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'Pink slime': Revolting beef additive or absolutely edible?

March 09, 2012|By Amy Hubbard

"Pink slime," a food additive made from spare beef trimmings that's treated with ammonium hydroxide to kill off E. coli, salmonella and other possible bacteria, continues to rear its slimy head.

Last month, as KTLA reported, McDonald's decided to cease using the additive in its hamburgers.  This decision came after prodding by TV chef Jamie Oliver. On his "Food Revolution," the disgusted food activist says the additive is made of "all of the bits that no one wants."

The USDA, however, says the additive is safe to eat. The department is so satisfied with the stuff that it plans to buy 7 million pounds of ground beef containing "pink slime" in coming months for the national school lunch program, the Daily reported on Monday.  And that's created a whole new stink.

Texas mom Bettina Siegel has a petition going at Change.org to get the additive out of school lunches.

An ABC News report on Wednesday stirred up more anti-pink-slime sentiment. ABC cited a former U.S. Department of Agriculture scientist in saying that 70% of supermarket ground beef contained the additive.

Meanwhile, over at the Cattle Network, American Meat Institute President J. Patrick Boyle  defended the process as well as the product in an article Thursday, saying the "lean beef trimmings" were "absolutely edible" and that using them ensured that "lean, nutritious, safe beef" did not go to waste.

Boyle goes on to say that media reports create an inaccurate picture.  An opinion piece on the site refers to "pink slime" as a "headline writer's dream."

It would indeed seem great fodder for a snarky British tabloid headline, considering that in the United Kingdom lean beef trimmings are banned for human consumption.

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Hubbard on Google+

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