Since 1994, the government’s stance has been clear. Lean finely textured beef (LFTB) has been a “qualified component” of hamburger, meaning it can be included in ground beef without being independently disclosed. But it could not itself be called ground beef, suggesting that, in the eyes of regulators it was something else—a padding or additive, but not the real deal.
> That effort culminated in 2018, when BPI, citing advancements to its process, formally asked FSIS to consider whether its product might just be called “ground beef.”
> “It was an extensive review that took well over six months and included consumer reviews, nutritional panels, tours of the plant where agency folks could get a first-hand look at the process and understand what we are doing at BPI,” Nick Ross, BPI’s vice president of engineering, told Beef Magazine, a trade publication that covers the cattle industry.
ABC didn't coin the term, incidentally. It was coined by a regulator at the FDA some years earlier.
With an elaborate explanation for each "terrible sounding" detail (what is this "puff" exactly, etc).
... except the sum total of the "terrible sounding" stuff is actually distinctly unappealing imo and only by stringing things across elaborate, carefully couched discussions is it plausible-seeming that this is "ground beef".
Basically, pink slime is highly processed leavings of beef that cannot be used except by putting it through more or less a blender and a chemistry lab. That fact leaves many consumers nervous when this is revealed. And this ruling isn't about whether you can produce this stuff but rather whether you have to tell people about it. Most people would like to know. You can judge the ruling based on that.
After butchering a carcass, you're left with a lot of fatty trimmings with small amounts of meat attached that are uneconomical to recover by hand. If you gently heat the fat trimmings and spin them in a centrifuge, you cleanly separate the lean meat from the fat. That process weakens the cell walls of the muscle fibres, which increases the risk of bacterial growth; to kill the bacteria, ammonium hydroxide gas is used to raise the pH. The FDA deems ammonium hydroxide to be safe, so it is widely used in US food manufacturing as an acidity regulator and antimicrobial agent. Other regulators disagree on the safety of ammonium hydroxide, in which case citric acid is used.
The production of LFTB is no weirder than any number of other food processes. It's a simple, efficient method for separating meat from fat. The media have made a mountain out of a molehill by sensationally revealing a "shocking secret" that is neither shocking nor secret. Personally, I think that a lot of consumers just prefer not to think about how meat ends up on their plate and recoil at any discussion of the process that turns live animals into hamburger patties.
We really need to be talking about the use of antibiotics as a growth promoter, which is a slow-motion catastrophe that the US regulators are largely ignoring.
That's a fine sell. Now sell me on, "this is so OK that we should have a statutory right not to ever mention this fact.
Which is to repeat the point that this tug-of-war isn't about "can you do it?" or "is it safe" but "do you even have to say anything?".
The problem is indeed how little consumers can determine about safety once it becomes obvious industry is throwing things all in a giant food processor and then mixing up things that appear simple. It makes people nervous even if, let's say, in this case everything is fine.
Because, suppose, in the case of antibiotics, everything is not fine at all? Do you want the precedent that "hey, once the expert decide everything is OK, then it's decided that things are sooo OK that you aren't allowed to talk about it at all". Which is to say, safe or not, problem or not, it's pink slime. That was what it was called before ABC and that's rather clearly an appropriate term.
And pink slime is shocking because consumers don't know anything. Keep the situation where the real processes of food production are shocking and hidden? Good idea? I believe not.
Food production is really, really complex. If an organic burrito was labelled with every process involved in its production, it would come with a label the size of a telephone directory. Over-labelling is just as problematic as under-labelling, as we have seen with Prop 65; adding more words to a label often actively impedes the ability of a consumer to make meaningful choices. We rely on the regulators to determine what processes and ingredients are sufficiently safe for the food chain and to highlight issues of particular concern.
Some people think that FTLB is unsafe, but they have no real evidence for that claim. It has attracted a vastly disproportionate amount of attention, seemingly only for reasons of squeamishness.
Regulators are not infallible or incorruptible, which is why it is important that they are held to account. If we're quibbling over the labelling of something that's demonstrably fine, we're not talking about the hundred other glaring issues in the US food system that need to be addressed much more urgently.
FTLB is simply irrelevant. It's broadly beneficial, but it's neither good or bad enough to warrant our attention. The grossly disproportionate amount of attention it has attracted is symptomatic of a faddish, panic-driven and deeply irrational approach to food that is entirely unproductive.
I agree with this take in general. But in labelling a product "ground beef", a consumer would consider the ingredients to be beef that is ground. Separating the meat from the fat in trimmings is good (use more of the meat please!), but the process is not grinding. If the market determines "heat-separated ground beef" (or whatever) to be less appealing, then perhaps they're right that it should demand a lower markup.
It's about nomenclature, not safety.
What does it mean exactly to be ground? When I look at their product, it looks like it's come out of a meat grinder to me. What does that have to do with the process of separating the fat from the meat which is what is in question here?
I can show you some incredible fake and inedible food that looks just like the real thing. Appearance isn't really a good measure for what something is.
As for what it means to grind: "To reduce to smaller pieces by crushing with lateral motion." I don't think the process meets any reasonable definition of ground.
I'd probably personally buy it, but I'd really want it to be labeled in some other way.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with using the whole cow so to speak -- people love chicken nuggets and hot dogs -- but you should at least be upfront about the difference. If I tried to pass off a tub of 'pink slime' as ground beef in a kitchen I would would get thrown out.
You can argue that said difference is meaningless, but that’s what markets are there to decide and misleading labels rob markets of pricing power by hiding information from consumers.
IMO, it really comes down to planned economics vs free markets. Producers hate free markets as a rule, but avoiding them has real costs.
Not sure what the exact definition would be but I certainly wouldn’t assume it to be ‘ammonia treated slurry flash-frozen on 20ft rollers’. My mind trends toward those old school funnel-top hand-cranked meat grinders when I hear “ground”. Obviously they aren’t hand-cranking the stuff but what I saw on the video on the linked page is far from what I expect when thinking of ground.
‘‘Chopped Beef’’ or ‘‘Ground Beef’’ shall
consist of chopped fresh and/or frozen
beef with or without seasoning and
without the addition of beef fat as
such, shall not contain more than 30
percent fat, and shall not contain
added water, phosphates, binders, or
extenders. When beef cheek meat
(trimmed beef cheeks) is used in the
preparation of chopped or ground beef,
the amount of such cheek meat shall
be limited to 25 percent; and if in ex-
cess of natural proportions, its presence shall be declared on the label[...].
