Tag Archives: hamburger

Food Safety Thoughts From a “Mom” Farmer…

I received a private email from a blog site visitor a few weeks ago asking a combination of questions regarding food safety and sustainability. While I feel as though I have hit the topic of environmental sustainability thoroughly over the past year, food safety plays an important role in the discussion and a post covering it seems appropriate.

girlsswim2015a2.jpgAs the mother of three daughters as well as a farmer, the topic of food safety relative to beef always occupies the forefront of my mind.

  • I grow it.
  • I eat it.
  • I feed it to my children.

BCItshirt.jpgWhen I think back to early lessons that my farm taught me, there are two that quickly rise to the top of the list:

  1. I cannot control Mother Nature. My savvy as a farmer increased when I realized that my “job” was not to control, but rather to work to build harmony – to bend and adjust my farming practices in order to positively blend with what Mother Nature gives to me.
  2. The world is not black and white. We all exist in the “gray area” and every choice that we make has consequences. Every day I use both practical skills and science to put “the pieces of the puzzle together” in order to best use the resources of the farm.  I want it to be on the “white end” of the gray, and I need it to both thrive in the present and to remain healthy to protect for the future. My farm has a footprint – my life has a footprint – everyone’s does. There is no perfect answer to any challenge– simply an array of choices that each has both positive and negative influences.

When I think of the topic of food safety, I think that both of those “life lessons learned on the farm” come into play. Mother Nature drives my farm. I cannot change weather patterns, nor can I change naturally occurring scientific evolution. What I can do is manage the resources and the animals on my farm to be as close to harmony as possible.  While I recognize that I will never be perfect, I do work resolutely toward continuous improvement.

Bacteria exists universally on the planet earth. Normal micro-flora live in the rumen of cattle that can be pathogenic to humans. Let’s use Ecoli 0157:H7 as an example. Bovines provide natural “host” environments for these bacteria – the bacteria does not negatively affect the animals, but we discovered in 1993 that they could negatively affect us. In the ensuing 20+ years, scientists and farmers along with government regulatory agencies have focused on improving the safety of hamburger utilizing a united food production chain effort.

System wide food safety mechanisms follow the structure of HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points). They start on the farm, continue at the packing plant and retail distributor, and end with your kitchen. Let’s take a moment to look at all of the ecoli food safety mechanisms that occur with hamburger grown on my farm.

On My Farm

When bacteria are a concern, isolation and containment are critical. We know that many different strains of ecoli exist naturally in the environment (some are harmful to humans, some are not). These bacteria exist in pasture based growing systems (ranches) as well as feed yards — on conventional farms as well as organic farms.  Good sanitation programs are vital components in a holistic food safety system.   Clean water tanks, clean feed, clean living spaces, and clean equipment lead to a reduction in the spread of bacteria.

One of the three pillars to the Progressive Beef QSA is food safety. The majority of the 39 Progressive Beef Standard Operating Procedures that I use to manage my feed yard pertain to sanitation because the farmers in our BMG Cooperative recognize what a critical role we play in delivering a safe and healthy beef eating experience.

I also feed a direct fed microbial called Bovamine Defend to all of the cattle on my farm. This all natural product reduces both the amount of Ecoli 0157:H7 in the rumen (stomach) of my animals as well as inhibits the spread of the bacteria from one animal to another. My packing plant partner, Tyson, measures the amount of ecoli in the groups of cattle arriving at their facilities and reports that animals fed Bovamine Defend have ecoli levels 50-70% lower than animals not fed Bovamine Defend. There are multiple scientific studies that consistently report the effectiveness of this all natural product in reducing ecoli levels in cattle. I believe this to be a critical component to my personal “food safety” footprint.

At the Packing Plant

The last 20 years have seen enormous food safety strides at the packing plant level. New technologies such as: Hide cleansing, steam vaccums, organic acids, thermal treatments, as well as chilling and sanitation practices all provide multiple layers in a stringent food safety regime. You can learn more about these practices by visiting the Beef Industry Food Safety Council website (BIFSCO).

In Your Kitchen

You can also play an important role in food safety by using good sanitation and cooking practices in your kitchen. Disinfect utensils and counter surfaces as well as your own hands after handling raw meat. Cook your hamburger to 160 degrees which will eliminate/kill any bacteria that might be present.

