Although this isn’t really the season for an E. coli O157:H7 infection – such infections are most common in the summer and spring – a recent New York Times article (requires free registration) about the lengths to which slaughterhouses are going to eliminate such infections got me to thinking.
There are a couple of reasons we’ve had this plague visited upon us: we mistreat our beef cattle and we mistreat ourselves. There isn’t a whole lot we can do to deal with the mistreatment of cattle on a feedlot, but there is a lot we can do to keep from mistreating ourselves. Before we get into the steps we can take to protect ourselves from E. coli O157, let’s take a deeper look at where this bug comes from and what it does.
There are countless millions of harmless E. Coli bacteria in the digestive systems of cattle just as there are in our own. But when cows are fed on grain, which contains many more calories per pound than does grass or hay, they gain weight and fatten more quickly, and the conditions in their GI tracts changes to favor E. coli O157. If the cattle are ill or stressed – conditions common to a feedlot – they become even more susceptible. The first E. coli O157 infection was reported in 1982, which makes it likely that the bug mutated from a non-pathogenic E. coli around that time.
Feedlot operators basically pack cattle together in close quarters in which they stand or lie in manure all day, feed them an unnatural diet that changes feedlot_cattle_color.jpgthe environment within their digestive systems, make them sick, treat them with antibiotics to fight the infections such conditions cause, add growth hormones to increase weight gain a little more, and ultimately slaughter them. Most of the beef you buy has suffered this fate. Even the beef that ends up labeled ‘Organic’ pretty much goes through the same process except it gets fed ‘organic’ grain and doesn’t get the antibiotics or the hormones, which is an improvement for you but not much of one for the cow. The meat from these cattle can still be contaminated since the majority of the E. coli arises as a function of grain feeding.
As these infected animals defecate they add more E. coli O157 to all the manure in which they live the last few weeks of their lives. If you’ve ever seen a feedlot you’ll know what I’m talking about when I tell you that these cattle are covered in manure. It’s all over their legs, bellies and usually pretty much everywhere. And this manure coating is swarming with E. coli of all kinds including the deadly O157:H7 variety. When the cattle are killed and processed some of this bad E. coli from their hides makes its way into the meat because it’s virtually impossible to get rid of all of it.
It doesn’t really matter if there is a little bad E. coli on the steaks we buy because the bugs are on the outside of the steak and the cooking process kills them. The problem arises mainly from hamburger because your pound of hamburger meat can come from several different animals (your steak, obviously, comes from only one), and the E. coli can – and often is – deep inside the ground beef. If you (or McDonald’s) doesn’t cook the hamburger enough to really get the inside cooked, you could get a nasty dose of E. coli O157:H7.
Here is an excerpt from the Times article on the steps taken to rid the meat of E. coli, which shows where hamburger comes from:

Once the animal is killed, the hide is removed, first by knives and then by machines, in a manner intended to keep it away from the exposed carcass, starting near the anus and hind legs.
After each cut is made to remove the hide, a worker follows behind with a steam vacuum to kill and suck away microbes. The carcass, pulled along on an overhead rail, is then sent into a cabinet with pivoting nozzles that soak it with water at about 185 degrees.
After the head is removed and before the animal is gutted, the carcass is sprayed with a mild acid wash, again to reduce the level of microbes. Besides removing the hide, one of the most critical steps to prevent E. coli 0157:H7 comes when the animal is eviscerated and its internal organs are removed.
The workers who remove the organs are careful not to cut the bowel, which could spread manure, and a worker looks over the internal organs to make sure the intestines are intact. The carcasses are then sawed in half, and the cut line is steam vacuumed.
In one of the most important interventions, the split carcasses are sent into a 30-foot-long, hissing stainless-steel cabinet, where rows of nozzles spray them with steam for at least 13 seconds before they enter a second chamber that douses them with a disinfectant for at least 15 seconds.
The last step comes after the carcasses have been cut into steaks and roasts and leftover scraps, with the latter tossed into 2,000-pound bins for grinding into hamburger meat. Workers are assigned to cut at least 60 four-inch by one-half-inch strips from each lot of trimmings; a lot is five 2,000-pound bins.
Those samples are then ferried to a laboratory, where they are mixed with solution that encourages E. coli 0157:H7 to grow. After incubating for eight hours, the samples are tested, and if positive for the germ, that lot is diverted from being used as ground beef. Instead, it is used in cooked products or otherwise processed to kill the microbes.

