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The beef with ammonia

(article, Culinate staff)

Here's the latest attempt to clean up America's meat industry at the end of the production line instead of at the beginning: ammonia-treated beef. 

As the New York Times reported recently, the technique — which supposedly killed off both salmonella and E. coli — turned out to be not as foolproof as advertised. 

And of course, treating meat just before packaging it for the store allowed producers to avoid coming up with safer and cleaner ways of raising and slaughtering cattle in the first place. 

Saddest, though, might be the fact that, while the school-lunch arm of the USDA kept finding E. coli and salmonella in ammonia-treated beef destined for schoolchildren (and, thankfully, pulling it before it reached lunch trays), the rest of the USDA continued to approve the meat for general consumption, on the assumption that chemically treated meat must be "pathogen-free":

bq. Presented by the Times with the school-lunch test results, top department officials said they were not aware of what their colleagues in the lunch program had been finding for years.