After garnering nationwide attention for being secretly added to processed hamburgers and beef products, including those served in school lunchrooms, “lean finely textured beef,” aka “pink slime,” is reportedly on its way out from the menu offerings of McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and Burger King. But according to Mother Jones, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) plans to keep ordering this imitation, ammonia-laced product for use in its National School Lunch Program (NSLP), a taxpayer-funded government food program that serves low-income students.
Pink slime gained much notoriety after being featured in the acclaimed 2008 documentary Food Inc.. Robert Kenner, the film’s director, revealed an inside look into Beef Products International (BPI), a South Sioux City, Neb.-based processing plant that produces most of the nation’s supply of pink slime. The product, which is composed of bovine connective tissue and random beef scraps doused in ammonia and formed into a paste, is commonly used as a beef filler because it is low-cost and supposedly less risky compared to conventional ground beef.
You can watch a disturbing clip from Food Inc. featuring footage from the BPI plant and commentary by BPI founder Eldon Roth at the following link:
FDA, USDA say ammonia-laced ‘pink slime’ is safe for children
Though BPI claims that pink slime is safer than conventional ground beef because of the ammonia treatment, tests conducted by NSLP between 2005 and 2009 have revealed that the meat-like matter routinely tests positive for salmonella at four times the rate of conventional beef. Ammonia is also a highly-corrosive poison that is known to cause respiratory illness and lung damage, liver problems, and cancer. The Chemical Encyclopedia says ammonia is “highly toxic” if swallowed (http://healthychild.org/issues/chemical-pop/ammonia/).
And yet both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the USDA insist that pink slime is safe, even though there is absolutely no evidence to prove this. And now the USDA’s NSLP is reportedly ordering seven million pounds of pink slime to serve to students, a shocking move that even the nation’s most notoriously unhealthy fast-food chains are unwilling to make.
Reports indicate that top USDA officials have routinely ignored all data showing that pink slime is a “high risk product,” and have instead continued to endorse the product as safe for human consumption. And the worst part about the situation is that, just like with genetically-modified (GM) products, pink slime is secretly added into raw ground beef without being properly labeled.
“They’ve taken a processed product (ammonia), without labeling it, and added it to raw ground beef,” said microbiologist Gerald Zirnstein recently to The Daily. “Science is the truth, and pink slime at this point in time is a fraudulent lie” (http://www.takepart.com/article/2012/03/05/pink-slime-still-menu).
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