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GROUND BEEF

Average Annual per Capita U.S. Ground Beef Consumption
(by retail weight)

Year

Pounds

1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006

42.8
43.8
42.1
43.5
42.5
44.7
44.0
41.9
41.5
39.6
38.1
36.9
36.5
34.9
37.6
39.7
37.5
36.9
37.9
38.3
38.4
37.6
38.7
37.4
38.3
38.0
38.2

Source: USDA and National Cattlemen’s Beef Assoc.

The term 'ground beef' refers to meat that can contain up to 30% fat.  Ground Chuck is from the shoulder of the carcass and ranges from 15% to 27% fat. It makes the best hamburgers, with enough fat to give both excellent flavor and texture. Ground Round and Ground Sirloin may be low in fat, but they make for dry hamburgers unless cooked no more than medium rare.


The pasta and seasoning mix known as 'Hamburger Helper' was introduced in 1970 by General Mills. The product was created during a meat shortage, and was designed to help housewives stretch a pound of ground beef (hamburger) into a tasty family meal.  It was an unqualified success and other versions, including Chicken Helper, were later introduced.


Why is pre-packaged ground beef red on the outside and sometimes dull, grayish-brown inside?
Oxygen from the air reacts with meat pigments to form a bright red color which is usually seen on the surface of meat purchased in the supermarket. The pigment responsible for the red color in meat is oxymyoglobin, a substance found in all warm-blooded animals. Fresh cut meat is purplish in color. The interior of the meat may be grayish brown due to lack of oxygen. If all the meat in the package has turned grey or brown, it may be beginning to spoil.
USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service
 

 

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