Ground meat comes from trimmings off primal and subprimals that are cut into their respective final cuts. If it is not trimming, then it is a cut that can be sold as such. Fattier and leaner trimmings can be mixed together to get the proper fat/lean ratios.
I took a tour of the Moyer Packing Plant in Pa; they start with the live animal being led up the 'stairway to heaven', knocked in the skull, throat slit, yanked up with chain hoist by it's hind legs, gutted and skinned, then maneuvered (this is all on a motorized rail system) through a nitrogen cooler to get the body heat out in 20 min, then split, quartered, cut into primals, then subprimals, trimmed (burger stuff!), subprimals COV'd and boxed, onto a waiting truck and shipped out. All the remaining parts are on conveyor lines that get culled, trimmed, sorted and put in all respective parts and pieces areas for further processing. No part of the animal is wasted, they even pick out the delicate nose and ear hairs from the head for fine brushes.
Back to burger - they collect all the trimmings in pallet-sized lugs and take them into the grinding room - two grinders, each the size of a Ford King Cab, one dumping into the other for a two-grind mix then into a stuffing machine about the size of a small trailer house, spitting out 1, 3, 5, 10 and 20 lb tubes of ground meat. Prior to grinding they take core samples from each 'lug' and measure the fat to lean ratio and add more lean as needed to achieve the proper ratios, usually local bull beef they've slaughtered separately.
The 1, 3, and 5 lb. chubs are what you see in the meat counter, the 10 and 20's are box-packed for meatrooms to grind into packages.
Shelf life is 45 days from the plant. There are no additives or preservatives, but the one thing that is missing is... bacteria. This is all done under better-than-hospital-operating-room conditions... 99.9% bacteria-free. Regular store-ground meats have a 24 hr. shelf life, this has 45 days! It is the freshest of ground meats you can get outside of your own grinder. Try a chub next time - let it air for a few minutes first, it will bloom bright red and taste delicious!
The best flavor comes from the worst cuts - neck, shank, etc. The harder the muscle is worked the tougher it is and the more pronounced flavor it has - that's why cutters and canners are boned out and used as lean for burger - they're old, tough, lean, overworked cattle that are raised specifically for either grinding or stewing. Burger isn't cut-specific; moreso it is trim-general, mixed and ground into a uniform fat to lean ratio. Grinding destroys the 'tough or tender' factor; that's the purpose of it; these are parts'n'pieces that can't be cooked separate into a palatable dish, but ground - yum!