom of a systemic problem.

As for Africans, it seems to me they would probably prefer sufficient quantities of the foodstuffs they traditionally produce and eat, rather than adulterated scraps that fall from the tables of the rich.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Apr 5th, 2012 at 05:46:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
afew:
As for Africans, it seems to me they would probably prefer sufficient quantities of the foodstuffs they traditionally produce and eat, rather than adulterated scraps that fall from the tables of the rich.

The 'gunk' - the scraps and intestines - are used in traditional African meals. The difference is that in traditional Africa don't add ammonia to get rid of the bacteria but just boil the stuff for a day, or two. What's more, in South Africa there are developing markets for 'gunk' products because also the growing middle class still eat traditional dishes. Better than reprocessing stuff as pet food or as fuel for the incinerators, seems to me. What the 'tables of the rich' have to do with that, beats me.

I can't see anything wrong with using every scrap of meat from a butchered animal into a food product, and I hardly believe that you'd feel different about this.

As I wrote the 'problem' is the common unease that we have in modern/western society with the ways invented to produce enough food for, say, a billion people on one day.

The controversy is nothing but a perfect clash by the society's wish to ostracize on an uncomfortable topic (daily mass-slaughter) and the unwillingness of the industry to come clean on topics, particularly on topics that makes people uncomfortable in the first place.

But getting worked up on banning edible products just because of ick-factors seems a fine way to me to get more cows slaughtered, not less.

by Nomad on Thu Apr 5th, 2012 at 08:59:16 AM EST
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Nomad:
What the 'tables of the rich' have to do with that, beats me.

You appeared to me to be suggesting Africans would gladly avail themselves of ammonia-treated scraps from America. What you now explain was far from clear in your first comment.

Nomad:

I can't see anything wrong with using every scrap of meat from a butchered animal into a food product, and I hardly believe that you'd feel different about this.

If it is in fact a traditional use, and not the industrial recycling of what used to go to animal feed, glue, etc. In which case Africans (some Africans at least) could be cited along with many others on the planet, not least (some) Europeans.

Nomad:

As I wrote the 'problem' is the common unease that we have in modern/western society with the ways invented to produce enough food for, say, a billion people on one day.

This meat-scraps thing has nothing to do with "feeding the world" (the usual excuse trotted out by the agro-food industry). It has everything to do with the search for higher added value and profit.

You seem to be saying that the "unease" you diagnose is somehow naive or wrong-headed. On the contrary, productivist agriculture and the food industry's marketing of poor-quality food are inadequate responses to the problem of feeding a rising population.  

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Apr 5th, 2012 at 10:02:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not only in Africa...

You won't teach rural dwellers in France much about not wasting animal protein.

Personally I often buy offal, but I wouldn't voluntarily buy factory scraps which had been extensively reprocessed then sterilized.

People have a right to know what they are buying.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Apr 5th, 2012 at 10:10:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The major problem is that Americans typically don't know, and don't care to know, what goes into their food. If the "ground beef" in McDonald's henceforth contains only ground beef, as it does in the rest of the world, then that's good.

(Are you alleging that McDonald's sells the same substandard beef in Africa? I have no idea.)

Awareness and transparency are good things. The industry will fight both, as they always have.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Apr 5th, 2012 at 06:47:50 AM EST
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See above.

Should answer your question on McDonald's and my take on awareness and transparency.

by Nomad on Thu Apr 5th, 2012 at 09:00:44 AM EST
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Eat yer sliiiiime and smiiile.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Apr 5th, 2012 at 07:30:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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