You may deserve a break today, but perhaps you should take it with a veggie burger.
I’ve got no moral qualms about eating meat, but after reading today’s New York Times, I’m going to eliminate ground beef from my diet. Michael Moss tells the harrowing tale of a 22-year-old children’s dance instructor who ended up paralyzed from the waist down simply because she ate a hamburger her mom grilled from a package of frozen patties labeled “American Chef’s Selection Angus Beef Patties.”
Read Moss’ account and you may feel that you’re being led back to The Jungle — as in Upton Sinclair’s frightening account of meat-packing plants a century ago. To put it mildly, that premium ground beef you’re eating apparently is more — and less — than the name implies.
Writes Moss, “Ground beef is usually not simply a chunk of meat run through a grinder. Instead, records and interviews show, a single portion of hamburger meat is often an amalgam of various grades of meat from different parts of cows and even from different slaughterhouses. These cuts of meat are particularly vulnerable to E. Coli contaimination, food experts and officials say.”
So hold the pickle, hold the lettuce and hold the burger, too. It all reminds me of a lead that writer William Zinsser once wrote and features in his book, On Writing Well.
I’ve often wondered what goes into a hot dog. Now I know and I wish I didn’t.