Food safety is vital to all of us. We must eat to live, and we must eat safely to remain healthy. A team effort provides multiple layers of protection and ensures a nutritious and safe eating experience for each and every one of us.


Safe and Healthy Beef

It’s What’s For Dinner at my house!

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Filed under General

Megan’s Enviable Enchiladas…

My cowboy loves grass finished bison meat.  He shared some with us this weekend and my favorite 11 year old cowgirl chef used it to make enchiladas.  The following recipe is also really good with grain or grass finished beef hamburger.  It’s your choice!IMG_3017

Enchilada needs: 2# ground meat, 8-10 soft whole wheat taco shells, package of Provolone cheese, 1/2 package of Mozarella cheese, package of McCormick Enchilada sauce mix, 8 ounce can of tomato sauce, Parmesan crusted “shake and bake” seasoning, water.IMG_3020

  • In a frying pan, cook meat until done. Put in a healthy shake of Parmesan crusted “shake and bake” seasoning while browning the meat.
  • In a sauce pan: combine tomato sauce, water and enchilada mix (Megan only used half a package of the sauce mix because she do not like spicy food).  Bring the sauce to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes to thicken the sauce.
  • Combine the sauce with the cooked meat and stir.
  • Grate provolone cheese onto the whole wheat soft taco shells.
  • Add meat and sauce to each taco shell.  Roll it, and place it seam down in a lasagna pan.
  • Pour extra meat sauce onto the top of the rolled tacos.
  • Grate mozzarella cheese over the top of the tacos.
Bake for approximately 20 minutes in a 325 degree oven (until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling).

Bake for approximately 20 minutes in a 325 degree oven (until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling).

Serve alongside your favorite vegetable and enjoy!


Filed under General, Recipes and Beef Cooking Tips...

Megan’s Meatful Mondays: Harvest Skillet

My favorite blonde ten year old announced over Christmas break that she was ready to graduate from baking goodies to cooking dinner.  Her daddy applauded this proclamation in the hopes that the number of home made baked goods tempting him on the kitchen counter would decrease in number…

My budding young chef...

My budding young chef…

So, as we delve into 2013, Megan and I would like to announce a new blogging project: Megan’s Meatful Mondays.  As Megan learns to cook new beef dinner dishes, we will share them on the blog site.  Make sure that you look for Megan’s cooking adventures on Monday’s throughout the winter!

Harvest Skillet

Needs: 1# ground beef, 1/2 cup chopped onion, 3/4 cup milk, 1 can cream of mushroom soup, 8 ounces of cream cheese, 1 cup corn (I prefer fresh or frozen rather than canned), 8 ounce package of cooked noodles (I prefer whole wheat), a touch of pepper and Lawry’s seasoning salt.  In the summertime, when I have fresh zucchini, I dice it into little pieces and put 1 cup into the mixture as well.

Brown burger and onion in a large skillet at medium high heat until the burger is completely cooked...

Brown burger and onion in a large skillet on medium high heat until the burger is completely cooked…

Add cream cheese and stir until the cheese is melted...

Add cream cheese and stir until the cheese is melted…

Add cream of mushroom soup, milk, corn, diced zucchini, and cooked noodles.

Add cream of mushroom soup, milk, corn, diced zucchini, and cooked noodles.

Stir on medium heat until it is heated through.  This will take 5-10 minutes so be patient!

Stir on medium heat until it is heated through. This will take 5-10 minutes so be patient!  (The patience part was slightly challenging for Megan…)

Enjoy!  And, always remember Feed Yard Foodie's kitchen rule when you are asked to do the dishes...

Enjoy! And, always remember Feed Yard Foodie’s kitchen rule when you are asked to do the dishes…


Filed under General, Recipes and Beef Cooking Tips...

The Bulldog Award…

My two favorite blondes had their end of the year gymnastics performance last weekend.  At the end of the program, a few special awards were given to gymnasts who demonstrated remarkable character throughout the year.

My favorite 10 year old received the Bulldog Award.  The Bulldog Award is given to the gymnast with the most guts and the most determination.  The gymnastics coach stated that Megan “was never afraid to try anything that was asked of her.”  Quite honestly, I cannot think of a more perfect award to give to my little cowgirl / gymnast.


