salisbury steak; a passive aggressive love story.

So, some you trivia buffs may appreciate this. Did you know that the Salisbury steak was invented by an American physician named Dr. J.H. Salisbury in 1897? He wanted to help encourage the eating of more beef. While serving as a physician during the Civil War, he created the infamous recipe of ground beef, seasonings and onions. As an advocate of beef, he heavily promoted the idea of eating more beef to alleviate mental illness, tumors, diarrhea and heart disease. Thus, the “steak” was born. With a much deserved self-pat on the back, he named it after himself, declared it to be healthy, and then took it to the masses. He decided it was so good for you in fact, that he suggested it be eaten three times a day.
Ummm, it should also be mentioned that he thought fruits
and vegetables were the culprits behind the tumors, mental illness, and such. [1]

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good salisbury steak.

Despite the nutty reason for it’s conception, it does have the potential to be super delicious and healthy. Repeat… potential. Pictured above is yet another one of my submissions to Simple, Good and Tasty’s school lunch contest. I’m not going to lie, it did taste like a Salisbury steak. I only had a slight initial cramping when I started to eat it. Keep in mind, however, I was still convalescing from the “Great Enchilada Assault of 2010” just two days prior. I have always assumed today’s version of Salisbury steak, was just that, steak (ie. beef) with seasonings. Of course, me being me, upon looking at the school version, I began wondering how they managed to get the thing so flat..and un-beefy.

A quick google search, made me wish I wouldn’t obsess so much about stuff like this.

Turns out, the USDA created their own version of an acceptable Salisbury steak (yeah, it’s bad, you already know). Here’s what they say according to their Labeling Policy Book:
Salisbury Steak

Finished product must contain at least 65 percent meat. Fat is limited to 30 percent. Other requirements are:  

1. It is an unbreaded cooked product.  

2. The meat block may contain 25 percent pork, with the remainder beef. Or, the meat block may contain up to 12 percent partially defatted chopped beef and pork.  

3. Extenders are permitted up to 12 percent. When isolated soy protein is used, 6.8 percent is the equivalent of 12 percent of the other extenders. Those extenders include, but are not limited to: cereal, bread crumbs, cracker meal, soy flour, soy protein concentrate, isolated soy protein, and textured vegetable protein.  

4. Meat byproducts are not permitted. Beef heart meat is permitted.  

5. Permitted liquids include, but are not limited to: water, broth, milk, cream, skim milk and reconstituted skim milk (9 parts water to 1 part NFDM).  

6. Product not cooked which conforms to the above may be labeled —Patties for Salisbury.” 


I’m not sure if the policy really embraces kooky ‘ole Mr. Salisbury’s vision. I know for a fact it doesn’t embrace the one I have for our kid’s school lunches.

 Now…here’s where it gets silly. As, the policy states above,  the finished product must contain at least 65% meat (pork, beef) to be considered Salisbury steak. Got that?
Ok…now read this:
The product name can be a key factor in the consumer’s decision to buy the product
The “95%” rule applies to products consisting primarily of meat, poultry or fish..In these examples, at least 95% of the product must be the named ingredient.
Counting the added water, the named ingredient still must comprise 70% of the product.


Don’t worry, our schools aren’t actually doing anything wrong, per the USDA. In fact, our schools don’t have to worry about the above policy. Those are just the regulations concerning pet food labeling  the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) established. They didn’t feel USDA’s policies (aka, the same one’s for our kid’s) were specific enough. According to the AAFCO standards, the proper name for my “Salisbury steak”  would be more properly called  “beef and maybe pork dinner, for kids”.

Raise your hand if you’re freaking out right now.

Because our schools say they are at the mercy of the USDA’s guidelines and the USDA says schools have options to not be, I feel like our kids are caught in the middle of one huge Mexican standoff. I guess it’s time, as parents, to interject ourselves in the middle and start demanding some changes. Anyone else feel like parents need to establish an organization to set up some guidelines?  
By the way, the FDA wants you to know:
 Pet owners and veterinary professionals have a right to know what they are feeding their animals. The pet food label contains a wealth of information, if one knows how to read it. Do not be swayed by the many marketing gimmicks or eye-catching claims. If there is a question about the product, contact the manufacturer or ask an appropriate regulatory agency. [2]


Posted via email from just a mom in mesquite 


4 Responses to “salisbury steak; a passive aggressive love story.”

  1. That is really pitiful that the USDA would make those guidelines. How can they live with themselves? And more importantly, how can we let them feed that to our kids?

  2. I just gave a lecture today, more like a preaching session, about this very thing – the tragedy that is called our school food program. millions of kids fed 2x a day for 190+/- days a year, and the majority of them are fed things you nor I would consider feeding them!

    We are killing our kids through the food we pay the taxes to the states we live in to feed them! What’s wrong with this picture? What happened to packing a pbj sandwich, an apple and some home baked cookies?

    I’m not sure what kind of a chef he is, but this young man has the right idea and apparently the capital behind him to try to make a difference.

    What can we do here locally to change what our kids are fed, at school and at home?

    Eat Real, Clean, Fresh, Local, Food!

    • Marie! I love what you are doing here!
      When is your next lecture?
      (just an FYI, you guys here in the Mesquite/Balch Springs/Dallas area, have to checkout her site! And then go to her place!)


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