15 March 2012

Infamous 'pink slime' everywhere: In 70 percent of ground beef found in supermarkets

Deemed suitable for dog food, but “healthy” enough for public consumption, “pink slime” is composed of spare trimmings and scraps of beef, disinfected with ammonium-hydroxide to act as a filler. As seen (below) in Jamie Oliver’s clip from “Food Revolution,” the ground-up scraps are placed into a centrifuge to separate the fats, muscles and other various animal parts. Afterwards, the sludge is sprayed with ammonium-hydroxide, giving it an artificial pink color, to kill deadly bacteria such as Escherichia coli (E.coli) and Salmonella.  If that isn’t worse enough, “pink slime” is in 70% of beef products on the grocery shelves.

Times like these validate one of the many reasons why I have chosen a vegetarian (almost vegan) diet.

“Pink Slime” has rightfully raised awareness in our country’s food processes through the news headlines.

The U.S Department of Agriculture has bought seven million pounds of the beef trimmings to be a part of school lunches which has made a huge public outcry and with great reason. Around 6.5% of those beef trimmings will have been treated with ammonium-hydroxide served at school cafeterias.  The meat filler is supposedly cheap; according to the Huffington Post, the treated trimmings, “only cuts the price of ground beef by about three cents a pound.” The ratio of savings per pound should not compensate the health of developing children as the cons of “pink slime” certainly outweigh the pros.

According to the USDA, “pink slime” is perfectly safe to consume. If the chemicals kill deadly pathogens, what will it do to the bodies consuming it?  It is surprising to note this filler is deemed safe to eat as the processed beef scraps inadvertently puts ammonium-hydroxide into the mouths of children and the public. Even worse, the USDA deems it appropriate to not even label beef products with the additives. Considering the biases, according to ABC news, the USDA has links to people in the beef industry, thus the lack of labeling on meat that contains the filler.

The general public’s concern has not gone in vain. Fast-food chains such as Taco Bell, McDonald's, and Burger King have stopped putting the filler into their beef products.

There is a way to get involved; you can sign a petition to tell the USDA to stop buying and serving “Lean Beef Trimmings” in school cafeterias. Boycotting beef products in the grocery store and informing your child not to consume beef products at school will send the message loud and clear to the USDA and school officials. Better yet, send letters to your local schools informing them that you do not support “pink slime.” Together, we can have a healthier population by standing up for ethical consumption and practices.

Erika Ritter | Email |Facebook
Stay-at-home cat mom and freelance writer, Erika has been a vegetarian for over three years--slowly converting to a raw food vegan diet. She enjoys cooking and trying new recipes even if they don't always work in her favor. She loves to learn about people from different backgrounds as this creates a greater insight of creating open-mindedness. Diving into holistic healing, she is exploring the connection between alternative dieting lifestyles and spirituality as there is a valuable link between the two.

Photo credit:cc:flickr.com/photos/naz66