Lynn Swearingen  (c)copyright 2011 All Rights Reserved


I read with interest this morning a little article (1). It might be hard to miss this little gem, but not for me apparently. My inbox overflowith with the link. Queries, questions, and disbelief. After re-reading the article, a curious question crossed my mind. What exactly is the process of introducing ammonia going to do to me? So of course I started looking…..

The first tinge of alarm came from a 2004 article discussing Mr. Roth’s receipt of the FoodQuality award (2):

“….and the patented method became a federally deemed “generally regarded as safe” (GRAS) process.”

Oh my. That sounds, uhm – tasty. What exactly is “generally recognized as safe” and who decides that? (3):

“A GRAS designation typically exists in one of three forms:

1.Self-affirmed. The manufacturer of this chemical or substance had performed all necessary research, including the formation of an expert panel to review safety concerns, and is prepared to use these findings to defend its product’s GRAS status.

2.FDA-pending. The manufacturer has performed all the aforementioned due diligence, and submitted to the Food & Drug Administration for GRAS approval.

3.No comment. The FDA has reviewed a product’s GRAS claim and responded with “no comment”; i.e., no further challenges on the product’s GRAS status.“

According to the New York Times, ground meat treated with a paint-peeling GRAS process falls under the first heading “Self-Affirmed”. That is what Americans are consuming at the majority of Fast Food restaurants , personally purchased ground beef products and some school lunches.

“In July, school lunch officials temporarily banned their hamburger makers from using meat from a Beef Products facility in Kansas because of salmonella — the third suspension in three years, records show. Yet the facility remained approved by the U.S.D.A. for other customers.”

I wonder if that is because the consumer bears the cost of illness from private purchase in many cases while the School would be responsible for their charges having consumed a “little something extra” with their ground beef.

In this interesting 114 page Thesis from Kansas State University (4) dated August 7, 2009, I especially like this comment:

“Humans suffer ammonia toxicity by inhalation, dermal contact, and ingestion. In the food industry, oral ingestion of ammonia is a major concern. One ammonia contamination occurred in Wisconsin in 1985, the second incident occurred in Illinois in 2002. In the first incident, children suffered from mouth/throat burn and nausea when children consumed contaminated milk with ammonia (530 to 1,524 ppm; normal 1.4 ppm), while vomiting, nausea,headache, and stomachache were the symptoms among the children who consumed contaminated chicken tenders (138 to 2,468 ppm; normal 75 to 95 ppm) in the second incident.The symptoms in the Illinois incident were more severe because of the high levels of ammonia in the tenders. The literature supplies little information about ammonia oral toxicity; more research is needed in this topic.

Excuse me – here I sit and if I can find this data, surely the USDA or FDA can.
Here is another little question. How can it be determined that the symptoms produced after consuming the products (meat or milk) are from E-Coli or ammonia oral toxicity?

The problem with the “Food Safety System” is not the little farmer or producer. It is the System. No amount of additional Regulation, Rules, or processes will make our food safer. What will make our food safer is the American public standing up and demanding in no uncertain terms that the corrupt corporations and government entities get off our plates.

At this point I have decided to abandon the search of the chemical effects on my body and drink some more government supplied Kool-Aid.