Thursday, February 26, 2009

Centralized Meat Production: One Beef Patty Has Remnants Of How Many Cows In It?

You just finished eating a fast-food hamburger. Guess how many cows contributed to that one 4-ounce beef patty?
"Clayton and Belk (1998) determined the number of cattle contributing muscle and/or fat tissue to a single patty, concluding that in a single 4-ounce ground beef patty the fewest number of animals, on average, that contributed tissue to a patty was 55 and the greatest number, on average, was 1,082."
- Traceback, Traceability And Source Verification In The U.S. Beef Industry (pdf), Colorado State University, 2000
This is how one infected cow can sicken thousands of people all over the country ... I would venture.


Jones said...

Sometimes I think,

People who know nothing live a happier life...

The Food Business is such a damn sick f*ck, rotten on almost all aspects..

Dr. Mel said...

I agree with Jones. Re this piece on burgers, Bix, imagine that this has been known since 2000, and no one in the previous admin. did anything to fix it.

"People who know nothing live a happier life"--reminds me of another quote, "A fool's paradise is still paradise."

caulfieldkid said...

We really have gotten too far removed from the production of our own food. There is something honest about raising an animal then having it's blood on your hands in order to feed your family.

Beef is no longer a cow but a McDonald's Happy Meal.

I think it's issues like this one that has caused people to start going local again. They want to know their farmer and how he raises/grows things. What does he put on his crops? What does he feed the cattle? When you do buy your beef, you get at least half a cow from an animal he could probably name (if by number alone).

There are so many reasons to skip that fast food burger. (I for one, will be having venison this weekend).

Bix said...

How do I stop knowing what I know?

Or ... after I know, what do I do with it?

Leonard said...

Annnnnd I'm done visiting Bix's blog for now. LOL! That's nasty...okay back to my earlier comment about me being not being dense that often, maybe I am because it NEVER occurred to me that my Wendy's single cheese burger...came from multiple cows??? What was I thinking? One cow is chopped up and processed and then sent out as a hamburger patty, a roll of hamburger, a pack of hamburger? Okay so steaks are okay though right? and the um...cubed steak for stews...those have to come from one cow right? *shudder* ;) peace

Bix said...

Leonard, I know! I thought the same thing - one patty, one cow.

And I read about the chickens, don't get me started with the chickens ... you know, chicken parts? They come from diseased birds, cancer-stricken, beat-up birds - birds they couldn't sell as whole.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this link, but unfortunately it seems to be down... Does anybody have a mirror or another source? Please answer to my post if you do!

I would appreciate if a staff member here at could post it.


Bix said...

Hi Jack,
It seems that Colorado State University took it down. The site I was linking from:

But I just accessed it via Google cache. Just type in any text from the document, in quotes, and it will return a hit for CSU's pdf. You can select "quick view" to access the entire pdf doc via cache. Good luck!