What I am talking about is "doing you have the right know what's happening?" What that is printed on the back of a given label is a different matter, you think?
Some people think that FTLB is unsafe, but they have no evidence for that claim. It has attracted a vastly disproportionate amount of attention, seemingly only for reasons of squeamishness.
Sure, for reasons of squeemishness. Industrial scale food production is complex. Some of the details make people squeemish even if they're safe. Other details make people squeemish and are in fact things to worry about.
The relevant question is should light be able to be shed everywhere. Should industrial be forced to openly defend unappealing but safe practices or should industry have a giant hammer to shut up any mention of things with "bad visuals"?
The article we're discussing is about a change in USDA labelling requirements. I'm not really sure what you're talking about.
And this change was essentially just the last push to stop any negative publicity surrounding this product, with the lawsuit again ABC looming prominently. And in the lawsuit, you have liable laws that give steep monetary damages for what we've discussed - pointing to details that are true and "icky" if arguably safe.
Edit: Link to discussion of ABC liable trial from lead article.
Smells very much of a SLAPP suit imo. See:
o with one or two 2D barcodes
If it's not a big deal, educate people and don't worry that it's not considered "ground beef" (because, come on, it's not).
As far as "but what are we going to do with those other trimmings?" -- go to any Asian or Hispanic supermarket and see for yourself -- they are sold to the same people who buy the ground beef under the name of "Beef trimmings" or "Beef bones" etc.
If I sell a taco and never mention what it’s made of then sure. It’s only when I sell taco and say this is made from beef but actually mostly contains soy that people are going to get upset. Similarly, if I say ground beef, I would expect actual grinding to be involved not some other process.
I also once ordered from a "Burger" place via grubhub... I'm fairly certain what I got was not beef, but some veggie burger as a social experiment. The rating of the site on grubhub was pretty low after about a month though.
It's pretty easy to deceive while staying within the bounds of legal. In the end, I'd rather the mechanically separated beef over being tricked into soy. I'm allergic to legumes. Not as bad as some people I know with deadly soy allergies, but enough that I notice. For a very long time, before diagnosed, I just got used to throwing up a bit a few times a day after eating.
Not at all. The fact that this is even being brought up in the argument illustrates how much the industry needs to be regulated.
I had an organic burrito on Thursday because my wife in our old age is obsessed at buying only organic products... largely from a bodega in a Dominican area of Brooklyn -- not even Whole Foods.
The following are the ingredients involved:
1. Flour tortilla -- made in Brooklyn by a small plant that sells them to bodegas and small supermarkets. In a strange coincidence I used to walk by that plant and I talked to the family that owns it. The tortilla contains the following ingredients:
* Flour, Salt, baking soda, pork fat, water
their tortillas keep in a fridge for about a week and half. I asked him why would not he add preservatives? His answer was "Because they cost money and tortillas dont taste as good. Mine are a bit more expensive than the ones from giant companies but I make a lot more money than them"
* Ground beef ( could be organic )
She buys it from the butcher that grinds it on premises or at Whole Foods or I buy a whole 30 lb of sirloin and grind it myself.
* Dried beans ( could be organic )
* Rice ( could be organic )
* Tomatoes, onions, garlic, cilantro, radish, jalapeno, cucumbers, avocado, limes ( all could be organic )
* Cumin, salt, pepper
* Sour cream ( mostly organic but definitely that as the totality has the following ingredient list: milk, enzymes )
That's what an organic burrito looks like. If you are on a west coast, especially in SF it would be called "Mission Burrito". Cheap as hell because it has no extra process inputs. Qdoba and Chipotle manage to make gobs of money selling them: because their COG on one are about $2.50.
Each of those questions has a long, complicated and potentially uncertain answer. At any stage in that process, that plain and simple flour could become seriously toxic. The same applies to every ingredient in the burrito, with a far longer list of questions for meat and dairy products.
"Simple" is rarely simple and "natural" is often far from safe. Organic vegetables are frequently severely contaminated with dangerous bacteria due to inappropriate processing of organic fertiliser or contaminated groundwater. Some aquifers have dangerously high levels of naturally occurring arsenic, rendering the surrounding land unsuitable for many types of agriculture. A lot of common cooking and handling processes can produce toxic chemicals or drastically increase the risk of bacterial contamination. There are a million different ways for food production to go badly wrong.
If you spent every waking moment of the next five years trying to understand precisely what went into that grocery store burrito, you'd still come up short. The simplest of ingredients is still immensely complex. Our food chain is built on trust; trust in the farmer, trust in the distributor, trust in the manufacturer, trust in the retailer. That chain of trust is held together by regulation. You as a consumer are almost entirely powerless, because you don't have the means to validate the claims being made by anyone in that chain. That's an uncomfortable thought, but it's true and it's why evidence-based regulation and effective enforcement are so vital.
USDA certified 100% organic flour is super simple. It pretty much requires that every single step in a process take only USDA certified 100% organic inputs.
The really funny part is that the parent's comment sound like it was written by the old food giants whose lunch was being eaten by the organic food companies -- the ones that the old giants are buying for hundreds of million dollars because they can't figure out that the fewer ingredients there are and the fewer processes there are the fewer problems there would be.
Food is like code. The fewer lines of code, the fewer bugs. The fewer libraries, the fewer bugs.
> * Flour, Salt, baking soda, pork fat, water
What's in the flour? Is it bleached? Treated with a maturing agent? (Most AP flour in the US has been treated with both.) Has it been enriched to replace nutrients lost in the processing?
Your argument about a statutory right not to mention things confuses me. Isn't that generally true of food production? You don't sell "eggs from caged, unhappy chickens who live their brief miserable lives in their own poop," you sell "eggs," and perhaps "cage-free eggs." You don't sell "ground beef from a cow that was stun-gunned and then sliced apart while potentially still conscious," you buy "ground beef," or perhaps ground beef with a kosher or halal slaughtering certification.
If your dispute is with the word "ground," will you be happy to call it just "beef"? It's not anything that wouldn't be in an unprocessed cut of meat from the butcher, and I'd certainly expect that to be called "beef" too.
(A note on my motivation: As a customer I worry my prices went up when fast food restaurants started avoiding "pink slime" for FUD reasons, without measurably improving the quality, taste, healthiness, or truthfulness of my burgers.)