Megan believes in herself and she is inherently trustful of others. 

She also inherited the 110% gene that I talked about last week.

When I try to view the world through Megan’s eyes, I get a very clear vision of hard work, trust and faith.  She exemplifies those qualities and also looks for them in the people that touch her life.  Those words, hard work—trust—faith, should resonate with all of you who read my “pink slime” blog series.  https://feedyardfoodie.wordpress.com/2012/03/20/hard-work-trust-and-faith/

All the trust of a child combined with an astounding work ethic…She’d rather take care of cattle than plant my garden, but she still does it with care and a smile.

It has been almost two and a half months since the “pink slime” media craze began.  Regardless of our desires, it has–one way or another–affected all of our lives.  It will continue to affect all our lives for the unforeseen future…

I spend my days caring for cattle that will be harvested to provide beef for all of you.  Hard work is something that I love, and it is a steadfast reality in my life caring for food animals.  As I look to grow the safest and most nutritious beef using the fewest number of natural resources, I need technological advancements to combine with my hard work.  Equipment which enables more beef to be removed from each of my animals during the harvest process is critical to sustainable beef production.

He is raised to make beef—it is all of our jobs to ensure that none of it is wasted…

Beef Products, Inc. and their Lean Finely Textured Beef do just this.  Their state of the art equipment allows for 12-15 more pounds of beef to be effectively harvested per animal.  I harvest somewhere around 5500 animals per year—at 12# additional beef per animal that is 66,000# of beef!  This exceptionally lean beef is needed to make the lean hamburger that most consumers desire.

Every Action Has A Consequence…

What are the consequences of the Pink Slime craze?

  1. A high quality and lean protein source is currently being wasted (along with the natural resources that were used to grow it)…As I write this, hundreds of millions of pounds of lean finely textured beef sit in freezers waiting for retailers to resume purchase of them.
  2. The price of lean blend hamburger is rising as there is a shortage of it without the use of LFTB.
  3. A volatile and susceptible live cattle market (the price of my finished animals) saw a 9% decrease in the worth of my animals during the two week period following retail supermarkets removing the product from their shelves.  For each 1300# animal, that is a loss of $143.00.
  4. Beef Products, Inc. shut down several of their processing facilities because of lack of demand for their product.  This has resulted in approximately 900 Americans losing their jobs…

 While I have enough trust and faith to believe that eventually consumers will feel comfortable eating hamburger made with LFTB, I know that continued hard work and consumer outreach is the only way to accomplish this!

My blog brings my farm to you so that you can understand where your beef comes from…

 Today, I am asking all of you to do what I believe is the right thing for our country and its food supply.  Please take a minute to visit this website (http://act.beefisbeef.com/letter-stores) and write a letter to your retail supermarket asking them to resume purchasing hamburger made with LFTB.  It will only take a moment of your time, and it will allow my beef industry partners to continue to work hard to provide you with a sustainable and healthy beef supply.

She lights up my life as she learns to grow your food!

 We both need your hard work, trust, and faith.  Follow the example set by my favorite Bulldog Award winner, and determinedly keep the faith!




Filed under General, Nutrition (cattle and human)

In Defense Of A Good Man…

I remember vividly the first time one of my daughters came home from school crying because someone had started a nasty rumor about her.  A whole myriad of emotions went through me…disappointment, sadness, anger, and finally a complete sense of helplessness.  I wanted to go find the child who started the rumor and discipline her, but all I could do was comfort my daughter and give her advice about how to deal with the challenge.  The experience left me with a sick feeling deep in my stomach and a disappointment in humanity that touched my core.

It has been a long time since I have felt that way, but yesterday I experienced that same myriad of emotions as I watched an investigative reporter from ABC news smear and belittle a very fine group of people during a press conference held by Governors and Lieutenant Governors from the states of Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Kansas and Texas.

The panel of governors, lieutenant governors, and food safety experts that stood up in Defense of a Good Man and his product...

Megan and I traveled to Sioux City to meet Eldon Roth and his Beef Products, Inc. family so that we could see first-hand the people and the company that makes Lean Finely Textured Beef.  For me, it was a day filled with emotion as I met Eldon, his wife Regina, their son, daughter, son-in-law and many of the employees of Beef Products, Inc.  I also had the privilege of meeting Nancy Donley of STOP Foodborne Illness who has worked collaboratively with Eldon and Regina to create innovative food safety measures relative to ground beef and Lean Finely Textured Beef.

