Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

‘Pink Slime’: Schools Have A Choice

It's been a long week for "lean finely textured beef."

ground beef

Photo: Ernesto Andrade (flickr)

Ammonia-treated beef does not have to be labeled as an ingredient.

The Daily’s reporting of 7 million pounds of ammonia-treated beef destined for school lunches has evoked a flurry of responses from concerned citizens, federal officials and industry spokespeople alike.

‘Pink Slime’

Several years ago, South Dakota company, Beef Products, Inc., discovered that injecting lower-grade beef with ammonia drastically reduced the incidence of dangerous pathogens like E. coli and Salmonella.

The resulting ‘pink slime’ — as detractors now call it — was mixed into a large portion of American’s ground beef supply, where it went largely unnoticed until safety concerns and media attention caused major chains like McDonald’s to stop using the product in 2011.

Coming To A Lunch Tray Near You?

The news of pink slime’s presence in school lunches did not sit well with food activists. TheLunchTray.com started an online petition, which garnered over 200,000 signatures.

And the USDA listened.

Schools now have the option to serve ‘lean finely textured beef’ — the official name for pink slime.

While the USDA and Beef Products execs still stand behind the meat’s safety, the “yuck” factor may prove insurmountable.

Read More:

  • Pink slime? Nothing wrong with it in school meals, USDA says (Christian Science Monitor)
  • ‘Pink slime’ to be dropped from some school lunches (USA Today)
  • USDA: Schools can decide if ‘pink slime’ is used in lunches (USA Today)
Liz Leslie

Liz Leslie is a journalist based in Bloomington, Indiana. When she's not writing about food, she's likely eating food. Or dreaming about food.

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