Ground Meat Fat Testing – Antiquated Science in most stores

I came across two article’s that makes a lot of sense to me. There is one article about L.A. County Meat Inspector’s and another article about general store profit losses causing meat prices to be hight due to poor fat analysis. These articles raise some interesting issues regarding the current technology used to measure the fats in meats in grocery store meat departments.

I work very hard to exercise and eat right. But I never realized that my efforts could be being jeopardized by the fact that most in store meat departments are using an out dated technology for measuring the amount of fat in ground beef and ground pork for the fresh ground meats that they grind in their own meat department in their own store. (I am not talking about pre pack meats that come in those tubes, I am talking about the fresh grind that is in the cellophane wrapper.)

Anyway, check out these articles and let me know of your concerns and what we can do about it. Here’s the first one:

Friday, July 2, 2004

DSC HFT 2000f Fat Analyzer Now Used By L.A. County Food Inspectors to Protect Consumers From Grocer’s Mislabeled ‘Lean’ Ground Beef

FAT ANALYZER FROM DSC NOW USED BY L.A. COUNTY
FOOD INSPECTORS TO PROTECT CONSUMERS
FROM GROCER’S MISLABELED ‘LEAN’ GROUND BEEF

L.A. Inspectors Among First to Adopt New and Improved Fat Testing Method

ENCINO, Calif. (July 6, 2004) – Grocery meat inspectors throughout Los Angeles are now employing the most accurate, precise and reliable equipment available to test the percentage of fat in ground beef labeled and advertised as “lean.” The HFT-2000 Fat Analyzer by Data Support Company Inc. (DSC) is the method of choice for Los Angeles County’s Department of Health Services’ Environmental Health division when conducting routine consumer protection inspections of fat analysis methods and labeling requirements at supermarkets and other ground beef retailers.

The HFT-2000 by DSC, a leader in the fat and moisture analyzer sales industry, replaces the County’s previously used 50-year-old antiquated testing equipment, which has been proven to produce erroneous results in cuts of meat containing less than 10 percent fat. While 400 Costco stores nationwide use the HFT-2000 to test fat levels in their ground beef, thousands of other supermarkets use the antiquated fat testing units once employed by inspectors. The County’s move to update fat analyzers for inspections will prevent Los Angeles consumers from being misled by labels marketing meat as leaner than it actually is.

Los Angeles County Environmental Health specialists concluded in field tests of the HFT-2000 that as ground beef continues to be marketed at increasingly lower fat levels, the accuracy of old testing methods is substantially diminished. Specialist Richard Lavin called the HFT-2000 “an invaluable tool for monitoring the lower fat percentages in ground beef items.” The county has taken a proactive lead in enforcing the most accurate labeling of fat content prior to new label laws set forth by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which go into effect in January 2005.

Lavin said, “The HFT-2000 is used in our Consumer Protection Program, in which retail establishments that sell ground beef are selected at random and various levels of fat verified against the fat percentages advertised, posted or indicated on the product label. With very lean ground meats, the HFT-2000 has proved to be superior in accuracy compared to testing methods previously used. The HFT-2000 will assist the Department’s efforts to insure that the leaner ground beef food items are sold as advertised.”

The patented HFT-2000 uses microprocessor-based, chemical-free technology to yield a digital readout of fat content in minutes at the touch of a button. Traditional fat testers, still used by thousands of supermarkets and municipal grocery meat department inspectors across the nation, are inaccurate when testing ground beef leaner than 20 percent fat. While traditional fat testers boast an accuracy of ± 2 percent, the HFT-2000 accurately measures fat content to within 0.5 percent and can measure samples with as low as 1 percent fat content.

Dan Banayan, president of DSC and inventor of the HFT-2000, said the adoption of the unit by Los Angeles County health inspectors brings accuracy to meat nutritional labels as well as validity to the HFT-2000.

“Supermarkets have been reluctant to change their current fat testing methods due to cost, and because they haven’t been forced to,” Banayan said. “But we’re beginning to see a change, especially now that inspectors are using modern equipment in comparative testing. Also, consumers are becoming more savvy about the nutritional content of their food, particularly with the popularity of low-carb, high-protein diets. We’re very pleased that L.A. County’s Environmental Health inspectors are taking the issue seriously, and that they’ve chosen the HFT-2000 to assist them in performing their jobs as accurately as possible.”

