School Children Served Pink Slime for Lunch

Autoimmunity & Healing Diets

Mar 07

Have you heard of the latest delectable item on the school lunch menu? It’s a product called pink slime. It is made from beef scrapes, beef trim, cow connective tissue and it is treated with ammonium hydroxide to kill pathogens like salmonella and E. coli. It is then blended into regular ground beef and burger patties. The fast food joints rejected this stuff, but the USDA purchased 7 million pounds of it for the nation’s school lunch program.

I know that the fast food industry buys the cheapest meat they can find — many times it’s from feedlot cows that are dying but still standing — so they can still be used for food. Of course they are using conventional factory cows that are fed GM corn and soy to fatten them up for slaughter.

Is there a bomb in that meat?

These animals are also eating all the herbicides and pesticides used on these GM crops. Additionally, they are full of antibiotics given in their feed for growth enhancement.

I’m not as concerned about the trim and scraps (sometimes that collagenous material can provide good nutrients for the joints) as I am about the hydrogen peroxide wash that is used. Clearly, some of that will be in the meat.

Ammonium hydroxide can be harmful to eat (duh!) and it has the potential to turn into ammonium nitrate, which is a common ingredient in homemade bombs. It is also used in household cleaners and fertilizers. All of these products are very toxic. You would take care not to touch these products with your hands. Would you really want your kids eating them?

In spite of the ammonia there are still plenty of pathogens

In 2009, The New York Times reported that despite the added ammonia, testing of lean beef trimmings in schools across the country revealed dozens of instances of E. coli and salmonella pathogens.

Between 2005 and 2009, E. coli was found three times and salmonella 48 times, according to the New York Times, including two contaminated batches of 27,000 pounds of meat.

Soylent pink or lean beef trimmings?

The manufacturer of this scrap-trim-ammonia concoction, Beef Products Inc., calls it lean beef trimmings. Semantics can certainly hide this concoction that is normally used for dog food. Would you give your dog ammonia soaked lean beef trimmings?

Retired microbiologist Carl Custer, a 35-year veteran of the Food Safety Inspection Service said,

We originally called it soylent pink,” Custer told The Daily. “We looked at the product and we objected to it because it used connective tissues instead of muscle. It was simply not nutritionally equivalent [to ground beef]. My main objection was that it was not meat.

Back in the late 1990’s Custer and other microbiologists voiced concerns about soylent pink, but the USDA ruled that Lean Beef Trimmings were safe. At the time, the under secretary was JoAnn Smith, who had deep ties with the beef industry, serving as president of both the Florida Cattlemen’s Association and the of the National Cattlemen’s Association.

Pink Slime is not labeled

Gerald Zirnstein, another retired microbiologist, first coined the term pink slime after touring a Beef Products Inc. production facility in 2002 as part of an investigation into salmonella contamination in packaged ground beef. He said,

Scientists in D.C. were pressured to approve this stuff with minimal safety approval.

Additionally, there is no way of knowing if the pink slime is in a package of ground beef or burger patties because of relaxed labeling requirements. In 2005, the USDA limited the amount of ammonia-treated Lean Beef Trimmings in a serving of ground beef to 15 percent, but your guess is as good as mine if this is being followed.

Amy Bell, spokeswoman for the California Department of Education Food Distribution Program said,

The USDA-AMS [Agricultural Marketing Service] does allow for the inclusion of BPI Boneless Lean Beef [another lesson in semantics] in the ground beef they procure for all their federal food programs and, according to federal labeling requirements, it is not a raw material that is uniquely labeled.

Consumers may not be able to tell which products include this, because the USDA considers it a component in a production procedure — separating scrap meat — and not an ingredient that must be listed on food labels.

Zirnstein said,

They’ve taken a processed product, without labeling it, and added it to raw ground beef… Science is the truth, and pink slime at this point in time is a fraudulent lie.

A perfect storm in our food supply

Once again we have the perfect storm of laxity and greed:

  • Legislators tied to the industries they are supposed to monitor
  • Food industry companies buying the cheapest raw materials and processing them with questionable additives in order to make them somewhat palatable.
  • The USDA, our government in action, providing the nations next generation, our children, with the absolute worst garbage they call food, in order to fulfill their commitment to provide school lunches.
  • Poor labeling laws that allow processing chemicals and additives to be hidden in food. Somewhat reminiscent of GM ingredients going unlabeled in food.

This is simply another good reason for your children to BRING THEIR OWN LUNCH FROM HOME.

A blogger created a petition that is being sent to the USDA food secretary. Please click here to sign the petition.

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