Eldon's wife and daughter, who took the time during a very difficult day to make a 10 year old girl feel special. I hope that Megan will grow up to be as courageous and giving as they are...

I wish that I could find the words to convey to all of you the sincerity and the innate goodness that I felt as I visited with the Roth’s and their BPI family.  They are the type of people that I want to bring into my home for Sunday night dinner—They are the type of people that I want my children to grow up to be like—They are the type of people that makes me love Nebraska because they CARE and work passionately to improve the lives of others.

Ten days ago, I wrote a blog post entitled “Hard Work, Trust, and Faith” https://feedyardfoodie.wordpress.com/2012/03/20/hard-work-trust-and-faith/ as I tried to work out in my mind all of the conflicting media coverage regarding Lean Finely Textured Beef.  In that post, I stated that one day I hoped to be able to meet Eldon Roth and personally thank him for all that he has done.  Yesterday, I was able to do that.  We both had tears in our eyes as we shook hands, and although I was just meeting him for the first time, as I looked into his eyes I could see that he was a very special man—A man who quietly and innovatively works each day to be a people builder and inspire greatness in all those that have the pleasure of working with him.

Megan and I with Eldon and his family after the press conference...

I have continued to receive questions and comments from readers that are interested in learning more about Lean Finely Textured Beef and what role it plays in hamburger.  My post for Tuesday will focus on the answers to those questions.  In the meantime, I offer a personal thank you to Eldon and his family for inspiring me to achieve greatness in all that I do to care for cattle and raise safe beef.


Filed under General, Nutrition (cattle and human)

Hard Work, Trust and Faith…

Archie Curtice is one of my favorite people.  He was the feed yard manager when I went to work there as a twenty two year old “green horn” the summer of 1997.  He has loved me, mentored me, and enriched my life for the past fifteen years.  Archie grew up on the land where our feed yard is located today, and I love to listen to his stories about the early years of agriculture in Dawson County.  Archie has more common sense and humor than any other individual that I have ever known.  He is a natural problem solver and, although his formal education ended at age 16, his innate ability to figure things out constantly amazes me.

Together we make generations of dedication...

Although I have 5 more years of formal education culminating in a cum laude degree from an Ivy League Institution, Archie is the one who taught me how to raise cattle and grow food.  He taught me how to roll up my sleeves and quite literally go to work.  He taught me the ability to look at a particular situation (no matter how challenging) and figure out how to make it work.  Some days, the lives of my animals and the safety of my crew rely on these decisions and there is little room for error.  Archie excels at problem solving because his life experiences have tenaciously honed this skill.

Archie's weathered hands hold decades of experience and hard work...Mine are not as calloused, but are working hard to continue our tradition of ingenuity and diligence.

As I read articles and researched the topic of Lean Finely Textured Beef last week, my mind kept coming back to Archie.  Those of you that read last Tuesday’s post—Hamburger: It’s What’s For Dinner In The Feed Yard Foodie House  might remember a gentlemen by the name of Eldon Roth.  Mr. Roth is the founder of the company Beef Products, Inc.  Although I have never personally met Mr. Roth, from what I have learned of him in the past 10 days, he reminds me of Archie.  He grew up on a farm until several years of droughts forced his family to migrate to California when he was a teenager.  He then went to work cleaning milk and ice cream factories.  From there, he transitioned over to meat packing plants and began a long career searching for ways to improve the safety of beef.  He, like Archie, used hands on experiences and hard work as a basis for his education.  Mr. Roth has provided a revolutionary presence in the creation of safe hamburger.  Quite honestly, it appears to me to have been his life-long mission.  In addition to his innate intelligence and ability to engineer ways to increase the safety of beef, Mr. Roth seems to possess an attention to detail and impressive work ethic that dates back to his upbringing.  Mr. Roth’s accomplishments leave me both humbled and immensely thankful.  From this day forward, I will issue him a silent thank you every time that I serve hamburger to my family.

My favorite fourth grader--eating her favorite meal!