The “plug and weigh” 9-pound HFT-2000 is easy to use and requires minimal user training. Its accurate fat content analysis is based on the instrument’s ability to measure the moisture content of a sample over a range of temperatures. Simply place a palm-sized amount of beef in the instrument’s weighing chamber, close the lid and select the appropriate program from the front panel. The HFT-2000 does the remainder of the work and automatically shuts off when the test is complete (10 to 15 minutes). The results are displayed on the digital screen. Easy cleanup is also key; users simply discard the disposable filter pads and aluminum tray. For More Information, contact DSC at
(800) 726-5883.

And here’s the second one:

November 14, 2003

GROCERY MEAT DEPARTMENTS LOSING MAJOR PROFITS DUE TO INACCURATE FAT TESTING OF GROUND BEEF & PORK

Data Support Company’s HFT-2000 Fat Analyzer Yields Fat Count
Four Times More Precise than Antiquated Competitor Products;
Allows Grocer to Increase Profits by Pricing Lean Meats Accordingly

Encino, Calif. (Nov. 14, 2003) – In most supermarkets across the nation, meat Departments measure fat content in ground beef and ground pork using 50-year-old antiquated technology that produces inaccurate results. Translation: The percentage of fat listed on the package is little more than a guess, and grocers are likely undercutting profits by not charging accordingly for their lean ground beef. Data Support Company Inc. (DSC), a leader in the fat and moisture analyzer sales industry, is aiming to change this with its modern, easy to use, highly accurate HFT-2000 Fat Analyzer.

The patented HFT-2000, already being used in all 400 Costco meat departments worldwide, uses microprocessor-based, chemical-free technology to yield a digital readout of fat content in minutes at the touch of a button. Traditional fat testers use outdated technology to measure fat and are inaccurate when testing ground beef or ground pork leaner than 20 percent fat. While traditional fat testers boast an accuracy of +/- 2 percent, the HFT-2000 accurately measures fat content to within 0.5 percent and can measure samples with as low as 1 percent fat content.

Daniel Banayan, President of DSC and the inventor of the HFT-2000, realized early on that these serious issues existed in the fat analysis industry. A chemical engineer by trade, he spent years researching fat analysis methods and recognized the need for a low-priced analyzer with high accuracy. Banayan also conducted a “Supermarket Ground Beef Fat Level Survey” which indicated that outdated testing equipment with a high margin of error and lean-level limitations was the cause of enormous profit loss in meat departments nationwide.

“A pound of lean ground beef obviously costs more than a pound of fat,” Banayan said. “If the label and pricing reflects 20 percent fat due to outdated measurement methods, yet the beef is really only 10 percent fat, the store loses a substantial amount of profit. On the other hand, if the meat is labeled at 10 percent fat when it’s actually more, this spells big trouble for consumers who are being misled.”

A recent cost analysis conducted by DSC found supermarkets that use the HFT-2000 can expect an annual average profit increase of $14,000 per store. At $2,450.00 (MSRP), the HFT-2000 offers a substantial return on investment, paying for itself in less than three months.

“The HFT-2000 represents today’s modern technology at work,” Banayan said. “Society demands the latest in computer technology, automotive technology, electronics technology, etc. Why should butchers and meat purveyors settle for less when it comes to fat analysis technology and maximum profitability?”

The “plug and weigh” 9-pound HFT-2000 is easy to use and requires minimal user training. Its accurate fat content analysis is based on the instrument’s ability to measure the moisture content of a sample over a range of temperatures. Simply place a palm–sized amount of beef in the instrument’s weighing chamber, close the lid and select the appropriate program from the front panel. The HFT-2000 does the remainder of the work and automatically shuts off when the test is complete (10 to 15 minutes). The results are displayed on the digital screen. Easy cleanup is also key; users simply discard the disposable filter pads and aluminum tray.
For purchase information, contact DSC at (800) 726-5883.

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