Header graphic for print
Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

“Pink Slime” is now a choice in your school lunch

Screen Shot 2012-03-14 at 8.53.33 PM.pngThanks to Bettina Siegel, whose blog “The Lunch Tray,” and her online petition on Change.org asking Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to “put an immediate end to the use of “pink slime” in our children’s school food,” she has now, according to breaking AP news, forced the U.S. Department of Agriculture to offer schools choice in ground beef buys amid growing concern over the ammonia-treated filler critics call “pink slime.” Under the change to be announced Thursday, schools will be able to choose between beef patties made with the filler or bulk ground beef without it.

Democracy and transparency is a good thing as well as a bit messy.

The controversy over so-called “pink slime” has been ongoing since 2009 and centers on a processed ingredient from Beef Products Inc. (BPI), common in ground beef that is exposed to ammonium hydroxide gas to kill bacteria.

I have been a supporter of BPI’s quest for a safer beef product and its leadership in testing for E. coli O157:H7 and other non-O157:H7 bacteria – the so-called “Big Six.” But for BPI’s commercial testing of its product for the “Big Six” it is likely that FSIS would not have moved as quickly in 2011 to deem those bacteria adulterants like their bad big brother E. coli O157:H7 was in 1994.

However, I am a firm believer in letting consumers know what is in the food they eat and what is fed to their kids. Frankly, other than the “ick factor” of “pink slime” perhaps BPI has a story to tell of its product that “The Lunch Tray” would be interested in serving?

  • Minkpuppy

    It’s not only consumers that have a right to know about this stuff. I know some retailers that are also steaming mad about this.

    Because it’s not labeled, retailers can unknowingly purchase fresh ground beef that contains LFTB. They feel ripped off and I don’t blame them. It comes across like this crap is being used to increase ground beef pounds overall so that the grinder can make more money off it while keeping mum that a good chunk of that ground beef actually contains LFTB rather than higher quality muscle meat. There doesn’t seem to be an established limit in the regs or directives of how much of this stuff can be used in ground beef. I personally know a sausage maker that considers it to be junk–it just doesn’t have the same binding properties of 100% muscle meat.

    BPI’s lack of transparency could be attributed to a misguided attempt to protect their proprietary process which from a business angle is understandable. Unfortunately it just looks shady to consumers.

  • back to mystery meat

    Way to rock the boat Bettina. But how will this improve math and reading scores among our young scholars? School is more about parents’ affectations than it is about student’s education, apparently. The era of the helicopter parent will be a short one…and dysfunctional helicopters seldom enjoy soft landings. Historians will be left scratching their heads. But for today we shall all jump on the ‘yuck factor’ bandwagon at the head of the foodie clown circus parade. Ain’t it exciting?

  • Tamara

    back to mystery meat – Apparently you don’t subscribe to the “you are what you eat” theory, but the funny thing is … you are.

  • Tasty Cakes

    I find it amusing that so many people are up in arms about the “ick factor” of LFTB. It shows they truly have no idea of what really goes on in the food industry, and how many things they are putting in their mouths every day that they would deem “icky” if they saw the way they were being produced or handled at some point in the food chain.

    How do you know the picker of your produce didn’t also just pick their nose, or use the commode without applying the wonderful alcohol gel pump posted at the door to fully santiize their hands? Do you want to see the catlle or swine kill floor, hide ripper and bunger before a hot steak or pork chops? The list goes on and on and on… How do you really know about your food unless you grow it or raise it and process it yourself (sadly, few of us can or will these days).

    I am kind of sickened if I think enough about all kinds of processed food items. LFTB, and all automatically recovered meat products, Taco Meat containing less than 90% actual meat, moldy applesauce, reworked pepperoni, etc, etc… but will what I don’t know about the fresh head of cabbage or jar of pickles or loaf of bread hurt me more or less just because they look nicer??? What about taste…

    I say do a risk assessment of what you are about to eat, grow what you can yourself, buy ingredients and plan your recipe based how your health is treating you (and the other people eating it), and for goodness sake… eat what tastes good, no matter what ingredients you happen to be using or are able to use! Don’t be a fool and think that every piece of food you buy is fresh, safe and wholesome just because it looks nice and “not slimy”, but don’t be a snob either… just eat what tastes good!!!