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Food For Thought: Pink Slime

March 20, 2012

Pink Slime has taken over the media recently, and next it will most likely be taking over American schools. Let’s begin with what “Pink Slime” actually is:

Officially termed “Lean Beef Trimmings,” the product is a ground-up combination of beef scraps, cow connective tissues and other beef trimmings that are treated with ammonium hydroxide to kill pathogens like salmonella and E. coli. It’s then blended into traditional meat products like ground beef and hamburger patties.

Controversy surrounding “pink slime” stems from various safety concerns, particularly dangers associated with ammonium hydroxide, which can both be harmful to eat and has potential to turn into ammonium nitrate — a common component in homemade bombs, according to MSNBC. It’s also used in household cleaners and fertilizers.

Oh god. HOW IS THIS LEGAL?! OR MORAL?! you ask. Well, I wish I had a better answer for you. Already upstanding fast food chains (coughsarcasmcough) McDonalds, Burger King, and Taco Bell have publicly denounced the usage of this mess in their recipes (which means, of course, that they were using it before…and hence we have one of the many reasons why I don’t eat fast food), due to public outcry and pressure from the likes of my hero Jamie Oliver. But now, the USDA is purchasing 7 MILLION POUNDS of this disgustingness to to feed to school-aged children. Fabulous.

The USDA, which plans to buy 7 million pounds of Lean Beef Trimmings from BPI in the coming months for the national school lunch program, said in a statement that all of its ground beef purchases “meet the highest standard for food safety.” USDA officials also noted that the sole role of the food inspection service is to determine the overall safety of the nation’s food supply, not to make judgments on a product’s relative merits.

In 2005, the USDA limited the amount of ammonia-treated Lean Beef Trimmings in a serving of ground beef to 15 percent, but lax labeling requirements mean that it is virtually impossible as a consumer — and for parents of children at a schools where “pink slime” is a part of lunch — to know whether a given package of ground beef or hamburger patty contains it.

This is too much. This is so disgusting and appalling I can barely handle it. As if it’s not heinous enough that this has been put into our food without our knowledge, the government now wants to continue to expose CHILDREN to this potentially extremely harmful substance. Ugh. So, here is what I recommend: Educate yourself. Read this article, and this article, and continue to do your own research. If you are as horrified as I am, start signing petitions: US Support movements such as California’s healthy school lunch initiative, and campaign for these in your areas, especially in “opting out” of serving this “slime.” And start paying attention to what you’re eating, what you’re putting in your body, what is BECOMING your body right now. Right now.


(Image courtesy of Detroit Free Press)

(Also: In case you haven’t noticed, I have decided to update the blog twice a week [Tues, Thurs] for a while from here on. So, keep your eyes out on those days for posts, and comment comment comment!!)

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Laurie permalink
    March 20, 2012 5:23 pm

    Oh my gosh. That’s horrible. I’m going to start protesting. Thank you for sharing this!!

  2. March 20, 2012 5:24 pm

    I’m just happy that I don’t crave meat products…anymore ;))

  3. March 20, 2012 5:51 pm

    Oh, gross. If pink slime is not considered “real meat” (as the two articles suggest), then why don’t schools just substitute that with a meat alternative, made of soy/tofu/etc.? Problem solved. There are plenty of vegetarian foods out there that have similar textures to ground meat. You just have to position it in a sexy way so kids will want to eat it. How about “ammonia hydroxide-free food”? Delicious.

  4. April 2, 2012 9:20 pm

    Children are our future. Clearly the government considers them a threat, and thus wants to keep them weak, and possibly poison them.
    I assume they know something about the threat level of kids, and are acting appropriately.

    Its best if we dont interfere, our safety is on the line.


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