Steak stats

More reasons to be leery of meat

December 17, 2012

Business Insider, a Silicon Valley website with an amusing amalgam of business and tabloid-celebrity reporting, recently got its knickers in a twist over meat.

Not only might grilled steak make you fat, according to a Purdue University study, but the meat industry’s “tenderizing” practices may be contaminating all meat with E. coli.

What’s the scoop? Well, the grilled-steak issue has to do with how sugars and proteins react with one another at high temperatures. It’s complicated, and similar to the problem of carcinogenic compounds forming when meat is cooked over high heat. If you’re worried, you can, of course, avoid cooking meat at grill temps.

But the meat-tenderizing issue is, well, meatier. As the Kansas City Star reported in a lengthy investigation, the U.S. meat industry — among other familiar problems, including industry concentration, excessive speed while processing, overuse of drugs and antibiotics, and lax oversight — has begun to tenderize meat mechanically, which can press E. coli and other contaminants deep into the meat. Which means that even a medium steak might not be cooked enough to kill pathogens — and you’ll fall ill, or worse.

“Big Beef, industry critics contend,” wrote the Star, “has grown too big for Big Government to lasso.”

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