I would assert there is less difference between sirloin and skirt steak than there is between ground beef and LFTB.
It’s illegal to claim that skirt steak is sirloin. Why should it be legal to call LFTB ground beef?
The alternative is we just throw it away and raise more cows, using far more resources.
Did our other close relatives use the centrifugal thingie while processing the meat from animals they raised and killed?
In which case, what's the problem simply labelling meat that has been through this complex mechanical and chemical process? Let consumers choose from a position of awareness. Allowing it to all be labelled the same as meat that has simply been through a mincer is industry burying it for easier profit.
Thankfully the EU chose to ban these ammonia treated processed products, though industry is working quite hard to find loopholes to sell us a product we won't buy knowingly.
I'm slightly entertained to learn that what the USDA defines as "lean" at 22.5% is higher fat than the cheap higher fat mince (20%) in UK supermarkets. Lean here would normally be 10 or sometimes even 5%.
Fully agree the antibiotic abuse needs to be resolved though.
> We really need to be talking about the use of antibiotics as a growth promoter
I don't have fully formed views on this so I'm curious...
Are your concerns about antibiotics based on a fear of reduced effectiveness of human medicines? A cursory search makes it look like significant chunk of animal antibiotics are ionophores, which are entirely different from what's used in human medicine... maybe you have a different concern?
Are you ok with ionophores? Or if not, how do you propose limiting the impact of coccidiosis, which seems widely prevalent in poultry and leads to massive gut damage and animal suffering if not treated prophylactically?
Your point on 'pink slime' seems to be that once you dig beyond the headlines, food regulation and safety issues are far more complicated than the bumper stickers.
Not so with animal antibiotics? Or is your concern with those similarly more nuanced than most of the popular complaints?
Yes. Over 60% of the antibiotics given to livestock are medically important to humans. There's clear evidence that this is translating into increased antibiotic-resistant infections in both livestock and humans. The FDA have implemented the Veterinary Feed Directive, but these regulations are light-touch compared to the EU and have some fairly glaring loopholes.
There's a legitimate debate about the use of ionophores, but medically important antibiotics are all too often used as a sticking-plaster to ameliorate the effects of poor animal husbandry. If you're keeping huge numbers of animals in cramped and unsanitary conditions, you should really fix that issue before you start routinely dumping lincomycin or penicillin into feed. The use of medically important antibiotics purely for the purposes of growth promotion is both widespread and unjustifiable.
The problem is inarguably worse in the developing world (particularly Asia) but the US should really be a leader rather than a follower on this issue. The WHO have issued clear guidelines on preventing antibiotic resistance in agriculture, but the FDA have been dragging their heels on actually implementing those guidelines in an effective manner.
Other countries (particularly the EU) have implemented relatively strict controls with no real impact on animal welfare and fairly marginal economic impact. Even if you doubt the strength of the evidence, the risk/reward calculus strongly points towards heavy restrictions on the use of medically important antibiotics in livestock; slightly cheaper meat is a pretty poor upside compared to the risk of an antibiotic-resistant epidemic.
While, personally, I feel that lean meats are wholly unnatural and fattier cuts/grounds should be preferred, I'm not sure there's a lot to get worked up about. The low-fat, low-cholesterol, low-salt diet trends are probably the single worst trends to happen to american health. The issues around antibiotics are also huge.
For the most part, people are far better off avoiding refined sugars, grains and refined vegetable oils. If most people did that, without any other measures taken, things would be a lot better. Not eating processed meat in general not withstanding.
(1) buy a meat grinder, or
(2) go to a butcher (often even a grocery store butcher) that lets you select a cut and have it ground.
That's true even without the slime issue, because “ground beef” isn't coming from “nice cuts” with Abby particular consistency.
I've personally largely switched to veggie ingredients for Lasagne and Moussaka. That was for taste reasons too but the health benefits are a nice bonus ;)
I eat a healthy and well balanced diet and I honestly don't understand that way of thinking from my fellow carnivores.
If you're picky about what's in your ground beef, find a butcher you trust, or grind your own.
The factor that dominates our conversations about food - social class. We have a set of reflexive attitudes about food that are largely uncorrelated with health, nutrition or the environment, but are strongly correlated with the social class of who eats what.
Advanced meat recovery is the ultimate in nose-to-tail eating, allowing us to make use of almost every gram of edible meat on a carcass. If we're going to keep eating meat, we should celebrate advanced meat recovery in the same way that foodies celebrate unfashionable cuts or offal meat. We don't, because recovered meat is cheap and therefore has negative signalling value. The kind of people who buy grass-fed organic beef would never dream of knowingly eating "pink slime" or mechanically separated chicken, despite the obvious environmental and animal welfare case for eating perfectly good meat that would otherwise go to waste.
Lean finely textured beef is no less nutritious than any other kind of lean beef, because it is lean beef. There are possibly legitimate safety concerns about the use of ammonium hydroxide in the processing of lean finely textured beef, but it's widely used elsewhere in the US food industry and readily substituted by citric acid in this application. If you're concerned about health, then argue about ammonium hydroxide, not about modern techniques to get more meat from every carcass.
(Full disclosure: I am a vegetarian for environmental reasons)
It's connective tissue, with a bit of lean beef mixed in. This has a different nutritional profile. There is less iron, and the amino acid proportions are different.
We could call it "pureed tendons, ligaments, defatted fat tissue, cartilage, lean beef, and ammonia or citric acid". That is a long and unwieldy name. The common name, known to consumers, is pink slime.
So rather than give it a name which is deliberately off-putting it's probably better to give it something vaguely neutral and otherwise let it stand on its own merits, whatever they may be.
The name "pink slime" isn't from ABC. It's from an FDA employee who got to examine the stuff.
I wish this point was brought up more in nutrition discussions. Most of these recent fad diets like keto, paleo, and carnivore are beyond the means of most people in the world. So even if we accept, for the sake of argument (which I don't), that they have nutritional advantages there should be a giant asterisk at the end of the argument.
All kinds of non-diet fads come and go too, even bellbottoms made a couple of comebacks in the decades since the late 60s.
Keto (i.e. any diet that triggers ketones) is a compelling option for numerous reasons, not just epileptics. It’s definitely not a good default for the wider population. And it is of course environmentally and economically inefficient. But ketogenisis is a reality of our biochemistry and shouldn’t be dismissed in the same way as other diets.