All this and a few bugs still make it through.
Why don’t cows get sick from E. coli O157? Because the bacterium isn’t able to bind to the walls of the GI tracts of cattle. In humans, however, it’s a different story. The E. coli O157 can and does bind to the cells that line the human intestinal tract leading to all the problems it causes.
In humans E. coli O157 infections usually involve bloody diarrhea and sometimes kidney involvement. Although the diarrhea is severe, most people recover from it without long lasting problems. But about 8 percent of those with the infection can develop a form of kidney failure that can be fatal. Most recover from the kidney failure but many continue to have such problems as blindness, paralysis, and intermittent or even persistent kidney failure over the long term. It is not a disease to be trifled with.
Despite the fact that people aren’t eating all that much more beef now as compared to before and despite the fact that the beef industry is now shelling out $350 million per year to keep the bug out of the meat supply, the number of E. coli O157 infections are on the rise. Why? A couple of reasons, I think.
First, like any bacteria, E. coli O157 tends to reproduce and spread. I would imagine that it would be found in many more feedlots now than it would have been 10 years ago. And more people are eating their beef as fast food these days, which means that more is consumed as hamburger. Finally – and I’ll admit that this is speculative on my part – more and more people are obese, insulin-resistant and suffer from heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD). What does this have to do with it? Plenty, in my opinion.
Prilosec, Nexium and all the other proton pump inhibiting drugs are some of the most widely prescribed drugs in this country. People can now by Tagamet, Pepsid and other H2 inhibitors over the counter. And people gobble Tums, Rolaids and other antacids by the ton. What do all the drugs have in common? They all treat GERD, and they all do so either by neutralizing stomach acid or by preventing its production. In either case the acidity of the stomach decreases, which means that the symptoms causes by this stomach acid getting on the wrong tissues (the esophagus and throat) are lessened or eliminated. But at what cost?
As my grandmother would have said, God put that strong acid in your stomach for a reason. And indeed He did. When food travels through the esophagus and dumps into the stomach it goes into a strong acid bath. This acid breaks down the large proteins into much smaller peptide chains and even individual amino acids, which is the first real phase of digestion. When this acid mixture then makes its way into the first portion of the small intestine, the acid stimulates the production and release of strong alkaline digestive juices that neutralize the acid and activate many of the enzymes that operate in an alkaline environment. If you reduce the amount of acid in the stomach with drugs or antacids in an effort to reduce the symptoms of GERD, you end up impairing the very first step in the digestive process. Reduced acid in the stomach means compromised protein digestion and it means reduced production of the alkaline digestive juices. Reduced alkaline digestive juices mean the enzymes don’t work as well. Getting rid of or decreasing stomach acid – which the TV ads all tell us is a good thing – markedly hobbles the entire digestive process. It’s hardly any wonder that those who suffer from GERD and take these meds usually pay with problems throughout their GI tracts.
Bad as it is, the above scenario has nothing to do with E. coli O157 infections. Those come as another function of reduced stomach acid. The strong acid in the stomach is on the front lines of our immune defense system. If we eat bacteria and/or viruses (which we do all the time) or breathe in bacteria and/or viruses that get stuck in the mucus of our respiratory tree and are moved to the throat and swallowed (which we do all the time), the strong acid in the stomach kills these bacteria before they can invade and cause us problems. If we’ve reduced the strength of this stomach acid, we’re leaving ourselves open to infections we wouldn’t otherwise get.
A few studies have looked at anti-GERD drugs and pneumonia infections, and it turns out that those taking these medications are indeed more prone to pneumonia. I would suspect they would be more prone to E. coli O157 infections as well. The stomachs of cattle are less acidic than the stomachs of humans, so it stands to reason that human stomach acid would go a long way toward killing E. coli O157 before they get to the bowel where they cause the problems.
I have only anecdotal information on this front, but I think it is more than a little suggestive. Whenever people travel from the US to Mexico they tend to eat food contaminated by a type of E. coli that is different than the strain that normally inhabits their GI tracts. This strange E. coli then causes what we all know as the Turistas or traveler’s diarrhea. It has been my experience on many trips to Mexico with numerous people that those who have GERD and take acid reducing drugs are always the ones who get diarrhea and/or get it the worst.
I would be interested in any experiences readers may have on the subject of acid reduction and traveler’s diarrhea. Please comment if you have experience.
Now, getting back to the cattle, we can get rid of the E. coli O157:H7. How? By switching back to grass or hay as our feed for cattle. A number of studies have shown that switching cattle from grains to roughage (grass or hay) drastically reduces the amount of E. coli O157:H7 in their manure. One study (click here for full text) performed by USDA researchers in 2003 showed that

generic E. coli populations declined 1000-fold within 5 d[ays], and the ability of the fecal generic E. coli population to survive an acid shock similar to the human gastric-stomach decreased.

