Pink slime for lunch

Yum?

WRITTEN BY: Brittney Elkins
Pink slime is used in ground beef.
Image Source: USDA via Wikimedia Commons
Pink slime is used in ground beef.

Pink slime is on the lunch menu. Should we brown-bag, or just call the Ghostbusters?

Pink slime has been banned by fast-food chains like McDonald’s, but it seems the government isn’t setting their standards quite as high.

Pink slime is pieces of meat and muscle salvaged from slaughterhouse floors and treated with a pink chemical to kill any dangerous pathogens. The pink goo is used in the food industry as an anti-microbial agent in meats, and it’s regulated by the U.S. Agriculture Department. They classify it as “generally recognized as safe.”

And yes, it looks very similar to the “living” stuff that wreaks havoc on Manhattan in the second Ghostbusters installation.

The USDA is buying seven million pounds of the ammonia-treated meat called pink slime. The meat will be used for school lunch for students around the country.

In 2005, the USDA limited the amount of ammonia-treated LBT in one serving of ground beef to 15 percent. But the packaging does not require ammonia to be listed as an ingredient, so it’s difficult to tell if your school is receiving “pink slime” meat.

The ammonia is a “processing agent”, so technically it doesn’t have to be listed as an ingredient.

Why would the USDA give kids pink slime? Maybe they are trying to use up every bit of the cow to avoid waste, or maybe just because it’s cheap.

Adding pink slime shaves 3 cents off the cost of a pound of ground beef.

Right now the government has given no indication that it plans to follow suit with the fast food companies and pull the pink slime from school lunch rooms, so if the thought of ammonia-treated meat scares you, it might be best to pack your lunch on hamburger day.

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