There are some dangerous things going on, deep down where no one can see them. They have to do with food too: Depending on your genes, you may not get supersized eating a fast food hamburger, and you won’t get super sick either, because many of these restaurants are now battling E. coli bacteria and salmonella by injecting their ground beef with ammonia.

Beef Products Inc. was looking for a way to use the fat trimmings that are usually sold cheaply to make pet food and cooking oil. These trimmings are very susceptible to bacterial contamination, so they came up with the solution of mixing them with ammonia in order to form a kind of “beef slime,” before injecting back into the meat in order to make it more juicy. This process has been approved by the USDA, and this is the meat used for school lunches.

But besides being unappetizing, it doesn’t work: When school lunches were randomly tested, E. coli and salmonella pathogens were found dozens of times in Beef Products meat: Since 2005, E. coli has been found 3 times and salmonella 48 times, including incidents this year in which two 27,000-pound batches were found to be contaminated.

In the December 30th edition of the New York Times, Michael Moss quotes a Beef Products spokesman as saying, “B.P.I.’s track record demonstrates the progress B.P.I. has made compared to the industry norm. Like any responsible member of the meat industry, we are not perfect.”

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