Beyond the Barn

Beef tenderness predictor works for pork

A beef tenderness predictor also works on pork chops, says the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).The technology is based on visible and near-infrared reflectance (Vis/NIR) spectroscopy and predicts tenderness without destroying the valuable parts of the carcass. The tenderness predictor was validated using a shear cutting test to measure tenderness. It can be used to predict which USDA Select grade beef steaks will be tender when cooked.

The son of H1N1 spreads, with less panic

On Sept. 1, the home page for the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention  website said: “Since July 2012, 288 people from 10 states are reported to have been infected with an influenza A H3N2 variant virus (H3N2v) with the matrix (M) gene from the 2009 H1N1 pandemic virus. There have been 15 H3N2v-associated hospitalizations and one H3N2v-associated death.”  

The announcement went on to say that “investigations  . . . indicate that the main risk factor for infection is exposure to pigs; mostly in fair settings. Found in U.S. pigs in 2010 and humans in July 2011, this virus appears to spread more easily from pigs to people than other variant viruses.”

Is bacon craziness passé?

A restaurant in Anaheim, Calif., which regularly serves up a 50 per cent ground beef, 50 per cent ground bacon sandwich went whole hog, so to speak, for the month of July and served up a 100 per cent ground bacon burger.

A writer for the Toronto Globe and Mail, summarizing the various uses for bacon, noted that some were reasonable, such as using bacon in a glaze for chicken wings, while others, such as Burger King using it to top an ice cream Sundae, were “questionable.”

Toxic Chinese food ethics

The People’s Republic of China’s female volleyball team won a bronze medal at the Olympics in London in August. A month before, teams that didn’t even qualify were thumping them. The reason? According to The Atlantic magazine, the coach blamed a vegan diet, brought on by a need to avoid eating contaminated Chinese meat that might result in a positive test for drugs like clenbuterol, a respiratory medication for horses illegally used to encourage lean meat production in other species. Earlier in the year, China’s state sport authority had ordered athletes not to eat meat outside of official training facilities.