Tuesday, April 27, 2004

OVERHEARD ON NPR'S MARKETPLACE MORNING REPORT: AMR


Or the common acronym for less pleasantly named Advanced Meat Recovery Systems.


Taste the meaty goodness!

From the USDA: AMR systems remove the attached skeletal muscle and edible tissues from carcasses without breaking or crushing bones. This machinery separates meat by scraping, shaving or pressing the muscle and edible tissue away from the bone. However, unlike traditional mechanical separation, AMR machinery cannot break, grind, crush or pulverize bones to separate muscle tissue. Bones must emerge essentially intact and in natural physical conformation.

In January 1995, USDA’s definition of meat was amended to include product from advanced meat/bone separation systems. Meat derived from this method is comparable in texture and composition to meat trimmings and similar to hand-deboned products so it does not require special labeling. AMR product is labeled as “meat” on product labeling (i.e., “beef,” “pork,” “beef trimmings,” etc.). Since spinal cord tissue falls outside the definition of “meat,” product produced using AMR systems cannot contain spinal cord tissue.


...Except that inspections indicate that AMR prepared meat too often does contain spinal cord tissue and other nervous system components, the parts which harbor BSE. Such automation obviously reduces the need for crippling repetitive motion labor (not to mention those pesky Teamsters and UFW union members), not to mention eliminating the need for this cheery little tool. However, the use of AMRs does increase the risk to the public of a mad cow disease epidemic.

Beef brains, it's what's for dinner.

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