Dietary science is at its infancy. Contrary to what most people would assume, we have mountains of anecdotes, mountains of opinions, and very few hard facts. Navigating diet from a fact-first, science-first perspective is deeply frustrating.
it's absolutely a diet that can work for anybody, it does require a fair amount of reading though.
that fad lasted for 50 years, taking that into account it's probably too early to call keto a fad - i barely meet people who even know about it, let alone practice rigorously for any prolonged amount of time.
Please consider that using the whole animal is a different thing to labeling the resulting product however they want.
Classism in food is absolutely endemic. A slightly facile but still important example is this paper from the BMJ in 2012. It analysed the nutritional content of 100 supermarket packaged meals and 100 recipes by popular British TV chefs. It found that the ready-made meals contained significantly fewer calories, less fat and more fibre than the recipes. We judge people for living on a diet of microwaveable meals, but switching to home-cooked meals might actually be a retrograde step in terms of nutrition if they follow the recipes of Jamie Oliver or Nigella Lawson.
Something feels intuitively wrong about that conclusion; that feeling is implicit classism.
Except you're flipping the burden of proof. Food product experiments aren't default-safe until proven otherwise.
Class is a red-herring. Wealthy people eat pesticide-free, grass-fed, organic, bpa-free, healthier, or low-preservative fresh food not to signal, but because they are risk-averse.
All food labels should contain exact information on what the product is in these respects, next to the ingredients and nutrition information.
I expect this, but I've been disappointed at how we are doing so far as a society.
Nor do I understand the classism argument - cooking food from raw is enormously cheaper. Maybe it's different in America, but in the UK £10 worth of ready meals will feed you for a few meals, while £10 worth of judiciously selected ingredients will feed you for a week.
We know that many species of fish contain potentially toxic levels of mercury. The FDA advises pregnant and nursing mothers to avoid those species of fish to minimise the risk of brain damage to their child. Why is there no stigma about eating swordfish or marlin? Why does a plump, juicy, expensive fillet of bigeye tuna seem intuitively more healthy than a Filet O' Fish, when only the former contains hazardous levels of heavy metals?
While living in poverty, I knew that more expensive meat was better tasting, and better for me. The pink-slime level of meat products I could sometimes afford caused unpleasant GI symptoms which unprocessed meat didn't. I learned to avoid the cheap meat products and experienced intermittent anemia instead. Even the raw ingredients of pink slime, like tendons and cartilage, cost an order of magnitude more than pink slime products, so I went without.
Lack of access to a minimally adequate variety of affordable nutrition is a class problem.
Pink slime contains connective tissue and muscle. There's no way it's equivalent in terms of nutritional value to actual meat. And don't forget it's treated with ammonia, which is the reason it's banned in the first world.
In the search for efficiency, the market for X bifurcates into two extremes: the cheapest thing that can be called X, and the boutique specialist X.
If you live in a poor to middling area, the chances are you only have the cheapest X available to you. Never mind about boutique X being more expensive - it's probably in a completely different part of town. If you have a car, you might be able to make a trip to where they have boutique X - but you might not even have time. (I know that's the biggest limitation on me visiting a butcher - it needs to be something really special.)
If the cheapest X that can be called X has its quality bar raised, then industry can focus on meeting that bar efficiently. And if you lower the bar, then everyone who's making something slightly higher quality will start losing business, until everything is shit.
This applies not just to beef, but bread, restaurants, clothes, consumer goods, etc.
The effect is especially pernicious in areas where branding isn't prevalent. It's for reasons like this that AOC/DOP/PDO etc. exist in Europe, for example - otherwise you'd get random cheese factories trying to sell their wax shavings as Parmesan.
IMO it would be fine to sell "pink slime" as a separate category of meat product, just not as ground beef. I grew up poor - at times, we were vegetarian not by choice, but because meat was too expensive. We never fell back to cheap hamburgers of dubious origin and low meat %. That's why this act removes poor people's choice.
Or you could not allow meat scraps to be called ground beef and trust all ground beef that you buy.
For context this meat wasn’t waste it was used for other products. But by allowing it to be called ground beef it is now more valuable.
It was used for other products, like ground beef.
Except for the part where the kids totally no sell his smug act and he just stands there dumbstruck. Those chicken trimmings are... chicken. Human history is the history of us figuring out how to extract more edible bits from the animal than our jaws can along (that's how we got soup, among a lot of other things). The idea that we should only eat the most presentable primal cuts of the animal is bizarre and weird to me.
In any event, according to web sleuthing typical chicken patties/nuggets are not made from mechanically separated chicken, which instead mostly goes into bologna, hot dogs, and the like.
What makes it not OK?
This puree includes bone, bone marrow, skin, nerves, blood vessels, and the scraps of meat remaining on the bones. The resulting product is a blend primarily consisting of tissues not generally considered meat along with a much smaller amount of actual meat (muscle tissue).
Of course the final product depends on how it’s processed. A lot of the time the stuff is centrifuged to remove fat, in which case it’s used as filler. If you’ve ever eaten a cheap chicken nugget and tasted something off, that’s what it is. So nutrition aside it’s disgusting, and is generally only found in heavily processed foods with a ton of salt and sugar in them; nothing less will make it palatable.
You’re never going to find the stuff in any food that isn’t terrible for you. If you have concerns about prion diseases like BSE then it’s also a concern, since the processing is unlikely to destroy prions.
It’s the same product, it’s just processed more, but it’s taken off the carcass the same way, and you still get to enjoy that lovely spinal cord. Colloquially the full fat product is “white slime” and the centrifuged and ammoniated product is “pink slime”.
On the contrary, "pink slime", or lean finely textured beef, is made from the scraps and leftovers of (non-mechanically separated) beef, and is put into ground beef for humans.
That exact link you posted states:
> USDA regulations for procurement of frozen fresh ground beef products state that "Beef that is mechanically separated from bone with automatic deboning systems, advanced lean (meat) recovery (AMR) systems or powered knives, will not be allowed".
Mechanically separated meat is NOT the same thing as "pink slime", and the specific reasons that MSM is not allowed for humans (danger of mad cow disease) does not apply to "pink slime".
BPI uses AMR to recover the scraps. You can now call it ground beef. That's what we're all talking about it. That's what the article is about.