The take home messages are several: always cook your hamburger meat through and through; eat mainly grass fed beef; and maintain a normal stomach acid.


  1. Before we even get to fixing the grass-fed beef problem, you have to get past these people: http://www.realsimple.com/realsimple/content/meal/0,21770,1008780-6,00.html Check out this ‘expert’ they got as they summarize all those plans. Notice how Protein Power isn’t mentioned?
    I checked through their diet plan and it is easy to tell that their goal is nothing more than the promotion of a weak-willed vegetarian’s diet. In fact, their so-called ‘expert’ proclaimed the vegetarian diet plan as the best.
    Jesus wept.

  2. If I were eating only grass-fed meat, here is what would happen:
    – dying of rabbit starvation because grass-fed has so little fat
    – becoming poor because grass-fed is so expensive
    – never eating fresh meat because the only grass-fed meat available around here is frozen
    So I’m gonna stick to my grain-fed beef and not care that much about E.coli O157-H7 because I have strong stomach acid (which I supplement with betaine HCl because for unknown reasons, it is not as strong as it should be…), a strong immune system and a digestive tract not overpopulated with nasty bugs fed by a constant stream of carbs.
    Hi Max–
    You can get plenty of fat in grass-fed beef, so that’s not really a problem. It is expensive, and it typically is frozen if you don’t have a local purveyor. If I were going to have grass-fed beef for only one thing, it would be hamburger.
    If you avoid the carbs, you’re not likely to have GERD. Betaine HCL will help with the stomach acid, as will taking a little bitters before meals.

  3. It is my understanding that the grain feeding of cattle makes their digestive system more acidic and the “bad” E.coli learn to adjust to this environment. So when they hit our stomach acid it is not a problem. In other words if the cows GI tract remains less acidic than the human gut, which it does when eating grass, it could not train the E.coli to survive in an acid environment. But once this has happened our acidic stomachs do not provide the protection they otherwise would have.
    To an extent you are right. But even with grain as their primary feed, the GI tracts of cattle are not as acidic as ours (assuming ours are functioning normally). If we combine a bacterium that has developed to survive an acid of a certain strength with the lowered acid content of a stomach that has been treated for GERD, we have a set up for trouble.

  4. I eat grass fed animals like cow or pig and meat is much better. I never gain any weight before I moved to states where every animal and bird is stuffed with corn. Now I can’t eat as I did before because I will gain weight very fast.
    So let the cow it what is should: grass.

  5. This hit a cord with me. Even though I am a skinny college student, I suffered from GERD when living in the dorms. My diet then was vegetarian, filled with breads, cakes, pasta, and other carbs. I guess an occasional beer and pizza set it over the edge. The changes in diet my doctor recommended, to low fat and high carb, did not work and I was put on proton pump inhibitors for six months. Yes, I stopped having pain, but I developed chronic salmonella, had to be put on nasty antibiotics, and ended up worse off, with both upper and lower GI problems.
    Going on a low-carb diet this summer pretty much changed my life. I can’t eat muffins any more, but it’s nice knowing that my stomach acid is allowed to do its job. I hope the word gets out to other GERD sufferers that there is hope with this sort of diet!
    Hi Melissa–
    Thanks for the interesting medical/dietary history. I’m sure it will be enlightening to many readers.

  6. I’ve asked the butcher at my local grocery store, and he says the ground beef in the meat counter is ground right on the premises (rather than being shipped to the store already ground up in a factory or slaughterhouse). Would this make it less prone to the E. coli infestation? I love a good rare hamburger. Do I really have to start eating them well done?
    It makes it less likely because the ground beef comes from a single cow whereas the ground beef in a McDonald’s hamburger comes from many cows, making infection more likely.

