Hamburger: It’s What’s For Dinner In The Feed Yard Foodie House!

I cook with hamburger at least three days a week.  It makes for a great combination because I can make it many different ways and it is priced reasonably.  The added bonus is that my girls love it which reduces the amount of “sit time” in those great padded chairs at the dining room table waiting while my favorite 1stgrader eats her dinner…

My favorite 1st grader eating "Harvest Skillet" (a hamburger casserole with vegetables)...You will notice that her daddy's plate is already clean!

I want to share with all of you the nutritional break down of the different types of hamburger that you find at the grocery store, as well as some things that cattle producers (like me) are doing to constantly improve on food safety issues related to hamburger.

Hamburger comes in many different varieties in terms of lean content, and can be either primal cut specific (only taken out of one specific type of muscle cut) or lean ratio specific (taken from a blend of muscle cuts and formulated to a certain lean/fat ratio).  The type of hamburger that is one of the 29 Cuts Of Lean Beef endorsed by the American Heart Association is a 95% lean, 5% fat ratio.  A three ounce serving of that contributes about 140 calories and offers the following nutrient profile:

Zinc = 5.8 mg (39% daily value)                                   Niacin= 4.7 mg (23% dv)
Iron= 2.6 mg (14% daily value)                                   Selenium = 19 mcg (27% dv)
Protein= 22.3 grams (46% daily value)                      Total Fat= 5.4 grams (8% dv)
Vitamin B12= 2.1 mcg (35% dv)                   Saturated Fat= 2.4 grams (12% dv)
Vitamin B6= 0.3 mg (15% daily value)                       Cholesterol= 62 mg (21% dv)
Phosphorus= 169 mg (17% daily value)                     Calories = 148 (7% dv)

Hamburger can be made from many different muscle cuts—the three primary ones are the round, the sirloin and the chuck.  It is made from both whole muscle cuts and a blend of whole muscle cuts and trimmings (trimmings are what are left over after some whole muscle cuts have been made into other steaks and roasts).  All hamburger, just like all cuts of beef, is fabricated under the supervision of the USDA and its FSIS (Food Safety Inspection Service) to ensure that the beef is safe for human consumption.

My favorite Middle School student eating another one of our favorites---Meat Loaf made from hamburger and home canned tomatoes!

The safety of the beef that I produce is of paramount importance to me.  It is feeding my children as well as yours!  Cattle producers created a group known as the Beef Industry Food Safety Council (BIFSCo) more than fifteen years ago in order to collaboratively and effectively research and promote food safety issues related to beef.  The group uses scientific advancements to create best management practices for all segments of the beef chain (from the cow/calf rancher– to the feed yard– to the meat packing plant– to the butcher/grocery store or restaurateur…) in order to reduce food borne illnesses.  In other words, they work to make beef SAFE! I had the honor of speaking at the BISFCo Annual Summit a couple of years ago to explain the practices that I employ at my feed yard to do my part in ensuring that beef is safe—it was an amazing experience, and the teamwork and innovation that I saw at the meeting made me proud to be a part of such an amazing group of people.

A group of cattlemen at a Beef Quality Assurance training learning daily best management practices to ensure their animals make safe and healthy beef!

Each year the collective beef industry spends $350 million on testing, safety interventions, and strategies to protect beef from harmful bacteria.  We work hard, at all levels of the beef production chain, to make sure that the hamburger you purchase at the grocery store is safe and healthy.  Each one of you can help us in our quest to continually improve food safety in hamburger by cooking your burger to 160 degrees before feeding it to your family!

Meat Thermometer + Hamburger = A good combination to ensure food safety!

Ironically, the 2012 BIFSCo Annual Summit was last week—the same time that sensational popular media sources inaccurately disparaged a technological advancement which both improves our ability to maximize the amount of beef that can be harvested from each bovine while also improving the safety of the additional beef that is harvested.

This advancement allows a type of beef called Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB) to be garnered.  LFTB is a great source of lean beef that can then be blended into hamburger to increase the lean ratio.  These LFTB come from the trimmings of whole cuts of beef.  They are made from the beef that remains after larger cuts are trimmed down and divided into different steaks and roasts.  This process was the “brain child” of Eldon Roth who owns and operates a small, family owned meat fabrication and distribution company.  Roth (age 65) has dedicated his life to improving food safety through research and innovation.

My favorite gymnast is fueled by hamburger that includes LFTB...Hamburger with LFTB has the same nutritional profile as 90% lean beef (see above table).

Tgarnering LFTB has been in place for many years, and the food safety process employed by Mr. Roth to ensure that harmful bacteria is not present in the meat has been used for more than 20 years in other types of food production, it has resurfaced recently in television shows and popular news media as a few individuals try to create sensational stories through inaccurate depictions.  I am going to take a couple of blog posts to describe Lean Finely Textured Beef so that you all can feel comfortable about the hamburger that you are purchasing.  I am excited to share that Dr. Russell Cross is going to take part as a “guest blogger”.  Dr. Cross, a previous Administrator for USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service, was involved in the approval of this process.  It is my desire to leave NO DOUBT in your minds that Lean Finely Textured Beef is safe and healthy to eat, and put some closure to the sensational term of Pink Slime…


Filed under General, Nutrition (cattle and human)

14 responses to “Hamburger: It’s What’s For Dinner In The Feed Yard Foodie House!