No, that's not what we're all talking about. From the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_meat_recovery article that you posted:
> Although some sources claim AMR systems use ammonia (or anhydrous ammonia, ammonia hydroxide, etc.) to treat the meat, this appears to be due to confusion between AMR and the production of lean finely textured beef (LFTB, commonly referred to as pink slime). LFTB is in fact treated with ammonia, and so is substantially more restricted than most AMR products.
>As cattle carcasses are turned into steaks at a processing plant, knife-wielding workers cut fatty edges off the meat. These carcass cuttings, or “trim”—about 1/3 of each animal’s weight —contain small portions of edible meat, which can be used to make ground beef.
Furthermore, all AMR-processed product from cattle more than 30 months old now is prohibited from being used for food, and such product from younger cattle and from other livestock species also is prohibited if it contains CNS material.
Is there something inherently wrong with eating any of this stuff?
People eat heart, liver, kidney. I can’t see how bone and skin, or blood vessels could be bad for you.
But I wouldn't know exactly where these nerve fibres are located and if they're completely removed from regular cuts of meat.
Another question is: do the prions accumulate and remain in the main body (soma) of the nerve cell, or do the prions diffuse throughout the axons and dendrites of the nerve cells.
If prions remain within the soma, then removing nerve ganglia from products intended for human consumption or animal feed would, one supposes, limit the spread of prions.
I should be able to shop at a normal grocery store and know what I'm purchasing, regardless of wealth or education level.
We generalise a large part of your understanding of the world down to words. When someone (in this case UDSA) redefines ground beef to mean something else that you find icky, of yourself you are upset.
I do think this is a problem since redefining foodstuffs will eventually lead to people distrusting the whole industry.
Ground beef should be parts of beef that have been ground down. Not slabs of defatted chemically treated leftovers. It is a redefinition of a phrase that is directly misleading to customers.
I am all for eating everything from dead animals, if we are to continue eating them. People are fricking squeamish.
A lot of people lack the education to know that many more lack the time, energy and money to make it work. I guess the answer why this should upset you is that it shouldn’t, unless you’re troubled by empathy as many of us are.
Concerns were raised again when the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) epidemic, commonly known as "mad cow disease", occurred in the United Kingdom in 1986. Since bits of the spinal cord (the part most likely to be carrying the BSE prion) often got mixed in with the rest of the meat, products using mechanically separated meat taken from the carcasses of bovines were at higher risk for transmitting BSE to humans.
Given how resilient prions are I’d be pretty damned wary of eating purées of nerve tissue.
So I'm guessing that means the "pink slime" this article is talking about is something else?
Mechanically separated meat is not allowed for human consumption specifically because of the danger of potential-prion-containing nerve tissue entering the product. Importantly, these prions are extremely difficult to deactivate, and thus it wouldn't make sense to allow this to be served to humans, no matter what further processing happened.
Here is a link from snopes that clarifies the difference: https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/legal-separation/
> A meat product known as “boneless lean beef trimmings” (BLBT) or “lean finely textured beef,” pejoratively referred to as “pink slime,” is often confused with mechanically separated meat, although it is produced by a different process. In order to extract pricer lean beef from less valuable, fattier trimmings, centrifuges are used to separate the fat out of the meat trimmings, and the resulting lean beef is then squeezed through small tubes, where it is exposed to a small amount of ammonia gas, producing a pinkish substance. Unlike MSM, lean beef trimmings are legal for sale in the U.S., although they are mixed in with other meat products (usually ground beef) and generally do not comprise more than 25 percent of the final meat products purchased by end consumers.
The article says that pink slime is instead made from beef trimmings, which does not involve that grinding process.
> The meat produced in this manner can contain no more than 150(±30) milligrams of calcium per 200 grams product, as calcium in such high concentrations in the product would be indicative of bone being mixed with the meat. Products that exceed the calcium content limit must instead be labeled "mechanically separated beef or pork" in the ingredients statement.
Woah... that seems like a huge deal to me
Also, Salmonella has a tendency to grow in ground production areas and is a concern as well. The fact of the matter is, ammonia disinfection is a tool to combat these threats, and is useful even in instances where proper food handling practices are observed. After all, if ground beef is prepared correctly by the consumer (i.e. cooked to 160F, not cross-contaminated), then it's a moot point anyway. But we still do all of this as a precaution to protect people. And because it's the law.
Do you have any solid data or can you cite any analysis of per-capita STEC infections, categorized by infection vector, for the US and EU?
Also, steak tartare is made of steak, not trim. I'm not convinced that it makes for a valid comparison.
Yeah, god forbid food standards agencies get picky themselves about what's in our food, or at least reserve the traditional names of meats for non traditionally produced / sourced foodstuff.
However you can't just ground pure trimmings as that wouldn't be particularly nice to eat, you need some good meat in there as well. The 'pink slime' described here seems to be some process that separates out additional fat using centrifuges in order to make something that fits the official standards for ground beef without the need to add any good meat. It's highly debatable meat that's been that extensively processed should still be considered ground meat.
If anyone wants to buy pink slime, go for it, but I should at least be able to know what I'm buying. This is fraud, and it's aided by the government.
The problem is not that it shouldn't be allowed -- it just shouldn't pretend to be something it's not.
I literally did not know that the pre-packaged ground meat is different from the ground meat you get at the butcher.
In the UK, I don't think we have the equivalent of this pink slime, or at least I've never heard of it.
Ground beef in the UK is generally labelled as "beef mince" or "steak mince", where "steak mince" is minced beef produced by mincing whole cuts (such as flank), and "beef mince" can also contain minced trimmings, and generally has a higher fat content.
I have no problem buying either of these. Indeed, sometimes you want a higher fat content, such as when making burgers.
Thr pink slime in the article seems to be something inbetween MRM and trimmings, and I would have a problem with buying it.
I can see why they want the 'low pressure' stuff to be differentiated, but it still needs to be indentified in some way on the ingredients list.
In the human body, ammonia is a lot like alcohol and carbon dioxide: it is a poison that we are well-equipped to remove.
Well, sort of. Just as people with lung trouble have problems removing carbon dioxide, people with kidney trouble have problems removing ammonia. What about people with kidney trouble? Perhaps they deserve a warning label.
So no, please, let's not start slapping ammonia warnings on all of our food.
So someone can upsell you on ground beef "With No Pink Slime"!
But how about this? Maybe people wouldn’t eat so much meat if they were more aware of the process behind it? And maybe, given how detrimental meat production had been to the environment, that wouldn’t be a bad thing.