  7. Thanks for the article on grassfed beef and ecoli. I try to purchase all of the meat that I eat at home from grassfed animals. Eating out that isn’t really possible.
    This year I have purchased some lovely beef from Morris Grassfed Beef in San Juan Bautista, CA. It’s a deep red, almost burgundy in color, with fantastic flavor. Unfortunately, Max Thunder is correct about the lack of fat. The beef has practically no marbling or external fat. Joe Morris told me that this was due to the lack of rainfall this year, but I do struggle with finding additional fat sources to make up for it. It is frozen and cost me $6.15/lb. About half was ground beef and the other half steaks, roasts and ribs.
    All in all I am very pleased with the meat and plan to purchase more, but wish that it was (much) fattier.
    Maybe we’ll get more rain next year. You could always grind it and mix it with suet, but I’m not sure where suet comes from.

  8. I buy fresh grass-fed hamburger at Trader Joe’s, and I cook it rare. I would quit eating hamburger before I would eat it well-done. I’ve been eating it rare for years. Before Trader Joe’s opened here, I bought Coleman’s natural beef. My stomach acid is good. It would be interesting to know an actual figure for the chances of the nasty E.Coli showing up in grass-fed beef that has been handled properly, compared, say, with the hamburger used in fast-food restaurants. I’ve read that the chances of finding Salmonella in eggs is about 1 in 20,000, Even though I eat eggs (lightly poached or over easy) every day, it will take a long time to get up to 20,000! I feel the same way about hamburger.
    I think the odds of E. Coli O157:H7 showing up hamburger from grass fed beef is negligible. Go for it nice and rare. But send back any rare hamburger you might get from McDonald’s.

  9. You didn’t mention that low-carb eating, at least for me, almost totally eliminates GERD. And the more carbs I eat, the more I notice acid reflux symptoms. So eating low-carb keeps the stomach acid in the stomach, where it belongs.
    Pretty much so, but there are some other factors at work. Take a look at this post from a year or so back.

  10. I ate 100% raw food (including meat, eggs, dairy) for a year and a half. At first, I was going to great hassle and expense for grass-fed. But over time, I developed the symptoms of omega-6 deficiency. Which is odd, because there’s plenty of omega-6 in those foods. Eventually, I got tired of wasting money, seeing my health decline. I felt better without eating ordinary food. Also, my wallet felt better. I wouldn’t worry about eating raw meat, but the raw diets are all hype. They mainly work because of all the foods they get rid of; refined sugar, vegetable oils, and so forth. I never got sick from raw ground beef and lamb. If you’re doing low-carb, you’re probably less likely to get food poisoning. I had an occasional loose stools, which happens on any diet. I’d worry more about avoiding vegetable oils like corn, soy, safflower, canola. Those are truly harmful, in my experience. I use virgin coconut oil, butter, suet, and palm oil.
    Hi Bruce–
    You’re right about diet’s working because of the foods they get rid of. That’s one of the things that makes the diet business so difficult: almost any diet is better than the standard American diet (SAD). Even the Ornish diet gets rid of a lot of crap that people would otherwise be eating. Because all these diets work to whatever extent because they are an improvement on the SAD, their promoters will always have testimonials. The quest shouldn’t be for a better diet, but for the best diet. I don’t know if the Protein Power diet is the absolute best, but I think it’s a whole lot closer than a lot of others. And MD and I are constantly fiddling with it as newer scientific information comes to light, making it, I hope, edge closer and closer to the optimal diet.

  11. G’day Mike,
    I have been having some real trouble with GERD for the past six months, despite being on a low carb diet (30 crams or less) for two years because I am a type 1 diabetic (for 20 years). It’s got to the point where antacids do nothing and I am being woken several times a night. I have been contemplating going to the doctor for stronger meds.
    I have been told to reduce my fat intake but of course that would leave me pretty hungry – no carbs, no fat. Plus, there is no way that I would go back to eating the way my dieticians recommended. My life used to be a roller-coaster nightmare of high and low sugar levels before carb retriction.
    Any idea on why this may be happening? Any dietary recommendations that I might try which could reduce the symptoms and keep me away from stronger GERD medication?
    Thanks for the blog.
    Hi Clint–
    The recommendation to restrict fat is kind of bogus. It seems that doctors the world over resort to that as their first recommendation despite there not being any data to support it.
    I’ve had success using a couple of treatments along with a low-carb diet. First, I alway try to wean patients from antacids and acid-lowering drugs because you need stomach acid. There is some evidence that a normal stomach acid washing against the lower-esophageal sphincter (the muscular ring that closes the bottom of the esophagus preventing acid from getting in) causes this ring to close more firmly.
    Second, I have patients get deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) tabs (DGL can be obtained from any health food store) and chew a few of them before every meal and sometimes after the meal. Also I recommend that patients get bitters (also obtainable at health food stores) and sip a little and hold it in the mouth for a few moments before the meal. I’ve found these treatments to be remarkably effective along with, of course, the low-carb diet.
    A commercially available alcoholic bitter that I kind of like is Fernet Branca, a drink I first learned about in Italy when I had way overeaten. You should be able to find this in just about any liquor store.
    Keep me posted.

