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Tuna Scrape: the next "Pink Slime"?

In the wake of a spicy tuna salmonella outbreak, a recent article at NPR points out that some sushi products are using "tuna backmeat," meaning the stuff they scrape off the backbone of a tuna fish; it looks like ground product. The article goes on to say that there's a difference - while pink slime is cooked, centrifuged, and sprayed with ammonia, tuna backmeat is just that. Food Safety News analyzes the product and discusses the recent Salmonella Bareilly incident.

As most restaurants' lawyers like to remind us right on the menu (the money-grubbing bastards), eating raw seafood can be risky - but that's not really what prompted me to write this essayette.

When I was a kid, there were two kinds of tuna (sorry, Charlie, tunas with good taste are still not on the menu); Solid white Albacore, and chunk light. The difference was minimal when I was growing up - chunk light was darker, and you could tell the meat wasn't all from the same cut - but it was hearty and solid just the same.

For years now, I've been noticing a trend - what they sell as "chunk light" tuna can ofthen be nothing more than tuna shreds in water - in short, just a level up from tuna backmeat. I've opened some cans of tuna - and this is not limited to any specific brand, but rather happens all across the spectrum - that look like nothing more than tuna purée. Drain off the water, and what's left has absolutely nothing "chunk" about it.

It happens often enough that I can't believe it's just a fluke, like the last few cans on a packaging run; the tuna companies are selling us stuff that in previous years would have been sold for dog food or other non-human consumption.

In the final analysis, it's never hurt me, and probably doesn't taste any different than the product I was accustomed to so long ago, but it's the principle of the thing. Calling a product one thing and delivering another is just another example of how far corporate America is willing to go to squeeze another few pennies out of the bottom line.

Children are starving in Africa (and in the USA) as I write this; our government is trampling on our rights, and people of any number of groups across the world are being abused and discriminated against. And, having vented about this for a few minutes, I can forget about it and move on to more important things.

The Old Wolf has spoken. That is all.

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Apr. 23rd, 2012 05:06 am (UTC)
Ah, so it wasn't just me. I was very disappointed with my last can of chunk lite tuna. Pfui, I was hoping it was a fluke.

As for sushi, I make my own when I can afford it, and I buy frozen ahi steaks to make my spicy tuna rolls. So MY sushi is good for you. =^_^=
Apr. 23rd, 2012 09:44 pm (UTC)
Companies do this all the time, use cheaper stuff because the stuff they've been using is getting more expensive, or they'll reduce the package size and charge the same. I rarely buy tuna enough to notice this, whatever tuna I do buy is packed in oil instead of water. However, the "pink slime" stuff is nothing more than meat thats scraps from other cuts of meat. Its always been used, instead of being wasted.

I've noticed you can no longer get a 12 oz six pack of cola, its instead a 7.5 ounce can in a 8 pack that's about the same price. (saves 12 ounces or 1 can)

This will happen for as long as we have the out of control inflation. The government does not include food, gas or housing costs as part of inflation, which makes it look more like a rosy 3-5% instead of 8-12% a year.

Edited at 2012-04-23 09:47 pm (UTC)
Apr. 23rd, 2012 09:54 pm (UTC)
Great comment.
Apr. 23rd, 2012 10:20 pm (UTC)
Is that a good thing or bad thing in this case?


The Old Wolf

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