So, rather than protecting people by hiding the truth behind the processes that are behind the food they eat, we should be more transparent.
If that means we go back to small farms, local butcheries — something people have been comfortable with for centuries — it would of course raise the cost of meat. But If we hope to address climate change, that absolutely needs to happen.
I agree, but in order to be transparent the ingredients and processes would need to be disclosed (ideally on the packaging) and this news seems a step further in the opposite direction.
Lean finely textured beef (what is called "pink slime" in the main article) is NOT the same thing, nor it is a further refinement, of mechanically separated meat. Mechanically separated beef, which increases dangers of "mad cow disease" because it can cause neural tissue to be included in the final product, is not allowed for human consumption in the US.
Many state and county fairs include a livestock show. Often the exhibited animals are auctioned off at the end of the show. The animals are raised and exhibited by youth (4H, FFA, etc). The proceeds go to the (child) owner of the animal.
At our county fair, bidding starts at about $3/# on the hoof. They generally weigh between 1100# and 1500#. Butchers present at the auction take your order on exactly how you want it cut. The seller will show up on your doorstep with it cut, wrapped, and frozen. No charge beyond the bid price. Seller takes care of everything. Cost above market price is tax deductible.
Some of the best beef money can buy. Can help fund college. Swine, lamb, goat, etc might also be available at a show near you. If a whole beef is too much, go in with a group. A group of 4 can end up with 100+# each for less than $1000 a piece.
If this doesn't describe a livestock show near you, shop around. If none of this sounds like your cup of tea, forget I said anything.
The bones used to be soaked for hours to get all the goodness out of them and make stock. I dont know if this is much different from the reclaimed meat - apart from the ammonia I suppose. Even now I make stock regularly and get all the yummy left over bits in the pot.
$4/# on the hoof gets you $9.60/# hamburger. And $9.60/# ribeye.
The story took on a life of its own, though. This image became synonymous with "pink slime" (and still appears in a Google image search for the term) even though nobody knows where the image came from. Didn't stop The Young Turks (among others) from associating it with McDonalds, though.
I'd say this "beef" is fake meat -- whether some court agrees or not (that depends on who has the best lawyers and deeper pockets, not on who has the best food).
I'd be OK with companies being allowed to sell all kinds of crap as foodstuff, if they didn't highjack on existing food labels as it's the regular beef people know to fool consumers and paint a picture.
Clearly, when a normal person says "real" or "natural" or "doesn't have chemicals", they mean foods that are (1) made only with ingredients or processes endogenous to living organisms without human intervention or (2) when harvested industrially, the harvest is only mechanical. This seems reasonable to me!
That's why it's okay to eat beef that someone used a machine to separate, but it's not okay to eat beef treated with ammonia. Nothing in nature produces food by treating in with ammonia!
This is reminiscent of the MSG scare. It was never about MSG as an underlying ingredient or racism (everyone loves Chinese food). As Wikipedia says, it's been a component of flavors "as early as 5,500 BCE." What changed is that it was manufactured industrially with "hydrolysis of vegetable proteins with hydrochloric acid to disrupt peptide bonds (1909–1962); direct chemical synthesis with acrylonitrile (1962–1973), and bacterial fermentation (the current method)." Its acceptance and rejection over time follows pretty much precisely how non-endogenous-to-nature the manufacturing process is.
I'm not making a value judgement if non-endogenous-to-nature foods are good or bad. I'm just saying I agree with you, and that it's actually really clear and easy to define scientifically what people mean when they say "natural" versus "fake."
It's just that science pedants are really stubborn. They parrot their "dihydrogen monoxide" and "chemicals" jokes and they don't really get that there's a long history of industrial, non-endogenous-to-nature manufacturing betraying consumers with nasty side effects, pollution and disease. It's really unempathetic to people and it's not good for real scientific goals, like reducing our impact on the environment and improving trust in science.
We are the only thing in nature that "produces" food - every other species photosynthesises, hunts or grazes. We're the only species that can cook. Is cooking unnatural?
>made only with ingredients or processes endogenous to living organisms without human intervention
Where do you draw the line? Is wheat flour "unnatural" because we winnow off the chaff and grind the grains? Does a chicken leg become "unnatural" if you pluck it and skin it? Does milk become unnatural if you churn it into butter? Does butter become unnatural if you clarify it into ghee?
The whole distinction between "natural" and "unnatural" is meaningless in any practical sense. Either everything we do is "natural" because we're animals, or everything that we do that apes can't is "unnatural". Either only a raw food diet is natural, or everything is natural. There's no logical distinction between the complex chemistry we perform in our kitchens every day and the complex chemistry that occurs in industrial food production, just a vague squeamishness.
Most of your examples just involve preparation, which would not make it unnatural.
What about fermentation? The production of cheese or bread produces all sorts of chemicals that don't naturally occur in milk or wheat - are those chemicals "natural"? Does your opinion change if I told you that most monosodium glutamate is produced through industrial fermentation?
We should test foods to the best of our ability to make sure they are safe, but I don't think there should be many restrictions otherwise.
(More when the breast is inflamed, which can affect willingness to suckle, indicating there are levels which affect at least palatability)
This isn't Science of Cooking. When you make food in your kitchen, you don't add ammonia to your foods. That's not vague squeamishness. People don't wash their vegetables in a chlorine bath. When they want to ripen their fruit, they put them in a closed container; they don't gas the fruit with a synthetically-derived hormone.
Even if these things are reconstructed exactly by an industrial process, you're not conceding that our definition of equality is enumerative. And funny enough, the reason poisons enter our food supply is that we say, "Well three ways these processes are equivalent are enough ways." "This complies with the regulation, so it must be safe." "We paid an auditor, who checked these boxes." Which in my opinion is the dumbest form of thinking of all. Sometimes, the slow and shitty way, for some intrinsic reason, doesn't harm you!
Obviously nobody is calling cooking unnatural, but if you see things so reductively, so pedantically, you're going to look back at the backflips you were writing years ago and really wonder how you missed the mark there.
Listen, I obviously didn't know that ammonia bicarbonate was used as a leavening agent for centuries, or that it was made from deer horns, or whatever. :)
Obviously, I also imagined that when a news article says they use ammonia on the beef, they mean ammonia gas (NH3). I don't fault anyone for thinking that either, like gentle John Oliver. Isn't that what they're saying?
