Myth #1 - “Blood”
Let’s start with an easy one. You have no doubt heard someone order a rare steak “bloody” or seen the red liquid around your raw steak when defrosting it. This is blood, right? Nope. Blood is removed from meat well before the butchering process. Meat contains a myoglobin which is a protein bonded with iron and when exposed to air, it oxidizes and turns red. As the meat cooks, the protein is denatured and the iron transitions from red/purple/pink to tan/brown. That explains the meat color, but what about the “blood”, right? Meat is approximately 75% water and that liquid is water with myoglobin bound to it. So next time someone orders their steak “bloody” - you can say “well actually…”
Myth #2 - “Made in the USA”
When a consumer reads “Product of USA” or “Made in the USA” on a meat label, they expect that the animal was born, raised, and harvested in the USA prior to reaching the meat counter at the grocery store, right? Unfortunately, that is not the case. The country of origin labeling (COOL) requirements were repealed in 2015 as part of trade negotiations with Canada and Mexico to reduce tariffs put on American products when exported. This has allowed the pendulum to swing the other way and allow beef and pork born, raised, and harvested outside of the United States, but imported to the US for final cutting and packaging, to still use the “Product of USA” or “Made in the USA” labeling. Consider ground beef sold in grocery stores across the US that comes from one of the four big meat packing companies which hold together over 80% of the US market (Reuters, 2021) – 20 to 30% of it is imported (Iowa Farm Bureau, April 2023). This allows trim cuts from leaner animals abroad (Brazil, Australia, Uruguay, Canada, Mexico, etc) to be combined with fattier trim cuts domestically to create the specific lean percentages that US consumers are shopping for (80% lean, 85% lean, 90% lean, etc) while keeping prices of ground beef low. There have been recent moves by the current administration under executive order to roll back the repeal of the labeling requirements in 2015 as recently as March 2023 and the USDA is currently reviewing public comment on this roll back. The US Cattlemen's Association has endorsed this change with the hope that it will restore faith in the "Made in the USA" label once again.
Number 2 exemplifies the importance of knowing more about the meat you are serving your family. We are proud of all of our beef from the bone-in ribeyes to the ground beef and use the same quality dry aged beef for all of it. Want to know more? Contact me. The benefit of buying from a small farm is the transparency in the entire process that it allows.
More beef myths coming in Part 2!
Thanks for reading -
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