Good Question: How do you know if the ground beef label is accurate?

How do you know if the ground beef label is accurate? (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) Not all ground beef is created equal. The "fat" and "lean" contents vary. It’s a fact that prompted 2News viewer Kathy to wonder, how does a butcher know what's what?

For the answer I turned to Harmon's meat merchandise manager Steve Wesolowski. He took me into a part of the butcher's counter that most people never see, where they have a special tool: a fat tester.

The tester cooks a sample of ground beef, draining the fat out into a tube. Measuring the tube allows butchers to determine a meat’s fat percentage.

Sure, that works for the butchers to verify the fat content they were sold by the meat distributor - but what about you and me who don't have a fancy fat-measuring device? Steve admits it can be tough to know with certainty.

"I can't look at 93% package and say, 'yeah that's 93,’ even though I've been in the business 41 years."

Still, there are checks to make sure you get what you pay for. Federal inspectors work onsite at the major meat supply companies, testing fat content all day, Steve says.

On the back end, Utah's dept. of agriculture keeps butchers in Utah honest with random testing.

“It's an integrity thing. You got to be able to trust your butcher."

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