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Why You Need To Stop Buying Ground Beef

by Suz on February 22, 2013 · 19 comments

in Cooking, Food

So many recipes call for ground beef (or mince meat, depending on where you’re from). It’s on sale in every supermarket and butcher, but what exactly is in it – and should you buy it?

The Paleo Diet Ground Beef Minced Mince Meat

What Actually Is It?

The point of mince meat, is to use all of the bits of the animal that can’t be used elsewhere. Commercially produced ground beef will typically contain parts from hundreds of different carcusses. This product is also a good way to make use of old dairy cattle, and other animals that wouldn’t be used for the popular cuts of meat. A pack of ground beef could contain all sorts of different parts of thousands of cows, yet the ingredients will still say “100% beef”.

The E. Coli Risk

The other significant problem with ground beef, is the health risk.

E. Coli can get into the foodchain when the dirty exterior (and particularly any feces) come into contact with the inside of the meat – the bits that go into the mince.

In a small scale operation cross contamination like this is unlikely, but in a large processing plant, where workers are under pressure to turn around as many animals as possible, the risk is far higher. The way ground meat is made, means any bacteria that has accumulate on the surface of the meat will rapidly permeate through the whole product.

Where so many animal parts are present in one product, the risk is obviously greatly increased. To mitigate the risk, the meat is often vacuumed, washed with hot water and lactic acid, but these measures do not guarantee safety. The Paleo Diet Ground Beef Minced Mince Meat Making Homemade

What’s The Solution?

For me, the solution is making my own ground beef. I have bought an old fashioned, hand operated mincer, that clamps to my kitchen counter. This means I can buy my own grass-fed organic beef, from my trusted butcher. This way I know exactly what my minced meat contains, I can make it fresh when I need it, and won’t need to store it, which will help the bacteria risk.

Do you make your own ground meat? I’d love to hear your thoughts on minced meat, and whether you’re happy to buy it, or make your own.

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Lily February 22, 2013 at 8:46 pm

I used to buy minced meat but never again, not after the scare we have had in the UK, as horsemeat has been included in so many beef products. I keep wondering what else is included, hope there is more control very soon.

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Suz May 2, 2013 at 11:31 am

Let’s hope so Lily

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PaleoFastUK February 23, 2013 at 2:20 am

Agree although I am guilty as cahrged as i ahve been buying mince a lot in supermarket mostly organic…another solution is to get to know your butcher and his sources of meat and but a decent cut of beef off the counter and ask him to mince it for you…but yes home made is ALWAYS best!

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Suz May 2, 2013 at 11:31 am

Yes, a good trusted butcher is an option – especially those that immediately mince the meat in front of you!

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Galina L. February 23, 2013 at 4:45 am

I make my own ground meat. Sometimes I buy just very lean conventional meat and ground it together with grass-fed beef fat. It is also possible to add a beef heart or a beef tong to your ground meat. When the meat is grounded, I put in a meat grinder big pieces on raw onion to push the rest of meat out.

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Suz May 2, 2013 at 11:32 am

I think adding in some offal is such a great way to get more of it into your diet!

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living_insanity February 23, 2013 at 5:13 am

We did a cow share and about 5 people participated in buying packaged cow from a local farmer and it included ground meat. I can’t wait to try it and see if it tastes different from the grocery store packaged meat!

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Suz May 2, 2013 at 11:32 am

I bet it will taste amazing, cow shares are such a good idea. How do you decide who gets what?

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Lars T February 23, 2013 at 7:40 am

I buy mine already ground, but from a grassfed/pastured CSA. I do want to grind my own, and have an electric grinder. That might be my resolution for next week!

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Suz May 2, 2013 at 11:33 am

Yes! Try it Lars!

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amorris February 23, 2013 at 9:14 am

I get most minced meat from a trusted butcher who grounds it daily.
Last time I got it from the supermarket it was bright red on top and brown underneath (filled with gas) and it put me off.

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Suz May 2, 2013 at 11:33 am

Some of the packets of mince are so off putting aren’t they!

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Mike February 24, 2013 at 1:18 am

I am fortunate to be able to make ground meat from venison. Between me, my dad, and my sons, we usually get enough deer to keep us in ground meat for the year. I have a local butcher that mixes 15% beef fat from ribeye and tenderloin cuts. This is a good mix for me as it leaves little or no grease. The last time I bought ground meat I was disgusted. I had to scrape my hands of all the fat from making hamburger patties. Plus I enjoy my hamburgers medium rare and venison allows me to do this. I would not dream of eating store bought any way but over cooked

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Suz May 2, 2013 at 11:34 am

You certainly are lucky to be able to stockpile venison – I wish I could get that easily where I live.

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Katrina March 7, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Hi there,

Have just found this great site, ironically after searching for Woolworth’s position on wether or not their MSA range of beef is grass feed or not, so you’ve answered what I needed to know there, then went on to find this post on Ground Beef!! I purchased the Aldi electric grinder 12 months ago, it was one of the best kitchen appliances I have ever bought (doesn’t out do my Thermomix though!!). It has never failed me, I purchase my meet form a local organic butcher on the Gold Coast and grind away. One thing that amazed me when I first used my home ground beef, was no ‘shrinkage’ of my meat. Scares me to think what is actually in commercial ground beef that is not labelled……just like many other things in our ‘super’markets!

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Suz May 2, 2013 at 11:35 am

Glad you found me Katrina! Ground beef really is a scary prospect!

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Shaleah March 11, 2013 at 11:06 pm

Katrina, I live on the Gold Coast too. Would love the name or location of your butcher? My favorite one was sold to a new owner and it’s all gone downhill since then. Thanks!

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Antje March 13, 2013 at 11:00 am

There is one butcher in Arundel at the Clock tower shopping centre. It is between the new hospital and Harbour Town. There is a new one in Miami at the Water Way shopping centre.

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tina November 23, 2013 at 10:07 am

Since the ‘pink slime’ being added to ground beef came to light, I bought the grinder attachment to my kitchenaid stand mixer and started grinding my own. We make burger patties and 1lb ground beef packages and vacuum seal them for storage in the freezer. Saves money and tastes way better than the commercial bought stuff. I also make blends so it’s part beef/pork/veal. I have also done this with chicken and turkey. The family prefers my turkey burgers to the beef ones!

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