I guess those are two different things, ammonia bicarbonate (the leavening agent) and ammonia gas (the thing they do with deer horns), and ammonia in fish (which is something complicated), or brie or something.
Again, I don't know if they're using ammonia gas on the beef trimmings, but assuming that they are, then you've managed to conflate two different chemicals, which is the exact thing you were passionately trying to avoid.
It really speaks to my point that these things are really difficult to communicate about, and full of traps, so forgive me for the audacity. It's not ignorance and bliss, there are a tremendous amount of people who can talk to each other about the line between cooking and industrial process in intuitive ways that are not at all poorly informed. Maybe not me personally.
No, they are the same chemical for the purposes of this discussion. Any form of ammonia you eat -- whether ammonium bicarbonate or ammonium sulfate in bread, or ammonia residues in meat -- will be found as ammonium hydroxide in your blood. It's the same stuff. And the consequences of that extra ammonia in your body are precisely nothing. A ten ounce serving of pure pink slime (you know you want it) might give you a whopping hundred milligram boost of ammonia. That's 10 to 20 times less ammonia (nitrogen equivalent) than a typical adult pisses out every day.
My numbers in that comment are a bit off. I looked up my last blood test, and my UUN number was close to 20 g/day. This means that every day my body is producing two hundred times more ammonia than what you'd get eating a big pile of pink slime.
I'm taking pains in this thread to point out that I'm vegetarian, and even aside from that, I'd rather eat out of the trash than make LFTB a regular part of my diet. But that's not because of some imaginary risk from trace ammonia.
(I’ve got a kid that already avoids hard cheeses because it upsets him and bread for celiac reasons, so...).
Even at higher levels than those allowed in food, I've seen no evidence that ammonia has any intraluminal effects beyond smooth muscle hypertonia. So even if your child somehow ingested more significant amounts of ammonia, for example from cleaning products, the worst symptoms will be some cramping. Note that I'm not talking about ingestion of concentrated ammonia, which is a corrosive hazard.
Think of it this way: if your child really was affected by dietary ammonia, you'd have to avoid a lot more than hard cheese. Foods containing more ammonia than pink slime include nearly all cheeses, cured meats, peanut butter, onions, mayonnaise, and others. If ammonia really was a problem then we'd all be pretty screwed.
Chiding someone for trying to be scientific as being pedantic and then complaining that it's so hard to communicate is really a contradiction of needs. I wish there was a middle ground , but to me OP wasn't even being all that geeky scientific or pedantic. He was stating fairly basic facts. Maybe a more gentle exposition is needed?
I'd suggest Googling "Dr Sarah Taber", she has some great twitter feeds and a podcast on the food industry, very eye opening stuff.
Well, there goes cooked food.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
I wouldn't call "almonds steeped in water and filtered with vitamins added" "almond milk" either.
Except people generally were rightfully surprised to learn the basic product they thought they understood contained some modern industrial cost-saving additive.
If that's not news, I don't know what is.
> defamation settlement
There's no evidence ABC were acting with malice or their story was untrue. A settlement just means they wanted out of the argument.
Some foods breakdown into ammonia so our bodies can handle it but constant higher levels can cause illness as it overwhelms the body.
> but constant higher levels can cause illness as it overwhelms the body.
Note that this has nothing to do with the tiny residual levels of ammonia in bread, cheese (both cheap and expensive), and meat products of all kinds. Your body produces and excretes an order of magnitude more ammonia than what you eat directly from food, and will easily do far more than that if you're athletic or eat a lot of extra protein.
Throwing in more ammonia will cause more stress on these pathways. Bodies can only handle so much we try to counteract these with things to detoxify like rest, exercise, other foods, etc.
Eat pink slime through your 20s might be okay the older you get the less your body will be able to handle pink slime for breakfast.
Ammonia is your body's way of getting rid of nitrogen, which comes from dietary protein. In general, an adult's body must dispose of as much nitrogen as they consume. This makes sense if you think about it, because humans don't grow forever. You may gain or lose lean mass for periods of time, but in general, nitrogen excretion equals nitrogen intake. The more protein you eat, the more ammonia your body makes, and your body is designed to efficiently process and eliminate large amounts of ammonia, mostly via conversion to urea and renal filtering.
So think about this logically for a moment. Think about how much protein you eat every day. In effect, all of the nitrogen in that protein (an equal amount of nitrogen, rather) is converted to ammonia inside your body. You'll see exactly how much whenever you have your blood tested, in your UUN (Urine Urea Nitrogen) number. My last UUN was about 20 g/day. Healthy athletes commonly excrete up to 40 or 50 grams of nitrogen per day, which means their bodies can safely produce upward of 50 grams of ammonia every day (molar mass ratio of nitrogen to ammonia is about 0.82).
This is perfectly normal and sustainable for your entire life. Renal efficiency declines slowly after middle age, but reasonably high-protein diets are harmless and in many ways beneficial even for elderly people.
Does this make sense? You're worried about eating, say, a hundred milligrams of extra ammonia in your food, while your body is naturally and safely producing hundreds of times more than that every day. Do you see how silly that sounds?
As I pointed out in another comment, I'm a vegetarian, and I reflexively consider LFTB to be approximately equivalent to roadkill. I think there are legitimate risks in mislabeling LFTB, but the trace ammonia content is not one of them.
The trace amounts you speak of are the maximum amounts before the taste starts to change.
Not exactly. As I said earlier, renal function degrades slowly in old age. But that has no bearing on the pink slime issue, because normal nitrogen clearance capacity is orders of magnitude greater than dietary ammonia consumption, even in the elderly.
> While an athlete may be able to handle additional pink meat I would question why a high performing athlete would.
No, nitrogen clearance has nothing to do with athleticism or fitness level. All healthy adults can handle high protein diets. Old, young, fit or not; if you don't have impaired renal function or some kind of genetic metabolic disorder, your body can and does safely process hundreds or thousands of times more ammonia than what you eat in your food.
> The trace amounts you speak of are the maximum amounts before the taste starts to change.
No, those are food safety limits set by the FDA. [EDIT: nope, actually those are just some random tested ammonia levels. As a GRAS additive, the FDA actually doesn't directly limit ammonia content of foods or cosmetics. That's how safe it is.]
Look, I'm not telling you to eat pink slime. I certainly won't eat it. But it appears that your opinions are fixed in defiance of logic or evidence. I really think you'd be better off with some more basic knowledge, and maybe a little more willingness to learn.