  12. I recently filled my freezer with one half of a range fed steer. I am actually saving dollars over buying store bought grain fed beef on an as needed basis. Plus it gives me a variety of cuts I wouldn’t otherwise buy, being stuck in my meal planning rut. The flavor and consistency reminds me of the moose meat I grew up on.

  13. Hi Dr. Eades,
    Since E. Coli “normal strains” are in everybody’s gut, how could people detect E. coli O157’s presence?
    I’ve read that you sometimes have neither diarrhea nor fever.
    Which analysis should I do to know for sure?
    Thanks a lot.
    If you have E. coli O157:H7 you’ll know it without testing. If you have an infection, you’ll have bloody diarrhea and be extremely sick.
    I hope you don’t have it. Besides it’s not common in Italy. I don’t think there are many feedlots there.

  14. If I were eating only grass-fed meat, here is what would happen:
    – dying of rabbit starvation because grass-fed has so little fat
    – becoming poor because grass-fed is so expensive
    – never eating fresh meat because the only grass-fed meat available around here is frozen

    If you custom order your grass-fed beef, you’d be surprised at how much fat it can have on it…the stuff available in stores is often, IMO, over-trimmed out of fear of fat. We order our beef now by the quarter or half – give the farmer our cutting directions and fat/meat ratio for things like ground beef and also ask for the bones to be able to make stock. We also request the steaks and roasts not be trimmed of visible fat, I’ll do that myself to the level I want, thank you very much.
    I can have my order delivered fresh or frozen and usually choose frozen since it’s easier to move it to the freezer when it arrives….and really, when you’re receiving 100-200 pounds of beef at a time, there is no real point to getting it fresh – you can’t eat it fast enough so it’ll spoil…..frozen works for us!
    You do have to work with your farmer on price….we pay for cut weight and it’s CHEAPER than if I were to buy grain-fed commercial beef in the grocery store, even on sale. You do need a freezer, which pays for itself within about a year (and room for it too).
    I don’t think anyone has to or should eat only grass-fed beef….heck, pastured chickens, hertiage turkeys, wild fish and some game too — rounds out a diet nicely…..along with, of course, lots of non-starchy vegetables!
    Hey Regina–
    Merry Christmas to you and Gil.
    You are, of course, on the money. I’ve gotten some pretty juicy cuts of meat from grass-fed cattle. The taste difference between grass-fed and lot-fed beef comes mainly from the fat, and since a lot of people don’t like the somewhat gamey taste of grass fed do better with the cuts that are less fatty.

  15. This is kinda irrelevant but you would enjoy the link. The first time I tried grass fed beef was a delmonico, my favorite and close to heaven on earth, was from Whole Foods about 7 years ago. I went home and cooked it to what I thought was perfection. After I took one bite, I through the whole thing to the dog. A $16 meal for my pup. It tasted so foul, like gamey liver. Well, I was kinda gun shy on the GF beef. I came across an article in Slate magazine on GF beef and taste. I saw they were comparing big name brands(?) like Allen Brothers (which I’ve heard Rush Limbaugh rave on and on about) and Wagyu beef. I though, Oh boy, the poor GF beef are going to be crushed…based on taste. The article really surprised me http://www.slate.com/id/2152674/
    Makes my mouth water reading it. Death before vegetarianism! ( or because of it)
    Thanks for the kind offer for your book, a present most will appreciate AFTER the holidays are over.
    Hey Robert–
    Thanks for the link. I posted on this Slate article when it came out. Hope whomever gets it enjoys the book.

  16. I would prefer to eat nothing but grass-fed beef but the only place I’ve consistently found it, is at Trader Joes and even then it’s only in ground form (either packages of four patties or one large block), however it is reasonably priced.
    As far as doctors go, I switched to a naturopathic one this year and I’m much happier. My insurance doesn’t pay for it but the half-hour I spend with her costs about the same as 8-10 minutes with an MD. She’s mostly is in agreement with me about diet and very open minded. With some changes in treatment I’ve felt better this fall than I have in a long time (even with low carb I still have some thyroid and other autoimmune system issues).
    Hi Anita–
    I’m glad you scored with a good doctor. I’ve worked with a few naturopathic physicians and have been impressed. For the most part they seem much more willing to learn – especially if nutrition is involved – than do regular MDs.

