PinkSlime has made the news again thanks to a whistle blower (love them!) from the USDA. A “meat” product known as Pink Slime, is actually a concoction of cow by-products formerly only used in dog food, is being used as added filler to ground beef.
Pink Slime Found in 70 Percent of Ground Beef! The use of this “meat” product has been okayed by the USDA for Americans to eat, believe it or not. Unfortunately, it’s all too believable that reportedly 70 percent of all ground beef in the United States contains Pink Slime.
What is Pink Slime?
First we go to Wikipedia for a nice concise definition:
“Pink slime is a pejorative term,  coined by Dr. Gerald Zirnstein, for boneless lean beef trimmings or similar products. The product is sold by a number of beef processing companies, including Cargill Meat Solutions and Beef Products, Inc. The lean beef sold by BPI has become known for increasing the pH of the beef trimmings by adding ammonium hydroxide to remove pathogens such as E. coli and Salmonella, while the Cargill product uses antimicrobial treatments that lower the ph.  This beef product is USDA-approved and is a component (typically less than 25 percent) of a majority of ground beef in the United States.”
How Did Pink Slime Become a Huge Story?
The story of ammonia treated meat has been around since 2002 when Dr. Zirnstein first called the stuff Pink Slime. The documentary Food Inc. discussed the topic bringing the issue to more people to digest (pun intended!) By 2009 it was story again, but not so much sensationalized as Pink Slime. Read this interesting history of the issue by Michael Moss of the NYTimes.com. It will give you lots of perspective about what all the fuss is about today. Ammoniating meat was another effort by the USDA, like the idea of irradiating meat, to basically make unsafe food safe again by killing pathogens like E. coli and Salmonella that should have never been in the meat to begin with! http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/31/us/31meat.html?pagewanted=all
Now in 2012 Pink Slime is back in the news again. It seems that the same Dr. Zirnstein has come forward again, but this time actually denouncing the USDA’s approval of the use of Pink Slime in 70 percent of the nations’ ground beef. The real headline is that the pink slime tainted beef will be used to feed children at school in 2012! Whatever it takes to keep this issue in the news is a good thing though.
How is Pink Slime made?
Here is an excerpt from an ABC story from March 8, 2012 explaining more about Pink Slime
“As seen in the movie Food Inc., the low-grade trimmings come from the most contaminated parts of the cow and were once only used in dog food and cooking oil. But because of BPI’s treatment of the trimmings — simmering them in low heat, separating fat and tissue using a centrifuge and spraying them with ammonia gas to kill germs — the United States Department of Agriculture says it’s safe to eat.
ABC News emailed the top 10 grocery chains in America. Only Publix, Costco, HEB and Whole Foods responded, saying they don’t use pink slime. No word yet from the rest . . .
A viewer, Miles Herbert, wanted to know, “Is there any evidence that organic meat contains this pink slim?”
It turns out there isn’t. If your meat is stamped USDA Organic, it’s pure meat with no filler.
But critics say everything else is suspect because pink slime does not have to appear on the label. And the USDA is giving no indication it will force meat packers to lift the veil of secrecy any time soon.”
If you want to see some live video of Pink Slime go to YouTube and watch Jamie Oliver’s video from April 2011where he puts 2 and 2 together to realize that this product will be fed to children at school. Although Jamie demonstrates himself how he believes they make Pink Slime by pouring liquid ammonia straight into his own beef byproduct, to be fair, that is not quite how the USDA says it is treated with Ammonia. They say the process involves a quick spray of ammonia in gas form. But is that really any better?