Perhaps I feel this connection and appreciation toward Mr. Roth because he reminds me of Archie—Perhaps it is because I have had to learn on my own farm to constantly strive to be a better problem solver—Perhaps it is because raising food animals leads me to constantly think of daily production practices that impact food safety.  I do not know for sure which it is, but I do know that I trust him with my food.  His innovations and hard work (for which he has received many awards and spans several decades) make me proud to supply him with my beef.

Mr. Roth

It is hard to trust someone or some process that we do not personally know.  It is especially hard when emotional journalism repeatedly reports inaccurate information regarding the person or the process.  Quite frankly, I believe that the Pink Slime Media Craze of the last two weeks brings the term March Madness to mind.

Much more importantly, however, I believe that if we invoke a little bit of trust and look at the solid science that is behind the technology of creating Lean Finely Textured Beef that we will realize that Mr. Roth has done something that should make us all proud.  He has used his experience and his problem solving skills to create a healthy and quality product that we can feel good about feeding to our families. I hope that one day I will be lucky enough to meet Mr. Roth so that I can thank him in person.  Until then, I will leave you will a final few thoughts…

Proud of her country...

In order for our country to prosper in 2012 and beyond—

We must trust that scientific advancements are tested to ensure that they are safe…

We must trust that farmers are providing good care to their animals and doing their best to provide safe food…

We must trust that we are all on the same team, and that together we can work to make the world a better place…

Without that trust, we will never reap the benefits that we continually seek with new technology. Today, I am thankful to be a part of a group of people that plays a pivotal role in the survival of our country.  I grow animals that feed people.  Mr. Roth both helps to improve the environmental footprint of my farm by ensuring that no nutritious lean beef is wasted when my animals are harvested, and he ensures through remarkable food safety measures that the beef that I feed to my children is as safe as possible.

Food safety is a priority that Mr. Roth and I share...

The bottom line is that I have faith in my food supply—Do I have absolutely every answer about every process that is used to grow and prepare my food? No, but I have faith in my fellow Americans who partner with me every day to ensure that the country that I love so much prospers.

Take a moment to watch this YouTube clip that Mr. Roth put together to help us all understand what he is doing…


Read this article to hear the thoughts of a mother turned food safety advocate on LFTB and Beef Products, Inc.


Our kids are both the center of our world and the future of our country. Feeding them well is our #1 priority...


Filed under General, Nutrition (cattle and human)

Looking For Good Answers To Hard Questions…

Those of you that have been following Feed Yard Foodie for a while know that I rarely use a “guest blogger”.  In fact, over the last 11 months of blogging, I have only used one.  Dr. Mike Apley of Kansas State University helped us to look at the issue of antibiotic use in cattle relative to the antibiotic resistance challenge when my daughter Karyn had pneumonia last December.

Today I am going to double the number of “guest bloggers” with a Q and A interview with Dr. Russell Cross.  Just as with the antibiotic issue, I feel that the complexity of the Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB) discussion necessitates bringing in a specialist.  While I have read about the process of LFTB, Dr. Cross has lived the process and brings great experience to this discussion.

This is a picture of little pieces of Lean Finely Textured Beef.

Many thanks to Dr. Cross for sharing his knowledge with us!

Currently, Dr. Cross is a professor at Texas A & M University but he served as the Administrator of USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service in the early 1990’s at the time that LFTB was approved.  As administrator, Dr. Cross was personally responsible for ensuring that this process was studied in depth to ensure that it made safe and healthy food.  Dr. Cross is not just a scientist; he is a father, a grandfather and a caring individual who has dedicated his life to researching meat and food safety.  For an extensive biography on Dr. Cross, please click here: Dr. Cross’s Biography…

Q and A:

Anne: The words “pink slime” have recently been in the news. Can you please offer your thoughts on the term?

Dr. Cross: Well it’s ridiculous really. But what’s being inaccurately referred to as “pink slime” is actually “lean finely textured beef.” It’s a category of beef products that uses special equipment to separate the lean meat from the fat in the trimmings created when steaks and roasts are cut. This process yields another 10-12 pounds of lean, nutritious beef from every beef animal and it can be added to other ground beef products.

Anne: Why are we suddenly hearing about this now?

