It’s baaaack. Pink slime, an ammonia and beef byproduct that spurred one of the most talked about controversies in 2012, is being reintroduced to school lunches now that the media spotlight has dimmed. School districts in Texas, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Virginia are patiently waiting for their pink slime burgers to ship from the USDA, all to save mere pennies on the dollar.
Shocking as that may sound, schools in Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota never stopped serving the pseudo beef. Beef Product Incorporated is the company that makes and sells pink slime, formally known as “ammonia-treated lean finely textured beef,” or LFTB. In layman’s, LFTB is unwanted bits of cow mixed with ammonia and sent through a centrifuge—just like mom used to make. This process was invented by Beef Product Inc to help get the most possible product out of cows. Then, they sell it for cheap, hence the reason school districts bought it in the first place—to save money.
Ground beef that includes what the meat industry calls lean, finely textured beef, or pink slime, has been getting a lot of media coverage lately. Consumers have been avidly asking questions about which grocery stores sell it so that they can avoid it. As consumers continue to voice their concern, grocers are listening.
Safeway, SUPERVALU and Food Lion are the latest grocery stores to make the announcement that they will discontinue carrying ground beef that includes pink slime. Safeway released a statement saying, “While the USDA and food industry experts agree that lean, finely textured ground beef is safe and wholesome, recent news stories have caused considerable consumer concern about this product. Safeway will no longer purchase ground beef containing lean, finely textured beef.”
The list of grocers that are issuing statements regarding their ground beef and whether or not it contains pink slime is growing.
While Safeway is the second largest grocery chain in the country, SUPERVALU is the third largest chain. SUPERVALU controls various grocery stores including Albertson’s, Cub Foods, Farm Fresh, Jewel-Osco, Hornbacher’s and others. Some other heavy hitters like Walmart and Sam’s Club have also made recent announcements that they would stop selling beef that includes pink slime. The nation’s largest grocery store chain is Kroger and they currently offer beef options with and without the product.
Score one for our team! Announced Thursday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, school districts that receive food through the government’s school lunch program will now be allowed to say no to pink slime. The ammonia-treated beef filler will not be the only meat choice for school lunches. Filler free meat will now also be an option.
This change was relatively quick. Pink slime has been used for nearly 20 years in our school’s meat and most processed meat products. Jamie Oliver exposed these truths to the nation over the summer during his Food Revolution show. Once the truth behind this product was discovered, a furious online campaign began among parents and concerned citizens. Quickly, large chain restaurants quit using the product and now our schools will get a better choice.
The USDA is contracted to buy 111.5 million pounds of ground beef for the National School Lunch Program this year and about 7 million pounds of that is from Beef Products Inc., which is a large producer of the low-cost filler. However, come next fall, school menus will be allowed to change to pink slime-free meat.
If you haven’t read the truth about this product called pink slime that is making up the majority of the meat served in this country, you should really inform yourself.
Microbiologist Carl Custer gives an excellent definition of pink slime. Custer explains how the substance is primarily connective tissue and gristle, the texture is simply manipulated mechanically and the flavor altered chemically to fool you into thinking it’s meat.
“It’s not meat. We call it Soylent Pink,” Custer said, who has worked with the Food Safety Inspection Service for 35 years.
Would you like any pink slime in your hamburger, sir? I wouldn’t think so.
But the U.S. Department of Agriculture is allowing this suspicious substance into the packaged ground beef being served in school lunches across America, according to a recent article from The Daily.
Two former microbiologists for the Food Safety Inspection Service, Carl Custer and Gerald Zirnstein, believe they have reason to be concerned about this “pink slime.” Zirnstein discovered the pink matter in 2002 while touring a Beef Products Inc. production facility as part of a ground beef salmonella investigation.
So what is exactly is the stuff? BPI’s ‘Lean Beef Trimmings’ reportedly consist of connective tissue and beef scraps that are normally produced for dog food and rendering and are treated with ammonia hydroxide to kill pathogens such as salmonella and E. coli. (more…)