Tom Philpott writes on Grist:
Few who saw the documentary Food Inc. will forget the scene involving Beef Products Inc., a South Dakota company that makes a widely used hamburger filler product.
No other industrial-meat company allowed director Robert Kenner to enter the shop floor with his cameras. In sharp contrast, a Beef Products executive invited the Food Inc. crew to record his company’s inner workings. The man is clearly proud of his company’s product. “We think we can lessen the incidence of E. Coli 0157:H7,” he says.
The scene, a clip of which appears above, features the Beef Products executive talking over a scene straight out of Chaplin’s Modern Times: a vast network of steaming tubes, with people in protective gear and face masks wandering about fussing with dials. Evidently, scraps of cow flesh, swept up from slaugtterhouse floors and pulverized into a kind of paste, are moving through the tubes, subjected to a lashings of ammonium hydroxide to kill bacteria.The scene ends with those heavily protected workers carefully packing uniform flesh-colored blocks into boxes. “This is our finished product,” the executive declares. He then claims that the product ends up in 70 percent of hamburgers served in the U.S. “In five years we’ll be in 100 percent,” he predicts.
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