Screen Shot 2012-03-14 at 8.53.33 PM.pngThanks to Bettina Siegel, whose blog “The Lunch Tray,” and her online petition on 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?