Each message you try to put down the other person to change the discussion into a personality based discussion.
Personal attacks are a sign of weakness in your
position. Using personality doesn't make your position stronger. You'll labeled yourself as an open minded non-meat eating person educated in FDA testing and human anatomy. That's a great profile but let's get back to the facts.
You are arguing that ammonia in food at any level is okay and wouldn't put additional stress on the detoxification process because the fda doesn't test for this?
The FDA does test this in 1974. Ammonium hydroxide has been tested. They have deemed it safe at normal food levels because it is part of the normal human process. That position while technically correct doesn't take into account all of the other stresses including age as factors that slow down these processes. What do you think would happen if you went on a 30 day pink meat challenge?
Try reading this out loud, see if it helps: every human body is an ammonia factory, and easily handles thousands of times more ammonia than what is present in foods. The amounts of ammonia found in foods is completely insignificant compared to the ammonia your body naturally produces. If you have a condition that impairs your ability to excrete nitrogen, the only way to lower your blood ammonia level (and urea) is to EAT LESS PROTEIN. Avoiding ammonia has no significant effect. Read all that again to help get it into your brain. And if you don't believe me, just look it up. This isn't difficult stuff; it's basic, basic physiology.
Just for fun, and at the risk of repeating myself:
> You are making the case that eating pink slime and consuming ammonia is safe and a welcome thing because the FDA doesn't test for ammonia in food.
No, not because the FDA says so. Rather, I've explained some basic physiology to you, and provided numbers showing that dietary ammonia has an insignificant effect on the human body. Your body produces hundreds or thousands of times more ammonia than you eat from scary pink slime, every day. You don't have to take my word for it. Go read about it. You'll probably enjoy it.
> You are also saying that our ability to detoxify doesn't change with age or fitness level.
That's half correct. Renal function declines very slowly after middle age in healthy people. I've seen no evidence that hepatic urea production declines with age, nor have I seen evidence that fitness level affects nitrogen conversion or clearance. If you have any evidence to support your opinions, I'd love to see it.
> You are arguing that ammonia in food at any level is okay and wouldn't put additional stress on the detoxification process because the fda doesn't test for this?
No, see my answer above. Or just re-read my earlier comments. The FDA's testing is incidental.
> That position while technically correct doesn't take into account all of the other stresses including age as factors that slow down these processes.
No, age is accounted for investigations of this stuff, because age is part of the standard formula for eGFR, which is a measure of renal efficiency. But that doesn't matter, because if there are any "factors" that impair your ability to excrete nitrogen, then the only thing that will help is to lower your protein consumption, which is where the vast majority of the nitrogen comes from. Any ammonia in food will not have a significant effect.
> What do you think would happen if you went on a 30 day pink meat challenge?
You mean pink slime? Well, try running the numbers! I've given you all the information you need to find the data and work with it, but I'll make it super easy for you. Let's use these assumptions:
1. Let's say you eat a big 10 ounce patty of pink slime every day.
2. Let's say that pink slime contains 400 ppm ammonia, which is at the high end of tested values.
3. Let's use a dietary nitrogen content conversion factor of 16%, which is the standard for meat protein. If you need more info, go read about "Jones factors". It's easy stuff!
Now, you'll need to figure out both the total ammonia content and the total protein content of your pink slime. The ammonia is easy, given assumption 2 above. You can look up the protein content on the internet. Here's a hint: the USDA categorizes pink slime as 18/15 lean ground beef, so you can use the nutrition data for that product in any of the USDA databases.
Convert the ammonia and the protein to equivalent nitrogen content. Use the standard 16% jones factor for the protein.
Now, you'll be able to tell me how much extra ammonia you'd get from the pink slime, versus, for example, a serving of "normal" ground beef with half as much ammonia. Give it a try.
And then, when you have thah number, reflect once again on the fact that it doesn't matter. If you need to lower the ammonia (or urea, more likely) in your blood, eating ground beef instead of pink slime will do you no good. Even if you're old and sick, the ammonia you make from ALL of the protein you eat completely overwhelms all other sources.
Seriously, give those numbers a try. Let me know how it goes.
It’s that re-shaped meat is done with meat product that is made up of a lot of outside surface (the part that has all the bacteria) now being smashed to the inside of the product where it won’t get hot enough to kill.
The inside of beef is quite clean, that’s why it’s safe to eat rare. The inside of reshaped meat isn’t safe to eat rare. But consumers don’t know the difference.
The issue is if you THINK you have a nice solid real steak with clean insides, but ACTUALLY have a few steak pieces glued together with ground meat purée.
You can’t tell by looking at it. Probably doesn’t taste any different. And the customer is never informed.
IMO, calling it ground beef is very misleading unless you are farmiliar with the processes used.
I think using "pink slime" as an aditive for ground beef should be fine as long as it is disclosed by the seller. Actually calling it "ground beef" is a step too far, though.
Next we'll start calling pizza a vegetable.
Source: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/documents/meat-... (look on page 26)
After all, they don't start with a "let's not divert from regular wholesome food" as a mission statement. So why not allow all kinds of crap as food, as long as they are barely edible and with no obvious side effects?
Worked fine since the 50s in the US, and the quality of the food the average american eats (and their health) keeps improving... /s
I didn't know people bought pre-ground beef until moving out of my parents' home. Growing up, whenever we went shopping, my mother would start at the meat department, pick out a cheap steak, and ask the butcher to grind it up. We'd return for it later before heading to the cashier. I thought this was the standard operating procedure, as well as eating home-cooked hamburgers bloody rare.
I can't speak for the US, so maybe it is different, but here in the UK even the cheapest steak will set you back far more per kilo than minced beef.
There are often steaks for sale on the refrigerated shelves adjacent to the butcher counter/case. Maybe that's not so common in the UK? The supermarkets here regularly have meat wrapped in clear plastic and carrying bright orange stickers on clearance, it's what happens to the case-resident stuff when new stock arrives.
My mother would familiarize herself with the schedule of deliveries at the stores she frequented. She knew when and where she could get the freshest stuff for special occasions, as well as when things went on sale to make room for the new meat, keeping our freeezer full of staples.
I don't think it requires wealth so much as it requires some care and effort. These are the kinds of duties a traditional housewife would take on, but I don't personally find it particularly difficult to chat up the butcher and do more or less the same thing as a bachelor.