Wednesday, November 14, 2007


I learned something new in the Pioneer Press today. For those of you familiar with that rag, you may now slowly get off the floor.

Turns out that much of the meat available through the regular routes, like ah, grocery stores or SuperTarget, has been treated with carbon monoxide in order to make the flesh stay all squeaky pink long after it should start getting funky and gray. You know, sort of gross-looking, nature's way of saying: "Stop! Don't eat me, I'm rotten."

This trick started five years ago when the FDA deemed the practice "generally recognized as safe" or GRAS, a regulatory category. The carbon monoxide binds a muscle protein in the meat, making it forever, permanently pink.

Without the carbon monoxide, meat starts out purplish-red (right after the animal's tortuous life and death), turns pink after some magical interaction with air and as it rots, brown. Highly inconvenient when you're trying to sell something right up to its expiration date.

GRAS, hmmm.

Or maybe Merrick can just suck on an Elmo.


stephanie said...

I have tried to become vegetarian slowly with vegan being an Ideal goal but it is not easy. I am justing giving into the fact that if we/I do eat meat it has to be local-grainfed and all of that. I don't think it is a left view but a common sense view that we should all buy more locally for all the obvious reasons and support local farms. harper sings "old macdonald had a factory farm" too funny. Target is just a flipflopper and what they think is the right thing to do.

Jeanne said...

OMG! That guy looks like the guy I buy my eyeglasses from at IWARE! How great is that! This story is so scary, and yet another reason not to shop at big box stores. Direct from the Farmer, direct from the Farmer. Mary, if I didn't have your blog, I would know nothing about the world at large.

Mary said...

I read Fast Food Nation and then saw the movie. The movie takes great creative latitude, imagining the lives of illegal immigrants who work in the slaughter houses and at fast food places -- and by imagining, I mean the movie is about these people. The last thirty minutes of that movie was so horrible, the depth of suffering so great, that I realized I would never ever eat 'regular' meat again. No more restaurant meat, no more eating at other people's houses - only the family farm from which we buy our meat or another trusted source. Really-- I can't. The movie made that much of an impression. And, we buy every ounce of meat we eat from Mississippi Market or Otis Family Farm. Bob Otis owns the farm and once and names all of his livestock, who roam the farm until (yes, still) he slaughters them. So there's still killing but there's also life given first and life respected. VERY complicated.

stephanie said...

The book Skinny Bitch has some other in your face stuff about the treatment of livestock. I was craving a Big Mac recently for some reason and I ordered one without the meat. It was actually OK, how funny is that? It takes a real conscious effort to eat right!