80% of Beef comes from 4 Production Facilities

80% of Beef comes from 4 Production Facilities

I was reading Consumer Reports’ article on “Ground-Beef Product Safety Test” and I was not surprised – disappointed – but not surprised. Through consolidation, 80% of all meat found in supermarkets, big-box stores and organic food retailers is processed in one of 4 meat processing plants. Consumer reports sampled 300 packages of ground beef from a good sampling of the stores and tested them for unhealthy bacteria.

Their results were disgusting, and it brings up the question, where is FDA and what are they doing to assure our meat safety. Their results answer that question. Their results were:
• In 100% of the samples they found a basic level of fecal contamination. This type of bacteria can cause blood or urinary tract infections.
• 20% of the meat tested positive for a bacteria that causes food poisoning. This occurs in about a million cases a year.
• 1% of the samples contained salmonella, the microorganism behind 19,000 hospitalizations

Makes you want to run to a grocery store and grill up a burger, ugh!  It is scary what they would find at fast food restaurants.

  • Consumer Reports recommended that meat fans cook ground beef thoroughly, which is not a great solution for those of us who like it less than well done.
  • They also recommend to try to buy sustainably raised beef, again we have an issue with the fact that experts can’t agree on what is sustainably raised beef.  Sort of like a wine that is call “Reserve”, does not mean a thing, it is not even a protected review
  • They also highlight a major structural risk of the meat industry, that it’s dominated by just four producers accounting for over 80% of all beef processing in this country.

My Solution and recommendation is much simpler, find a local butcher, who buys from local ranchers, and use them. I am fortunate that here in Savannah, Georgia, we have great local meat markets, like Ogeechee Meat Market; a wonderful family owned and operated butcher shop who buys locally and the meat flavors and prices show it.