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United Kingdom Science

How Much Beef Is In Your Burger? 709

Posted by samzenpus
from the where's-the-beef dept.
dgharmon writes in with an interesting article about how much (or how little) beef is in a UK burger. "The presence of horsemeat in value beefburgers has caused a furore. But what is usually in the patties? It has been a sobering week for fans of the beefburger. Tesco have used full-page adverts in national newspapers to apologize for selling burgers in the UK that were found to contain 29% horsemeat. Traces of horse DNA were also detected by the Food Standards Agency of Ireland in products sold by Iceland, Lidl, Aldi and Dunnes. But a beefburger rarely contains 100% beef."
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How Much Beef Is In Your Burger?

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  • Oblig (Score:4, Informative)

    by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo@NOspaM.world3.net> on Sunday January 20, 2013 @05:13PM (#42641567) Homepage

    Mmm... unlisted percentages of wheat flour, water, beef fat, soya protein isolate, salt, onion powder, yeast, sugar, barley malt extract, garlic powder, white pepper extract, celery extract and onion extract...

  • Re:Well no (Score:5, Informative)

    by Osgeld (1900440) on Sunday January 20, 2013 @05:16PM (#42641595)

    I make burgers out of 100% beef and they are not steak

  • UK only. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Sunday January 20, 2013 @05:36PM (#42641761)
    I believe the article was referring to the UK. I don't know what the laws are there, but here in the U.S., a company would be closed down quickly if it were found the meat had been adulterated like that.

    Sure, there was the flap over "pink slime"... but that was still beef, though it was washed in ammonia. I don't think it was the meat people were bitching about so much as the ammonia.

    It should be noted that only one company produced the ammonia-soaked "pink slime", and they don't do it anymore. Other companies process trimmings, too, but they already used other methods to keep the meat bacteria-free.)
  • Re:Actually (Score:5, Informative)

    by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Sunday January 20, 2013 @05:40PM (#42641785) Journal

    Unless you get a horse that has been in the US racing circuit and has been fed steroids, antibiotics and bog knows what for most of it's life. I'd bet that the horsemeat in the British burgers was never tested for same.

    Inthe EU, every horse is required (by EU law) to have a record of medications given to it in its entire lifetime. In particular, the record must state whether any particular item given would render it "unfit" for human consumption. There are several such medications, but they are not commonly used; all horses I know of would be fit for consumption on that basis. Of course, inspection of the horse's carcase by a veterinarian is required before it is deemed suitable for use as meat, since eating something which had died from certain diseases might be unpleasant, whatever the animal.

  • Re:Well no (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mr_Silver (213637) on Sunday January 20, 2013 @05:42PM (#42641813)

    So nothing in there but beef? How does it all stick together?

    Here is a video of a TV show Heston Blumenthal [wikipedia.org] did in the UK, which demonstrated how you can make a burger using only chunks of sirloin and salt as the binding agent [youtu.be].

    Looks pretty good to me!

  • by alexander_686 (957440) on Sunday January 20, 2013 @06:06PM (#42642027)

    IIRC, all horse processing plants in the US have been shut down. (They exported most of their product) It has been a disaster.

    A lot of people who own horses are lower middle class families – they can afford the horse until it’s 15 years old (when the vet bills start up) or the economy crashes. They are few takes of these types of free horses and the local animal shelter is normally full.

    In the past they were taken off the knackers. Now – well – where we live there were a rash of horses that were “set free” in the local state park. The rangers rounded them up and had to shoot them (yes, they did try to find homes from them – but see above).

  • Re:Actually (Score:3, Informative)

    by pswPhD (1528411) on Sunday January 20, 2013 @06:11PM (#42642065) Homepage

    I have had Horse Steak while in Switzerland. It was very tasty and tasted of, well, horse, and unlike any other meat I've had.
    That said, BEEFburgers should contain beef. If I wanted a horse burger I would buy one.

  • Re:McDonalds! (Score:5, Informative)

    by robthebloke (1308483) on Sunday January 20, 2013 @06:56PM (#42642399)
    No, the name 'angus beef' has legal protection. Either it's certified angus beef, or it's breaking the law. It's one of the few meat products McD sells which the consumer actually knows what it is.....
  • Re:Actually (Score:4, Informative)

    by MightyYar (622222) on Sunday January 20, 2013 @07:45PM (#42642725)

    It's a taboo in the US, like dog meat.

  • Recipie (Score:4, Informative)

    by JBMcB (73720) on Sunday January 20, 2013 @08:40PM (#42643023)

    Go to a butcher shop and have them grind you up some fresh serloin.

    Heat up an iron skillet. Fry up a few rashers of bacon (I like Wright's) until it's nice and crispy. Take the bacon out of the skillet when done.

    Dice up some yellow onion and sautee it in the bacon grease. When done, set aside.

    Form the ground sirloin into thin patties, throw on a little salt and pepper, and cook them in the bacon/onion grease. It will take some trial and error to figure out how to get a good medium using this technique - on my regular sized burner on medium-high heat it takes 2-3 minutes a side. If you want cheese, put a slice of American on a minute or two before you pull them off. The heat from the skillet will melt the cheese onto the burger. You can put on any kind of cheese you like, but American is designed to be melted onto things, so it works out the best.

    When finished, heat up some sesame seed burger buns in the microwave for about twenty seconds. Combine the burger, onion and bacon in the bun. Optionally add mustard - though they are so good I usually don't add anything else.

    You're welcome :)

  • The real issue (Score:4, Informative)

    by Grayhand (2610049) on Sunday January 20, 2013 @11:02PM (#42643767)
    "What on earth did you think they put in them? Prime cuts of delicious free-range, organic, rare breed, heritage beef, grass-fed, Eton-educated, humanely slaughtered, dry-aged [beef], hand-ground by fairies...?"

    The point isn't what do you expect but what it "should" contain. The article at makes makes it seem foolish to expect hamburger to be made of beef and you should feel luck it has any meat at all. The fillers and horsemeat aren't about making a cheaper more afordable product as many suggest it's about maximizing profits. I looked it up and if you ground the whole dressed carcass including the expensive cuts it'd only be around $2 a pound not counting grinding costs. The point being they use the absolute worst cuts and even that is too good so they cut it with pink slime and other fillers and even that isn't enough so they add in horse meat. The label needs to reflect the actual ingredients and proportions. If corporations could get away with it they'd sell us beef flavored sawdust and sell it for the same price meat should sell for.

  • Re:McDonalds! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Hatta (162192) on Monday January 21, 2013 @10:41AM (#42646733) Journal

    Beef and beef by products. Google 'pink slime' to get the muckraker version. They (McFood) did remove it eventually.

    The travesty with that is that the "pink slime" is real beef. Muscle tissue. Not the highest quality, but that doesn't matter at all in hamburger. Now all the people who processed that beef are out of jobs, and since it's all geting thrown away instead of eaten our beef prices are higher. Good job.

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