  1. Pingback: Pink Slime, For Me Please–Facts for All « Under the Crown of Agriculture

  2. Bill

    A topic torn from today’s headlines? A guest blogger? These are some firsts. They are milestones. Awesome!

    Here is red flag #1 for me. “…all segments of the beef chain “(from the cow/calf rancher– to the feed yard– to the meat packing plant– to the fabrication plant– to the butcher or restaurateur…)” A fabricator? What the heck is that? You stopped the Calf series at truck being loaded for the packing plant. Fabrication sounds… unnatural.

    Red flag #2: You’re seriously going to defend ‘Pink Slime?’ I don’t think everyone in any industry is 100% above board, even with a FSIS lording over them. (Notice that I’m using absolutes.)

    Should I contact FOX and CNN and let them know that you’d defend Pink Slime? Outside of pushing beef (which I’m ALL for), the evil me would think it is a riot to catch you on Nancy Grace or something …especially if I pulled the trigger on the effort. Hey… Your husband seems to have a mischievous streak. Maybe he can pull the trigger? I don’t want to be punched again.

    In any event Anne, I’m looking forward to this series. It sounds like I’m going to learn something.

    • Ron

      Obviously Bill is smarter than the rest of us, becasue I don’t understand 90% of what he wrote (notice I am using absolutes). Could you try to speak down to the rest of us, Bill, so I can figure out what it is you are trying to say, or is it necessary in your circle of friends to try to keep each other confused?

      • Hi Ron,

        I should let Bill defend himself, but I will help him out a bit. Bill is an old training partner of mine from our competitive swimming days. He is like an older brother to me and, as such, enjoys “stirring the pot” and seeing if he can fluster me.

        Hopefully somewhere in this process he learns a little bit about how I grow beef!

    • Hi Bill,

      A fabricator is a butcher or someone who cuts up the four quarters of beef that exist after harvest. Different packing plants have differing abilities to cut up the meat after it has been quartered. Some meat is sent directly from packing plants to grocery stores and restaurants, but some meat is sent to another facility first so that it can be cut up some more prior to going to the retail sector. I don’t know why we call it a fabricator, but we do.

      I should not have used that word without defining it. I apologize. It is one of the terms that is now part of my language and I forgot that it is not part of everyone’s! I promise that a fabricator is not evil—he is like a butcher.

      I am absolutely going to defend Lean Beef Trimmings–they are a great product that allows us to produce a safe and lean hamburger product. I hope that you will feel the same after you read my next couple of posts.


      • Laura

        I am new to you r blog and enjoying getting your perspective. I would ask though, why does anything need to be added to ground beef? Are you suggesting that ground beef (whole muscle cut or blended muscle cuts) are not safe as they are and LFTB must be added to make the product safe and healthy? It sounds like that is what you are suggesting and it doesn’t make sense to me.


      • Hi Laura:

        I very much appreciate your question and think that it is a very good one. I will be answering it along with a few other good questions regarding LFTB and its role in making hamburger in my first post for next week.

        Until then, the short answer to your question is that there are many many food safety firewalls in place to help ensure that all hamburger is safe. I do not believe that LFTB must be added to hamburger to make it safe, but I do believe that the process that Mr. Roth uses when making LFTB is a tremendous food safety innovation. When it is combined with the many other food safety practices at BPI it ensures that his product is safe. I promise to fully answer your question in my post next week—it is an excellent question and I thank you for asking it.


  3. Beer Ranch

    As a cattle producer I’m wondering why this negative story took off like it did. Would people be comfortable if something else was being added to their hamburger? I heard about this process over 5 years ago and I was excited because it was so safe and it was using parts of the animal we couldn’t in the past. If they move away from using Lean Beef Trimmings what will they use?

  4. Carol

    Great post and comments, Anne. Thanks for setting the record straight!

  5. Pingback: Hard Work, Trust and Faith… | Feed Yard Foodie

  6. Pingback: Hamburger: It’s What’s For Dinner! Article from The Feed Yard Foodie House | Mom To Bed By 8

  7. Greg

    Thanks for working to set the mis-informed persons and media straight! Nice to see some of the advocates get involved on this topic however its hard to get sound bits these days with positive stories and the impact these products have had on food safety throughout the country… along with the fact that we’ve been able keep cost in line on leaner ground beef products by doing this. Keep up the great work!

  8. Pingback: Hard Work, Trust, & Faith: A Beef Farmer talks about “Pink Slime” | Mom To Bed By 8

  9. Pingback: Questions & Answers about “pink slime” | Mom To Bed By 8

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