Americans Eat Pink Slime in Their Burgers

B. McPherson

Many Americans are eating Pink Slime in their burger patties. Not all, of course, those that can afford a better grade of hamburger made from freshly ground beef that’s not been frozen won’t be eating Pink Slime. Poor kids eating subsidized school lunches get to eat it.

What is Pink Slime? It does have other names. Big Agro calls it Lean finely textured beef (LFTB) or Boneless lean beef trimmings (BLBT). In an attempt to use as much of a beef carcass as possible for the food trade, some companies have come up with a technique to use meat scraps and connective tissue for human food. The bits are processed, heated and extruded. The product is disinfected of possible bacteria that it has picked up from the slaughter process by exposing it to either ammonia or citric acid. The term Pink Slime was used by Gerald Zirnstein in 2002 in describing the pink, jelly like substance when he was opposing the use of it in human food. He was an employee of the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service at the time.

ABC News alerted the American public to this controversial food additive in March. Former employees of the USDA and Beef Products Inc. (BPI) supplied information on the processes.

Who sells Pink Slime in thei r grocery stores? The TV news station did some research, contacting leading grocery stores in the US.

·        Safeway used to buy ground beef with PS in it but will no longer accept it.
·         Ahold(Stop & Shop/Giant) sells ground beef with PS in it but does not sell any processed with ammonia.
·         Costco does not use LFTB(Pink Slime) I lifted a quote from their spokesperson on the ABC page. “Anything that we sell at Costco we want to explain it’s origins, and I personally don’t know how to explain trim treated with ammonia in our ground beef,” Craig Wilson, vice president of quality assurance for Costco, told ABC News. “I just don’t know how to explain that. I’m not that smart.”
·         Publix does not sell LFTB.
·         H-E-B does not sell LFTB
·         Whole Food does not sell LFTB
·         Kroger offers different grades/choices of ground beef including LFTB in some offerings
·         Tops Markets do not sell beef with LFTB in it.

Pink slime may also be found in some beef based processed meats. In the US there is currently no requirement that the package needs to indicate its presence.

Public reaction to the repugnant product has caused earnings at these Slime factories to plummet. One factory has applied for bankruptcy protection.

People demanding clean, wholesome food can make a difference. Cheap food doesn’t mean good food. It is everyone’s individual responsibility to demand the best and to be prepared to pay for it. N. Americans as a whole eat far too much meat for their health.

Canadians do not eat Pink Slime. That material that is used for Pink Slime goes for pet food or to the rendering plant.

You can be assured that you are not eating Pink Slime if you are a vegetarian, but if like me, you eat beef you can still be safe from it. I do not buy ground beef. I buy beef roasts and grind my own. Remember when hamburger meat was called “ground round”? There are still butchers who buy sides of beef and grind their own burger meat. Meat labelled “organically raised” won’t have PS in it. Buy locally and buy organic when you can. Those small producers will be happy to discuss how their animals are raised.

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