“Pink Slime,” Rejected by Fast-Food Giants, Shows Up in School Lunches

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I don’t plan to use this blog to write about news or politics, but a quasi-food product called “pink slime” is making the news, and I think it’s important to discuss.

The USDA is planning to buy seven million pounds of “pink slime” for school lunches in the coming months.

Pink slime is created by grinding together connective tissue and beef scraps normally used in dog food. It is treated with ammonia hydroxide to kill salmonella and E. coli.

It is “not meat,” according to a USDA microbiologist. McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Burger King have rejected its use, so it’s pretty disturbing that the stuff goes in school lunches.

USDA undersecretary JoAnne Smith, a George H. W. Bush appointee and former president of the National Cattleman’s association, pushed approval of Beef Products Incorporated’s “Lean Beef Trimmings”, despite concerns raised by USDA inspectors.

The USDA allows ground beef to contain up to 15% of “pink slime,” but labeling requirements prevent parents from knowing if it’s being served at their kids’ school.

Aside from the lack of nutritional value, pink slime raises a number of health concerns. The New York Times exposed in 2009 that despite being treated with ammonia, three E. coli contaminations and four dozen salmonella contaminations occurred between 2005 and 2009, during which time school lunch officials three times temporarily banned hamburger makers from using pink slime from one facility in Kansas.

Ammonium hydroxide is itself of course harmful to eat, and can potentially turn into ammonium nitrate, a common ingredient in homemade explosives.

Kids need nutritious food. Many of the millions of kids who rely on school lunches come from low-income families where they are less likely to get a healthy diet. Pink slime is a nutritionally inferior and potentially risky product, and the school lunch program saves only three cents per pound of ground beef by putting this filler in kids’ hamburgers.

Over the past few months, many fast-food chains have rejected the product and say they no longer use it. School lunch officials should follow suit.

Click below to automatically sign the petition to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and Audrey Rowe, USDA Food and Nutrition Service Administrator:


2 comments on ““Pink Slime,” Rejected by Fast-Food Giants, Shows Up in School Lunches

  1. […] “Pink Slime,” Rejected by Fast-Food Giants, Shows Up in School Lunches (hungrylindsay.wordpress.com) […]

  2. […] “Pink Slime,” Rejected by Fast-Food Giants, Shows Up in School Lunches (hungrylindsay.wordpress.com) […]

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