Your ground beef may include heart meat

If you've consumed ground beef since July of 2016, there's a chance it contained beef heart meat.

That's when it was announced that producers could add unlimited quantities of the product, which is muscle harvested from the inside of cow hearts' ventricular wall.

News of the policy is just now beginning to spread, reports KPIX.

A representative from the U.S. Department of Agriculture told Consumerist that this is not actually a new policy, but rather a clarification of an existing one.

Either way, labels indicating its inclusion are not required.

While the idea of eating cow hearts is likely disconcerting to some, David Budworth, a spokesperson from Marina Meats, assures all that heart meat is perfectly healthy.

He recently told KPIX, "It would add a really nice beefy flavor you'll never know the heart's there," and noted that heart meat is high in both iron and B-12.

Read more about beef:

15 Things You Didn't Know About Ground Beef
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15 Things You Didn't Know About Ground Beef

Read on for 15 things you didn't know about ground beef.

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Is Ground Beef Nutritious?

Ground beef is actually ranked third for foods that have the best source of iron, right after fortified cereal and grains!

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Who Wins: Burger v. Chicken?

People lean towards chicken rather than beef when they are trying to be healthy. What most people don't know is that compared to chicken, ground beef has has 8 times more vitamin B12, 6 times more zinc and 2.5 times more iron. So keep cooking up those cheeseburgers this summer!

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How Much Beef is American?

Even though the U.S. only has 10% of the world's cattle, we supply 25% of the world's beef! Also, the largest part of agriculture in America is raising beef cattle.

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When Did The First Hamburger Come About?

The first burger on a bun was in Hamburg, New York at a county fair in the year 1885. However, it was not called a "hamburger" until 1912 when it was served on a yeast roll.

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When Did Ground Beef Come to America?

It was first introduced to North America by Spanish explorers when they brought over cattle in the 1500s.

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What Does President Benjamin Harrison Have to Do With Beef?

Since we all know how important inspection is, you will love to hear that in the late 1800s President Benjamin Harrison created the first law forcing meat products to be inspected!

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Who Really Kicked Off the Beef Craze In America?

In 1662, the first commercial meat packer in America was William Pychon.

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What's the Difference Between "Hamburger" and "Ground Beef"?

According to the USDA, beef fat can actually be added to meat labeled "hamburger," but not to meat labeled "ground beef." In either instance, no more than 30% is allowed.

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Does Ground Beef Have Bacteria?

Since bacteria is constantly all around us, there is no avoiding it completely. Occasionally, ground beef can contain illness-causing pathogenic bacteria such as Salmonella, Shiga-toxin producing E. coli and Campylobacter, among others.

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Can it Be Harmful To Us?

When it comes to ground beef, the USDA tells us to avoid the 'Danger Zone,' which is where the bacteria can grow and thrive rapidly. The 'Danger Zone' is anywhere between 40 and 140 °F (4.4 and 60 °C), so when you store your ground meat, be sure to set your refrigerator to the appropriate temperature (40 °F or below) and use within two days or freeze.

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How Exactly are USDA-Inspected Plants Run?

The USDA makes sure to inspect plants to help stop the spread of bacterial contamination in ground beef. The beef must go through organic acid washes, water washes, steam pasteurization, steam vacuuming and other antimicrobials.

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Confused About Sell-By Dates?

Aren't we all? The USDA tells us that sell-by dates aren't really meant for consumers, but more for the retailers at the grocery stores. They suggest that you either freeze or cook the beef within two days of purchase for the best quality and to ensure you stay safe from harmful bacteria.

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How Do I Cook Ground Beef Properly?

Keeping in mind all of the harmful bacteria that can be in raw meat, you want to cook it at a perfect temperature in order to destroy them. Using a food thermometer to check the inside the meat, make sure to keep your ground beef at at least 160 °F.

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How do I stay informed about foodborne illnesses?

If you find yourself worried about whether or not the food you are consuming is safe, check out the OutBreak Database. You have the ability to choose from a lot of options to answer your specific questions.

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