Dr. Cross: Folks today are rightfully interested in where their food comes from and what’s in it, but unfortunately, a few people in the public eye have grossly dramatized the process and tried to make it into something it’s not.

For almost two decades, lean finely textured beef has been an acceptable ingredient in ground beef and the ground beef purchased by the Department of Agriculture (USDA) for distribution through federal food and nutrition assistance programs, which includes the national school lunch program. In my opinion, this is a great way to make sure as many people as possible have access to high-quality lean protein.

Anne: Can you explain the ammonia process that is used to make lean finely textured beef and why it is important?

Dr. Cross: Though the use of ammonia to make beef safer may sound strange, this process has been sensationalized and falsely communicated by the media—household cleaner is not used to make this product. The process is completely safe. The lean finely textured beef that has been separated from the fat receives a small puff of ammonium hydroxide gas (essentially ammonia and water), which slightly raises the pH level of the product, thereby destroying any bad bacteria. Ammonium hydroxide is a naturally occurring compound found in many foods, our own bodies and the environment. It is used to kill bacteria on many fresh foods, including fruits and vegetables, baked goods and even beer. The ammonia dissipates quickly so that there is no trace of ammonia left in the final product. This process has been used since 1974, when the Food and Drug Administration declared it GRAS or Generally Recognized as Safe, the highest safety attribution the agency can assign.

Anne: The media have suggested the approval of lean beef trimmings was rushed due to a personal agenda; do you think that was the case?

Dr. Cross: As Administrator of USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) in the early 90s, I and my staff evaluated numerous research projects before approving lean finely textured beef as a safe source of high-quality protein. No single person or agenda influenced the process, which took years…it wasn’t a decision that was made overnight. In the end, I actually was the one who approved lean finely textured beef as safe. I wasn’t ordered to do it; I did it because it was the right thing to do and it was scientifically proven safe. I cannot recall any objections from my fellow FSIS staff. In fact, I don’t recall the decision being controversial internally at all.

Anne: Given your experience, do you think we can we trust the FSIS process?

Dr. Cross: The FSIS safety review process was and is an in-depth, science-based process that spans years, many research projects and involves many experts across all levels of the agency—and in this case, the process proved lean beef trimmings are safe. This product has been safely used for many years.

I’ve visited the companies that produce lean finely textured beef and I can tell you that this valuable ingredient comes from some of the most high-tech, efficient and cleanest processing plants in our industry.

Anne: Why is this product so important?

Dr. Cross: Lean finely textured beef helps us meet consumer demand for safe, affordable and nutritious food. All beef is a good or excellent source of 10 essential nutrients including protein, iron, zinc and B-vitamins. I believe we have a responsibility to raise as much safe and nutritious protein with as few natural resources as possible and to make it available to as many people as possible.

Anne: Should lean beef trimmings be allowed in school lunch programs? 

Dr. Cross: There is no reason NOT to have it in the school lunch program—it is a safe, quality and nutritious ingredient and meets government regulations for safety. Our kids deserve access to high-quality lean protein like this, and sometimes for the kids served by the school lunch program, that meal is the only chance they get to fill their stomachs with healthy food.

Anne: Would you feed this to your family? Why do you feel good about it as a consumer?

Dr. Cross:  Listen, I enjoy ground beef. Spaghetti, tacos…but I have to admit the best is a juicy burger. I was part of approving lean finely textured beef for the food supply, I have total confidence in its safety and I continue to enjoy the same great ground beef meals I always have knowing this ingredient is an important part of making those meals I love.

Click here to watch a brief video with Dr. Cross addressing these same issues:


 I would very much like to thank Dr. Cross for taking the time to share with us.  I will conclude my series on hamburger next week.  If anyone has any additional thoughts or questions that you would like for me to address next week, please let me know via the Ask Me section at the top of the home page or write it in the comment section of this post.  If you are looking for additional information on LFTB please consult the following links:

Additional resources:


Meat MythCrusher Video on “Pink Slime”

International Food Information Council Fact Sheet on Ammonia Hydroxide in Food

Questions and Answers on “Pink Slime”

In the meantime, I will be preparing my favorite basketball player for her last tournament of the year with hamburgers grilled outdoors in the wonderful spring weather that has settled in Nebraska!


Filed under General, Nutrition (cattle and human)

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)