Monday, January 30, 2012

Ammonium Hydroxide Burgers

We all get them. Whether it may be early in the morning, the middle of the afternoon, or a midnight snack craving, every one of us at one point or another have more than likely received the McGurgles; a severe craving for a juicy, greasy, calorie filled burger from where else other than, you guessed it, McDonalds! Chef Jamie Oliver is a reputable and high end chef from Britain. The ratings for his shows The Naked Chef, Jamie’s Kitchen and others indicate he is becoming well-known and extremely successful. So it is of no surprise that when he discovered ammonium hydroxide inside the beef patties of nearly every McDonalds in the USA that the consumers listened to what he had to say. During one of his shows, Chef Oliver stated that some beef producers take beef “trimmings” that would normally be used in the making of dog food and once washed with the ammonium hydroxide compound enough times, it will be fit for human consumption. Sounds brilliant enough, you take one of the lowest grades of meat, add a magical ingredient, and voila! You have a meal that appears to cost what you paid for it. Now I know what you are thinking. How can ingesting ammonium hydroxide possibly be good for me?! I personally doubt that the compound grants any beneficial effects, however, the beef supplier for McDonalds in the USA, Beef Products Inc. says on their company website that most foods naturally contain ammonium hydroxide. The compound is composed of water and ammonium and is best described as pink and slimy. Beef Products Inc. stated that the compound is used to kill bacteria found in beef such as e-coli. That’s fantastic! Now we no longer need to worry about getting e-coli from beef products! I would feel fairly comfortable about this compound being in my food, similarly to how I have settled for having monosodium glutamate(MSG) in my food but the factual evidence for ammonium hydroxide according to Beef Products Inc. is a study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition dated back to 1973. Now I am not in anyway saying that the information in this journal is false, but what I am going to say is that how could something 39 years old be accurate when human beings are making new discoveries daily. Chef Oliver campaigned against the use of ammonium hydroxide and he is pressuring the U.S. Department of Agriculture to at least enforce companies to list ammonium hydroxide on the ingredient list if they will not force removal of the compound from food. Todd Bacon, who is the senior director of quality systems for McDonalds USA, said in an e-mail that food safety is a top priority for the restaurant. You mean there are restaurants; places that prepare and serve food that do not have food safety as top priority? He also says that McDonalds will no longer use the compound in their beef. Ironically enough this decision was not made due to being exploited by “The Naked Chef”, apparently McDonalds is starting to care about providing their customers with at least mediocre graded beef. This is only a concern within the states as 70% of their beef supply contains the additive. Karin Campbell, spokeswoman for McDonald’s Canada, said the additive had not been used in the burgers in Canada. McDonald’s beef in Canada comes from Cargill Beef Producers, a different company from the one used in the United States. She said the only ingredients used in their burgers are 100% beef, salt and pepper. Whether or not this problem takes priority to be resolved quickly, I would like to see more of an effort on the removal of artificial additives from our food.

John Syriani

No comments:

Post a Comment