Most people probably don’t picture the cow that gave them their hamburger, but it turns out that that would be an almost impossible task anyway.
McDonald’s, for example, admits on its UK website that because of the scale of production needed to satisfy the company:
“The resulting batches of minced beef can be made up of the meat from more than 100 cattle.” [Link]
That may not trouble your inner carnivore, but it should make you conscious about food safety. After all, if the meat from one cow is infected with a pathogen, it will infect all the meat it is blended with.
That’s why McDonald’s used to use ammonium hydroxide to kill E-Coli, and has taken a substantial public relations hit for it.
The company says it has discontinued this practice, which is probably a good thing since the U.S. National Library of Medicine lists a whole bunch of poisonous side effects from exposure to sources of ammonium hydroxide, like household cleaning products.
Chef Jamie Oliver was not impressed to learn of the use of this chemical in fast food, and decried it on his show. McDonald’s denies that Oliver’s pressure is what forced them to change their recipe.