  17. Replying to Chris – my favorite part of the Real Simple article was:
    “Eating smaller, frequent meals is a good weight-loss tactic ….”
    No, no, no, no, no! Three meals is the ideal. I maintain that if you routinely need to eat more than 3 times a day, you are not eating properly. After the first month or so of low-carb, I almost never need a snack. And when I do need a snack, it’s usually because I’ve run out of eggs and have therefore not consumed enough protein at breakfast.

  18. Hi Dr. E,
    My free copy of PPLP arrived yesterday. Thank you very much for your generosity. Thanks also for the tip about DGL and bitters. I looked for bitters once in my health food store, and they didn’t have a clue. I never thought to check out a liquor store!
    Just to let you know, I have stopped taking Zantac as of last Saturday and so far I am doing fine. I have been exploring the sleep (melatonin) connection to curb reflux and trying to increase my own supply naturally by getting to bed earlier and sleeping in a very dark room. I just finished reading “Lights Out” by TS Wiley. I know that she is a controversial figure, but what she says makes a lot of sense for me. I feel like a missing variable in my own personal health equation has been filled in. If for the best possible health, we should eat like Paleolithic man (low-carb) and exercise like Paleolithic man (Slow Burn), then shouldn’t we also be sleeping like Paleolithic man? Which means that at this time of year especially, we should be getting 9 to 10 hours per night and almost hibernating in the more northern latitudes.
    Since melatonin has been found to protect the lining of the esophagus, what if everyone has a leaky LES most of the time, and it is the job of the melatonin in our digestive tract (of which there is usually plenty as I understand it) to protect us? I mean, wouldn’t it be strange if a living muscle needed to be held in tight contraction all day long except for when we swallow?
    I am also wondering about salt. The parietal cells of our stomach produce the H for HCl, but where does the Cl come from? Somewhere I read that we need good old salt (NaCl) for the chloride. I have been following a pretty salt-free diet since I eat no packaged or processed foods at all and didn’t add any salt when I cooked. I have switched to using Celtic sea salt to increase the amount of acid in my stomach to see if that will help also. Any comments on this?
    Hi Grandma Ann–
    You can usually get Angostura bitters at most decent sized grocery stores. The best way to take any kind of bitters (when used to help with GERD) is to hold a spoonful in your mouth for 10 seconds or so before swallowing. There is something about the bitter taste that stimulates the stomach – just throwing it back and washing it down with water doesn’t work.
    You indeed have (or should have) plenty of melatonin in your GI tract. Melatonin helps maintain the tone of the LES along with helping with the health of the cells in the esophagus (and the rest of the GI tract – that’s why there is a lot of melatonin there). It is the job of the LES to be tight most of the time, and to loosen when food approaches.
    I agree that salt is a good thing. Celtic sea salt – the real stuff – is great. I use it on everything. The whole idea that salt is bad ranks right up there in idiocy with the idea that saturated fat is bad for us.

  19. Hiya Dr. Mike,
    We paid between $2.50 & $3.50 per pound for grass-fed beef. Had to buy a half beeve to get that price but it fit easily into our freezer space…. depends on the animal, of course. Find a farmer on http://www.eatwild.com, http://www.localharvest.org, http://www.newfarm.org, etc… there are others, even Craigslist!
    With all that said I much prefer the taste of store-bought. The meat that we got from the farmer was incredibly lean and a very dark red, super sticky and dense. Probably much more protein per pound than the water-pumped stuff from the store, but the flavor is quite strong and I have a hard time with it.
    Oh well, can’t have everything.

  20. “There isn’t a whole lot we can do to deal with the mistreatment of cattle on a feedlot.”
    Yuh-huh! Yes there is!
    Buy your meat local from farmers who take care of their cattle and grass-feed them. If buying a whole cow is too much for your family, get a co-op together and buy half a cow. Or a quarter cow. Or whatever suits your needs.
    It may not be CONVENIENT… but it IS do-able. And if enough people stop buying the grain-fed, ill-treated feedlot cowbeef, maybe McDonald’s will go out of business…
    okay, maybe that’s far-fetched… but a girl can dream, can’t she?

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