The Viva Vine: vol #5, no #2: September / October, 1996

Three stories on the meat beat

"Are pigs for eatin?"

So talk about your oddities -- what is "Babe" doing on TV in a McDonald's commercial for the "Babe Happy Meal"? Many pig watchers were jolted to see a 30-second spot, replete with voices and cuddly snippets from the movie, offering parents of kiddies a stuffed "Babe" barnyard character with every purchase of a hamburger Happy Meal. Buy one "and your kids can pretend they're Babe," the ad's announcer tells parents.

"I was appalled, and I hope it backfires," said James Cromwell, whose work as Farmer Hoggett in the film earned him an Oscar nomination. "The reaction of many people to this movie, especially children, was that they were made aware that meat comes from animals, a connection that McDonald's for many years has been trying to cloud over."

--From the Los Angeles Times

can 'o spam

How is SPAM made?


The consistency of Spam is not quite fleshlike, being too rubbery for that, and is constructed on the principle of concrete. Coarse chunks of meat are held together by a pate of finely ground meat. Approximately 3/4 of the meat is ground coarsely (through a three-eighths-inch plate of the grinder), the remaining quarter finely (one-eighth-inch plate). Grinding, mixing and curing must be done in a chilled factory (34 degrees Fahrenheit) to minimize bacterial growth. Mix the 2 grades of meat with the salt, sugar, and sodium nitrate in a vacuum mixer set to a 27-inch vacuum, for 5 minutes. Release vacuum and let the mixture cure overnight, maintaining refrigeration. The next day, mix in the vacuum mixer for about 10 minutes again. The chilled meat is then ready for canning.

Advances? / Tremendous?

Tremendous advances in immunology now allow humans to use organs from other species with less fear of rejection. Pigs are also being developed with human genes to serve as sources of hearts, lungs, kidneys, and livers.

--From the Progressive Farmer Online, "Ag Biotech's Destiny," by John Leidner, March, 1996

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