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'Pink Slime' Found in Most Grocery Ground Beef

'Pink Slime' Found in Most Grocery Ground Beef


Does the American public really know what's inside the ground beef they're eating? A new report claims much of that meat is filled with what's being called "pink slime."

Several popular fast food chains have agreed to using the filler. But what about the beef at your local grocery store?

According to new reports, the chemically-enhanced filler wasn't only used in fast food burgers, it's in 70 percent of the ground beef Americans purchase at the supermarket.

"It is economic fraud. It's not fresh ground beef. It is a substitute," said Gerald Zirnstein, a former U.S. Department of Agriculture scientist.


'Pink slime' panic grows online: Are we overreacting?
By Jane Weaver, Deputy health editor

Updated March 9: An online petition urging the government to stop the use of "pink slime" -- the scrape and waste meat products that are treated with ammonium-hydroxide -- in school food has collected almost 20,000 signatures over the last several days.

After reports that school districts around the country were serving kids hamburgers containing up to 15 percent of the processed product known in the meat industry as "Lean Finely Textured Beef', parents and consumers poured online to express their disgust. As of Friday afternoon "pink slime" became the most searched phrase on Google Trends and Twitter users were expressing their disgust on #pinkslime.


Red meat blamed for one in 10 early deaths

March 13, 2012 – WORLD  – Small quantities of processed meat such as bacon, sausages or salami can increase the likelihood of dying early by a fifth, researchers from Harvard School of Medicine found. Eating steak increases the risk of early death by 12%. The study found that cutting the amount of red meat in peoples’ diets to 1.5 ounces (42 grams) a day, equivalent to one large steak a week, could prevent almost one in 10 early deaths in men and one in 13 in women. The scientists said that the government’s current advice that people should eat no more than 2.5 ounces (70 grams) a day, around the level the average Briton already consumes, was “generous.” Dr Frank Hu, co-author of the study, said: “Given the growing evidence that even modest amounts of red meat is associated with increased risk of chronic disease and premature death, 2.5 ounces (70 grams) per day seems generous. The bottom line is that we should make red meat only an occasional rather than regular part of our diet.” Red meat often contains high amounts of saturated fat, while bacon and salami contain large amounts of salt. Replacing red meat with poultry, fish or vegetables, whole grains and other healthy foods cut the risk of dying by up to one fifth, the study found. –Telegraph

Layoffs Show 'Pink Slime' Maker Just Can't Get Past the Name


One manufacturer of the beef byproduct that's been dubbed "pink slime" said on Monday it was laying off 86 employees, the start of a planned 650-person layoffs after demand bottomed out as customers decided they just couldn't stomach the "finely textured beef."

According to The Associated Press' Grant Schulte Beef Products Inc. says it's the victim of a "campaign of misinformation." While we're not going to go so far as to support that characterization of the unfortunate name their product has garnered (it is pink and slimy, after all), it's pretty clear the stomach-turning buzz has done some damage to companies in an otherwise decent beef market.

BPI said last week it would close three plants and lay off 650 workers, the first of which it let go on Monday. Another supplier of what manufacturers call "lean finely textured beef," AFA Foods, filed for bankruptcy in early April. And as's Bill Briggs reports, the beef industry is actually doing pretty well aside from the unappetizing figures form makers of the unfortunate alias: "Cattle prices in the first quarter were up 20 percent over year-earlier levels, according to the Agriculture Department, as strong overseas demand has more than offset a steady decline in U.S. consumption."

But not for the boneless beef trimmings additive whose popular name, Phillip Boffey wrote in The New York Times Sunday, was "coined in 2002 in an internal e-mail by the scientist at the Agriculture Department who felt it was not really ground beef." The term actually first appeared in The Times in a 2009 story on beef safety. It's such a catchy term, and the idea of ground up cow bits disinfected by ammonia is just so gross, that there's probably no coming back from the unfortunate branding. However BPI's going to keep making a little of the additive, "and says it hopes to restore public confidence," Boffey says. Most likely that will mean a long campaign to change the popular name from the one we already know.

“Pink Slime” Rejected by Most of Nation’s Schools

By Sarah B. Weir, Yahoo! blogger | Healthy Living – 6/6/12

All but three states have opted out of ordering the controversial beef product famously dubbed "pink slime" for their school lunch programs says the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Iowa, South Dakota, and Nebraska will continue to buy ground beef with added lean finely textured beef (LFTB), ammonia-treated scraps that are used as filler.

The term “pink slime” was coined by former USDA scientist Gerald Zirnstein and used in a 2009 interview by the New York Times on the safety of beef processing. In 2011, the product was featured on a segment of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.

The widespread use of LFTB really caught the public's attention in March 2012, when food columnist and mother Bettina Siegel launched a petition to ban it from the National School Lunch Program. Within a few days, it received over a 250,000 signatures. “When I launched the petition, I could never have foreseen that it would go viral and garner over a quarter of a million signatures,” Siegel tells Shine. “But I suspect that petition signers weren't just supporting my relatively narrow request relating to school food. I think they were voicing a larger concern about the lack of transparency in our food supply and the coziness between the beef industry and the USDA on this issue.”  

While the USDA says the product is safe to eat, many consumers were surprised (and grossed out) to learn that much of the ground beef they had been purchasing for decades contained "pink slime." LFTB doesn't have to be labeled and it is estimated that it can be found in 70% of conventional ground beef (it has never been allowed in organic meat). Due to public outcry, the USDA agreed to let schools opt out and many supermarket and fast food chains including McDonald's and Taco Bell also discontinued selling meat with the filler.


‘Pink slime’ oozes back into school lunches in four states
Illinois, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Texas

9/11/13  Now, four populous states — Illinois, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Texas — have once again ordered ground beef that could contain pink slime ammonia-treated lean finely textured beef, reports the New York Daily News.
After the 2012 dust-up, school districts in only three states — Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota — continued to purchase the product.

As of early September, those three states and the four additional states had contracted to buy about two million pounds of ground beef that could contain the controversial beef additive from a meat processing corporation with the alarmingly generic name Beef Products, Inc

“We are confident that these states and school districts will enjoy both quality and cost improvements. This will ultimately enable them to provide more nutritious lean beef to their children,” said Craig Letch, the director of food safety and quality assurance at Beef Products, Inc., according to the Daily News.

“Pink slime” is a beef filler made of meat byproducts after those byproducts have been spun in a centrifuge and exposed to ammonia to kill germs. (Other companies use the same basic process but treat the processed meat stuff with citric acid instead of ammonia.)

In 2012, Beef Products, Inc. sold seven million pounds of lean finely textured beef to the National School Lunch Program. The stuff was also present in over two-thirds of all ground beef in supermarkets.
After a March 2012 exposé by ABC News raised a glut of consumer concerns, several grocery store chains — and McDonald’s — dropped beef containing the product. The USDA began permitting school districts to choose to purchase pink slime-free ground beef only.

Beef Products, Inc. has sued ABC for $1.2 billion for defamation. Other defendants in the suit include the former USDA employee who came up with the term “pink slime” as well as someone who worked for the company as a quality assurance manager.

The Daily News caught up with Bettina Siegel, a food blogger (and mom) from Texas who crusaded against ground beef containing lean finely textured beef.
Unlike regular consumers, school kids have no market power or voice,” Siegel told the broadsheet. “They’re economically dependent on the school meal and basically have no choice but to eat what’s served to them.” Forum Index -> HEALTH and Medical NEWS
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