Ground beef is one of the staples in American food. From meatloaf to hamburgers to chili, ground beef is by far one of the most memorable foods of many American’s childhood. Although many of our favorite meals are forms of ground beef, the most versatile way to prepare meat may also be the most dangerous, as one study found that 20% of the ground beef sold in America contains some sort of illegal foodstuff, including horse meat.
Horse Meat in Ground Beef
This is a problem that was originally discovered in the United Kingdom back in 2013, when scientists found that large amounts of ground beef, including those sold frozen in grocery stores and cheaper food chains, contained traces of horse meat. Researchers now believe that this problem is not unique to the United Kingdom after finding traces of horse meat found in common ground beef products being sold in the United States.
According to two recent surveys, more than 20% of ground meat sold in the United States contains ingredients that isn’t listed on the label. The studies were published by researchers in Chapman University’s Food Science Program in California, and they were based around meat mislabeling in consumer food products.
One of the studies focused on labeling in ground meat products, while the other study focused on game meat species labeling. During the ground meat study, 48 sample were analyzed, and out of them 10 were found to be mislabeled. Out of those 10 samples, two of them contained horse meat.
Many experts believe that producers of ground meat are mixing in lower-quality meats to reduce the overall price it takes to make it. According to Dr. Rosalee Hellberg, co-author of the study, the prevalence of illegal ingredients such as horse meat in ground meat products may be due to the lack of meat surveying carried out in the United States.
“Although extensive meat species testing has been carried out in Europe in light of the 2013 horse meat scandal, there has been limited research carried out on this topic in the United States,” Hellberg told the Daily Mail. “To our knowledge, the most recent U.S. meat survey was published in 1995.”
Making Your Own Ground Beef
Although purchasing from organic beef companies or local farmers is probably a good way to reduce the amount of unknown ingredients in your ground beef, the only way you will have complete control over what goes in it is if you make it yourself. Although using a galvanized meat grinder is what many of us think of when making ground beef, doing it the old-fashioned way takes a whole lot of time and energy.
This is why I’m going to tell you how you can easily make ground beef in just a few minutes using a standard food processor.
Start off by chopping up your beef into one-inch squared cubes, making sure that they are all generally the same size.
Next, throw your squares of beef into your food processor and pulse in short, 1-2 second bursts until you get the desired consistency (generally between 10-15 pulses). Although you can decide how much fat to include into your ground beef, a 10:1 ratio of meat to fat generally works best. For compact ground beef recipes such as meatballs and meatloaf, go for a finer ground, while leaving it coarser for looser meals such as burgers or lasagna.
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