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Sulfur smelling ground beef, is it irradiated?

by (17402)
Updated about 20 hours ago
Created January 20, 2012 at 12:18 PM

So a while back I bought some ground organic beef from Costco "Organic Ranchers" and had it in the freezer until last night. After letting it thaw for a day in the fridge, I opened it up and it smelled of sulfur.

I soaked it in water for a few minutes before cooking - it tasted ok, but then got to wonder about it so googled. There's a few answers about the proteins in meat reacting with the cryovac sealing process or something like that, which doesn't make sense, since I've had other similarly packaged beef and bison before and none had a sulfur smell. Before this, my local Costco had a different one called "Verde Farms" which was perfectly fine, and packaged in the same kind of pack.

One of the google hits produced this: http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/pubs/Food_Irradiation_Gross_Failure.pdf which also mentions a sulfuric smell. Also found a similar article here: http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/pubs/Irradiation%20fact%20sheet.pdf

So was this being irradiated now? Even the organic stuff? If so, I'm gonna have to give it up for just the grassfed stuff, which sadly is 3x the cost, but if that's what's going on, I'll certainly pass on this stuff.

Anyone have info on this?

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8270 · January 20, 2012 at 6:32 PM

He smelled sulfur and jumped to irradiation.

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1173 · January 20, 2012 at 3:20 PM

I buy the "Organic Ranchers" frequently, never had an awkward odor.....yet.

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41544 · January 20, 2012 at 1:44 PM

I have no reason to doubt it. But what makes you think your beef was irradiated other than questionable odor?

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17402 · January 20, 2012 at 1:24 PM

Sure Matt, however, have you actually read those two PDFs? Is there truth to their claims of sulfur odors? That's the real question.

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2 Answers

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19220 · January 20, 2012 at 3:21 PM

I don't really know about sulfurous smells being caused by irradiated beef or how much beef is irradiated in the US. The only way you could answer your question is to contact the supplier and ask them.

According to this blog the Organic Ranchers beef is supplied by this company: http://dakotabeefcompany.com/about-our-organic-beef

Sulfurous smells can be caused by bacterial contamination of the meat by certain types of bacteria. I would personally avoid eating meat that has any kind of unpleasant odor about it.

http://ag.ansc.purdue.edu/meat_quality/spoiled_meat.html

Indication of Spoilage:

Ammonia or sulfur smell, bad odor, tallow or chalky taste.

Cause:

Degradation of proteins, lipids (fats) and carbohydrates caused by bacteria and/or enzymes naturally present in meat.

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41544 · January 20, 2012 at 12:41 PM

I think I need to make a paleo "jump to conclusions" mat. I think you landed on the "I've been poisoned" or "blame agribusiness" square. ;)

Seriously though, how about the most likely explanation? It was simply an off package of meat.

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8270 · January 20, 2012 at 6:32 PM

He smelled sulfur and jumped to irradiation.

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41544 · January 20, 2012 at 1:44 PM

I have no reason to doubt it. But what makes you think your beef was irradiated other than questionable odor?

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17402 · January 20, 2012 at 1:24 PM

Sure Matt, however, have you actually read those two PDFs? Is there truth to their claims of sulfur odors? That's the real question.

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