Yesterday, when I should have been watching football or talking to my wife’s relatives, I got caught up in the “Bizarre Foods” Marathon on the Travel Channel. Andrew Zimmern is my new hero. It’s not because I like being disgusted. It’s much more the travel and culture stuff that I liked. Besides, there was very little on the show (and I saw at least six of them) that I found truly gross. Take this clip for example:
This one in particular grossed out my brother-in-law, to which my response was, “Have you ever eaten a cheap hot dog?” I knew that historically, hot dogs were the perfect food for meat packers to use to get rid of excess organ meat. Guess what? Still happening today. From the USDA’s Food and Safety Inspection Service:
“Frankfurter, Hot Dog, Wiener, or Bologna With Byproducts” or “With Variety Meats” are made according to the specifications for cooked and/or smoked sausages (see above), except they consist of not less than 15% of one or more kinds of raw skeletal muscle meat with raw meat byproducts. The byproducts (heart, kidney, or liver, for example) must be named with the derived species and be individually named in the ingredients statement.
Get it at the ball park and you won’t see the label. I also thought this (from the same page) was very interesting:
The definition of “meat” was amended in December 1994 to include any “meat” product that is produced by advanced meat/bone separation machinery. This meat is comparable in appearance, texture, and composition to meat trimmings and similar meat products derived by hand. This machinery separates meat from bone by scraping, shaving, or pressing the meat from the bone without breaking or grinding the bone. Product produced by advanced meat recovery (AMR) machinery can be labeled using terms associated with hand-deboned product (e.g., “pork trimmings” and “ground pork”).
How exactly is this different from eating a baby pig cooked in goose fat? If anything, eating the baby pig sounds safer.