Pink slime has been featured in the news before for being used as a filler in fast food restaurants and school lunches. Americans are now appalled to learn that the slime is also being added to supermarket ground beef.
The term pink slime refers to boneless beef trimmings that have been passed through a centrifuge and doused with ammonium hydroxide to destroy E. coli and salmonella. The product is called “lean, finely textured meat,” and is USDA-approved. The filler is found in the majority of ground beef patties sold in the U.S.
After the use of this gelatinous additive was called to the attention of the public, McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Burger King have all announced that they would stop using pink slime as a filler in their ground beef.
ABC News reported that 70 percent of supermarket ground beef contains the additive, even though there is no mention of this on the label. The American Meat Institute maintains that the pink slime is edible and even goes so far as to insist that the slime is simply beef.
"The fact is, BPI's Lean Beef Trimmings (BLBT) is beef. The beef trimmings that are used to make BLBT are absolutely edible. In fact, no process can somehow make inedible meat edible; it's impossible. In reality, the BLBT production process simply removes fat and makes the remaining beef more lean and suited to a variety of beef products that satisfy consumers' desire for leaner foods” AMI said in a statement issued through Food Safety News, “In fact, BLBT is a sustainable product because it recovers lean meat that would otherwise be wasted. The beef industry is proud to efficiently produce as much lean meat as possible from the cattle we raise. It's the right thing to do and it ensures that our products remain as affordable as we can make them while helping to feed America and the world.”