Are you being served Pink Slime?


I had the occasion to learn of this product while I was on baby watch a few weeks ago in Wells, Texas.   I was horrified that the schools are able to purchase this ‘meat product’ and serve it to our children.  For those of you who don’t know what pink slime is, let me enlighten you.


“Ten years ago, the rejected fat, sinew, bloody effluvia, and occasional bits of meat cut from carcasses in the slaughterhouse were a low-value waste product called ‘trimmings’ that were sold primarily as pet food. No more. Now, Beef Products Inc. of South Dakota transforms trimmings into something they call ‘boneless lean beef.’ Factories liquefy theses trimmings and use a spinning centrifuge to separate the sinews and fats from the meat, leaving a mash that has been described as ‘pink slime.’  It is then frozen into small squares and sold as a low-cost additive to hamburger.”  Besides being low quality factory fed meat, the product is treated with ammonia in a toxic attempt to kill pathogens.


Beef Products Inc. produces more than 7 million pounds of the mash weekly, making it the world’s largest manufacturer of this frozen product. “BPI explains that its product is mixed into most of the ground beef sold in the United States at major fast-food restaurants, supermarkets, and school lunch programs.” But that’s not the entire problem, when you turn garbage bits of animal carcasses into “pink slime” to sell as a food product, there’s an issue with pathogens, such as E. coli.


Original tests came back showing that the pink slime was rampant with harmful bacteria.  It should have been decided not to sell right then, but Beef Products Inc. cleverly started disinfecting the slime with ammonia and convinced the FDA to allow them to list it as a “processing ingredient” so that we wouldn’t know we were eating ammonia.


Being well past school age, I thought I was protected from encountering ‘pink slime.’  Think again.   I ordered a taco salad at my favorite Mexican restaurant last Sunday.  When the oversized taco shell basket arrived, all I saw was salad. I looked down to the bottom of the basket, and no meat to be found.  I complained to my waitress.  She said that she would talk to her manager.  I sat looking at the lettuce, but no ground beef.   My server brought me a cup of pink soup, which she told me was ground beef.


As a card-carrying carnivore, I have had my share of ground beef.  I know that it is red when you fry it, and I know it is dark brown when it is cooked.  It is never pink.  The week before I had ordered a taco salad (yes, I gave been watching my calories) and the ground meat at that restaurant looked exactly like what I have cooked at home.  I tell you, I know ground beef when I see it.  I also know it when I don’t.


Needless to say, I was very disappointed when my favorite upscale Mexican restaurant served me the pink soup instead of brown ground beef.  Guess where we won’t be eating…


Until next time,


Polly  Pink Slime “It’s What for Lunch in U.S. Schools.”


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