How to: Get shit-free ground beef

December 10, 2007 at 2:51 pm 16 comments

butcher'sPhoto by David Chief.

Here is step by step guide to getting shit-free ground beef.

  1. Go to an organic butcher or a good butcher that sells organic meat
  2. Choose a large chunk of a cheap cut of organic beef and/or pork
  3. Ask the butcher to grind it for you
  4. Separate in batches
  5. Cook or freeze the same day.

And voilá! Shit-Free!

This is because:

  1. This story was in the NYT this week.ground meat
  2. Feedlot cattle goes into ‘processing’ covered in shit. That’s because they live covered in shit.
  3. Organic grass-fed cows, by their very nature, don’t spend their lives covered in shit, hence, there will be less or no shit in their meat.
  4. There have been countless USDA recalls of ground beef contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 (read: shit) Most of them after the meat has been eaten.
  5. E. coli O157:H7 exists because of factory farming methods. They have created the problem by feeding grain to cows and made it worse by giving them antibiotics.
  6. Ground meat has a natural shelf-life of 24h. The fact that you can buy it in the supermarket with a month of shelf-life is just wrong.
  7. Carbon monoxide keeps meat looking fresh and perky even after weeks of its sell by date. You could be buying spoiled meat and never know it by the looks of it.
  8. I am a traditionalist. I think cows should live in the field, that meat should be bought at the butcher’s and ground right in front of you.

PS: I don’t really know why I am posting this, since I am already 95% vegetarian by now. And I think you should be too.

Entry filed under: consumption, environment, food, how to, organic. Tags: , , .

Another reason to eat organic O look! Could it be? A post!

16 Comments Add your own

  • 1. vera  |  December 10, 2007 at 5:51 pm

    that’s really gross…makes me glad we don’t eat beef, esp. ground beef hardly anymore.

  • 2. Bill Marler  |  December 10, 2007 at 6:25 pm


    Chef and restaurateur Lenny Russo joins other food pornographers such as Mark Bittman and Nina Planck in promoting fashion over facts by recycling the claim that grass-fed cattle have significantly lower levels of dangerous E. coli than grain-fed cattle.

    Mike Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy and professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota and Russo’s target, does a nice job of, um, crushing Russo’s assertions in today’s Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune:

    “Russo cited conclusions from a 1998 study from Cornell University that cattle fed a diet of grass, not grain, had very few E. coli, and that those bacteria that survived in the cattle feces would not survive in the human when eaten in undercooked meat, particularly hamburger. This statement is based on a study of only three cows rotated on different diets and for which the researchers did not even test for E. coli O157:H7. Unfortunately, the authors extrapolated these incredibly sparse results to the entire cattle industry. The Cornell study is uncorroborated in numerous published scientific papers from renowned research groups around the world. Finally, work conducted by the Minnesota Department of Health as part of a national study on foodborne disease recently showed that eating red meat from local farms was a significant risk factor for E. coli infection. …

    “Russo would understand this issue in an entirely different light if he had been with me when I had to explain to distraught parents that their young daughter’s death was due to eating an undercooked hamburger, prepared by them, and the E. coli that caused her illness came from meat from a cow raised only on pasture grass and processed by the local meat packer. The cow also came from Grandpa’s farm down the road.”

  • 3. Alina  |  December 10, 2007 at 7:45 pm

    Bill, thanks for stopping by my humble little blog. Your input is highly appreciated. However, I would like to address the following issues your comment raises.

    First of all, I don’t see a mention of which was the E. Coli strain from Granpa’s cow either.

    Second, regardless of the merits of the Cornell study, the main difference between grain vs grass fed beef lies not in the fact that E. coli O157:H7 does not occur in grass fed beef, but rather that it is acid resistant in grain fed cattle, hence not being eliminated by human digestive acids.

    Still, you will not convince me that being covered in shit does not affect the degree of contamination during slaughter.

    And finally, regardless of what the cow was fed, the main problem of the system still resides in the industrial processing plants itself. During beef processing, not only the any contamination originating in the bowels of the carcass gets thoroughly mixed in the ground beef, often times the contamination from only one cow may spread to the entire facility and whichever non-contaminated cows are ground together or processed in the same facility.

    Hence, common sense tell me that refusing pre-processed meat is the surest way to avoid contaminated ground beef. It is simply less likely that a chunk of meat in one piece has been in contact with shit.

  • 4. Emily  |  December 11, 2007 at 11:01 pm

    You know, I don’t eat all that much meat, but my youngest is absolutely batty about ground beef. After reading this post, I am really, really glad we use the organic butcher…

  • 5. Paperspoons  |  December 13, 2007 at 3:38 pm

    Ewwwwww! I’m so glad I quit eating meat. Yuck!

  • 6. Clayton  |  December 31, 2007 at 6:23 pm

    As a former o157:h7 researcher, I don’t believe it belongs in the organic argument as much as some people think it should. I’ve tested family farms, dairy cattle (poop free), feed lot cattle, sick cattle, etc. One thing all places had in common was o157:h7. After spending three years doing this research, I’m confident I could walk onto a organic farm and find the bug.

    The key is thoroughly cooking ground beef!!! We’ve all heard it and its true.
    There are so many other reasons to eat naturally grown meats other than the “o157” argument. Freshness and knowledge of origin are just a couple. My wife and I try to know the origin of our meat (not too difficult as a former sheep farmer, with beef farmers around.) When we don’t though, we make sure the meat is cooked thoroughly.

  • 7. Diane MacEachern  |  January 3, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    I’m going to try to get my son to read your post on beef. It might get him to reconsider his steak-and-burgers diet. Thanks.

  • 8. Stefan  |  January 5, 2008 at 12:26 am

    We like your site and have added it to our blog roll. Our blog, My Green Element ( covers green business and marketing trends. I was hoping we could be added to your blog roll. Also, if you are interested in writing a guest post, please let me know.

  • 9. Vanessa  |  January 8, 2008 at 7:15 am

    Ew, sick! But of course, I already knew most of that thanks to The Omnivore’s Dilemma… I’ve also become 95% vegetarian (and mostly vegan, too) and know that I’ll NEVER EVER eat non-organic meat or dairy ever again. It’s totally sick what goes in that stuff…

    Love the feckless use of “shit” in this post, too… haha

  • 10. CLM  |  January 20, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    Hi there,

    Really enjoy your blog. Have been checking for awhile….looking forward to your next post. Always thought provoking.

  • 11. Tilli  |  April 16, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    Wow, so glad I’m a vegetarian (never, ever eaten meat)! Found your blog via Google Images (there was a pic up there…it led me here). Keep up the good work!

  • 12. Hovis Brown  |  August 7, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    My wife purchased two sirloin steakes in Sainsburys today
    when she put them in the pan to cook they shrunk to about two thirds the size and the pan half filled with water,
    could you please explain how the water got into the steaks

  • 13. stinkmeat  |  March 4, 2010 at 11:20 am

    Americans eat 396,828,000 pounds of cow shit each year. The maximum allowable amount of cow shit in ground beef is 6 grams per pound — that’s about 1.32% shit in your McCrapburger. That is enough to smell if you have a good nose and you have ever smelled cow shit down on the farm. I remember smelling cooked fast food burgers that had that distinct cow shit odor. The meat producers make sure that their ground beef has exactly the maximum allowable amount of shit in it, otherwise they would lose money by selling ground beef without a high enough ratio of shit in it. The system is flawed, don’t you think? Maybe it’s because we’re full of crap!

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December 2007

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