The USDA is reportedly set to announce that schools will be able to opt out… (Beef Products Inc / Associated…)
"Pink slime" -- the ground beef additive maligned by a celebrity chef and incorrectly depicted in an Internet image as a fluffy pink concoction resembling soft-serve ice cream -- may not be appearing on your child's lunch tray come fall.
And that would be news to celebrate were it not for a new study suggesting, as The Times recently reported, that all red meat is bad for you anyway.
A spokesman with the USDA'S Food Safety and Inspection Service confirmed to The Times that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will be making an announcement Thursday concerning the food additive and the national school lunch program.
An Associated Press report earlier in the day, citing an unnamed official at the USDA (apparently no one wants to be tainted by "pink slime"), said the agency would announce that schools will be able to choose between 95% lean beef patties made with the additive or bulk ground beef without it -- that is less lean.
Apparently, you can't have your non-pink-slime beef and have it be lean too.
Chef Jamie Oliver has said that what the USDA and the meat industry call "lean beef trimmings" really are "all of the bits that no one wants." Then ammonium hydroxide is mixed in to kill bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella.
Steven Cohen, director of media relations at the International Food Information Council, a Washington-based nonprofit backed by food, beverage and agricultural companies, recently provided some information about the ammonium hydroxide process. Tidbits include:
--Ammonium hydroxide was affirmed safe by the FDA in 1974 after an extensive review.
--Ammonium hydroxide is used as a "direct food additive" extensively in items including "baked goods, cheese, chocolates" and more.
So why are so many people appalled by its use in food?
Likely because ammonium hydroxide is also used as a "sanitizer in many household and industrial cleaners."
Yep, that'll do it.
So, which is worse -- leaner beef with the FDA-approved additive? Or the alternative?
The Times has calls and emails out to several food industry sources and is awaiting opinions.
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