| Boycott Watch spoke to a few professional meat cutters,
a.k.a. butchers, to learn about the differences in beef offered in supermarkets
and small butcher shops. Our questions revolved around the appearance of the
beef presented to the consumer. First we asked about why beef in supermarkets
is far more 'red' than kosher beef. The answer is rather interesting, and is
rooted in the processing.
One step of preparing kosher beef is salting to absorbing the
blood, and later the salt is washed off removing the blood with it. This is not
table salt, but 'kosher salt' for which the name is a misnomer. It is not that
the salt has a kosher certification - pure salt is kosher even without a
certification, but rather it is a course salt that is used in the koshering
process, thus the name. It is so course that the salt is, for the most part,
not absorbed into the beef. Table salt, on the other hand, is so fine it would
be completely absorbed into the beef making it inedible. While some people
claim kosher beef is saltier than non-kosher beef, it is more of a matter of
the amount of blood remaining in the non-salted beef which people are tasting,
rather than actual salt from the koshering process. For consistency of taste,
non-kosher markets will generally not offer salted beef.
That naturally leads us to our second question about why
non-kosher / non-salted beef is usually has a brighter more red appearance than
kosher beef. This is because fresher and non-salted beef will have whiter fat
because the blood has not been absorbed into the fat. The fat in non-kosher and
non-salted beef will absorbs the blood over time and will even become redder
over time. This is especially the case in ground beef where the fat is ground
into smaller particles, allowing it to absorb more blood, regardless of how
fresh it is.
People also wonder why ground beef is sometimes brown or
purple under the red outside. There is a rumor that stores use a so-called
"dynamite stick" or red dye to color the ground beef red, but that is
not true. The USDFA has strict rules forbidding food coloring in beef. The
truth is, it is just a simple matter of oxygen contact, and is
by the American Meat Institute.
Now you know what you are really seeing when looking at beef.
We at Boycott Watch hope this makes you a more informed, thus smarter consumer.