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Holly Moore

Pink Slime

155 posts in this topic

Last week ABC News ran a series about the use of "boneless lean beef trimmings," more popularly known as "Pink Slime," in supermarket ground beef. They state 70 percent of all supermarket ground beef contains pink slime.

According to ABC the USDA does not require "boneless lean beef trimmings" to be listed as an added ingredient to ground beef. Since boneless lean beef trimmings are processed from beef they need not be listed separately. ABC reports that pink slime trimmings were "once only used in dog food and cooking oil." The report describes the manufacturing process:

The “pink slime” is made by gathering waste trimmings, simmering them at low heat so the fat separates easily from the muscle, and spinning the trimmings using a centrifuge to complete the separation. Next, the mixture is sent through pipes where it is sprayed with ammonia gas to kill bacteria. The process is completed by packaging the meat into bricks. Then, it is frozen and shipped to grocery stores and meat packers

Got me wondering about hamburger patties used by restaurants and fast food chains. Googled the question - USA Today reports that some fast food chains decided in January to stop using pink slime because of the bad PR, but the USDA still uses it for the school lunch program.

While Mr. Spock would certainly argue that considering pink slime to be "beef" is logical as it is made from livestock components with no additives other than a dash of ammonia, and even though I have no problem eating hot dogs or scrapple, I'm thinking its about time to buy a grinder attachment for the ol' Hobart mixer.


Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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Soylent Pink: it's what's for school lunch!

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Yeah, that's quite the, uh..."product."

I've been following it since 2009, when the New York TImes article came out.

A grinder for the ol' stand mixer is a pretty good idea.


Fat=flavor

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Im pleased you posted that reference to the NYT.

Some time ago, at the height of the MadCow frenzy the NYTimes posted a two page in depth article on the beef processing industry. Im sorry I do not have that reference.

it was more on Neural contamination than 'meat.' Beef carcasses were and still are im guessing ground up and lightly steamed to create layers in massive centifuges' that allowed for the separation of the 'beef supernate.'

This was processed and sold very cheaply ...

At that time it explained how Taco Bell could sell their products with beef so cheaply.

I was not aware that its in ''70 %" of supermarket 'hamburger'

Id also take that with some salt, as it may be in 100 % of certain chains and not in some others.

Its important that "buyer beware"

USDA is a trade advocate.


Edited by rotuts (log)

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The appalling thing about this pink slime, is that it is to be used at public schools for consumption by our children. It's too gross for hamburger restaurants, but since no one else wants it, we'll feed it to the kids. What kind of logic is that?

There are commercials on television in rotation right now about a fresh dog food for your pet that needs to be kept in the refrigerator to maintain its "goodness". So, Fido needs fresh, only the finest, blah, blah, blah food, but it is okay for Peter and Susie to knosh on true mystery meat at school? And knosh they will, especially if they live in Chicago or one of the other public school districts that confiscates home-made lunches.

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home made lunches are confiscated?

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In some school districts, yes.

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Id very much like to hear more about this.

what could be their rationale? to many home-made cookies? ive heard that the 'School Bake Sale' has gone the way of the ....

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Don't know if the lunch confiscation thingy has hit Canada or not. We have no grandkids.

Our furkids do eat fresh raw meat and bones twice a day all of which is carefully kept in the fridge.

I'm late in this topic but wanted to add that ever since I read the earlier stuff on the 'pink slime', we have asked our butcher to grind a specific roast for us for hamburger (while we diddle and dawdle about which grinder to buy... :raz: ) I don't use hamburger meat for much. Never liked the texture much.


Darienne

learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

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In some school districts, yes.

If your child has food allergies, intolerance, you can get a dispensation with a letter from your physician. They don't want to be sued!

I buy "real" meat and grind my own. Electric grinders are not expensive and some of the newer ones are small enough to not require much room and can handle most light grinding tasks. (A few pounds once in a while.)


Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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Wow.

It's never about doing what's really right for the kids, is it? Was there no push back from the parents?

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I listened to a story on this on NPR the other day. I could not discern one fact as to why this was necessarily bad. Only that it seems yucky.

"Lean beef trimmings" could describe the chain of a tenderloin. Although I think we're talking about much, much smaller scraps. But no less worthy of consumption.

A centrifuge shouldn't scare anyone. It's an amped up salad spinner and it sounds like they're using it to separate fat.

The ammonia might sound alarming, but as Wikipedia points out, it "is currently used commercially to reduce or eliminate microbial contamination of beef." I would look on eliminating microbial contamination as a worthy goal for my children's food.

If it looks gross, well, I bet we could have a whole thread about gross looking foods.


Edited by IndyRob (log)

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I'm feeling really ignorant. How long has this stuff been added to ground beef? Is it only beef? My local market does brisk business in ground chicken, turkey, pork, and lamb.

IndyRob, you are probably right. So much processing in our food, what's the difference here? Nonetheless, though I don't use ground meat often, my next kitchen purchase is a grinder attachment to my KA.



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Rob-

First, if I am buying ground beef, I want ground beef, not pink slime. And I think if they add pink slime to extend the ground beef, they should have to disclose this. Second, the pink slime is exempt from the same testing for bacteria that ground beef undergoes because the beef is supposed to be sterilized by the ammonia, but spot testing has demonstrated that this is not true. Third, as a parent, I do not want my kids eating this crap. The nutrition is less than ground beef, and I am not aware of any long term studies on adding ammonia to foods.

Most of the beef we eat in our family comes from a cow we raised but we have certainly picked up ground beef in the store on occasion for a quick meal. I think this will be less likely in the future.

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I'm feeling really ignorant. How long has this stuff been added to ground beef? Is it only beef?

We're likely to get a better answer, but in the meantime it's interesting to note that the Wikipedia Ammonia article links to something called 'beef tea', which links to Bovril. That article traces Bovril's origins back to 1870, although the ammonia article indicates that the antiseptic qualities were known in 1895.

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Hmm, I've heard of "beef tea" before and assumed it was a boullion or broth of some sort--as opposed to an additive. "Slime" certainly sounds like something different.



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From what I understand about the pink slime, it is not actually beef, it is connective tissues that are added as an extender. Personally, if I feel like I need an "extender" in beef, I would add oatmeal in the time honored tradition of stretching meat to feed more people.

I don't want to eat ammonia, either.

LindaK, I believe that beef tea is a boullion, at least it is described in one of my elderly cookbooks as such. It is in a chapter about feeding convalescents and invalids.

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Rob-

First, if I am buying ground beef, I want ground beef, not pink slime. And I think if they add pink slime to extend the ground beef, they should have to disclose this.

But it is ground beef. Granted, it's gone through one extra innocuous step and one more chemical step meant to improve saftey, but it's still chopped up muscle.

Second, the pink slime is exempt from the same testing for bacteria that ground beef undergoes because the beef is supposed to be sterilized by the ammonia, but spot testing has demonstrated that this is not true.

If true, is that a problem with the product? Or a problem with the regulations?

Third, as a parent, I do not want my kids eating this crap. The nutrition is less than ground beef, and I am not aware of any long term studies on adding ammonia to foods.

I wonder how many people who object to this pink slime stop by every Purell container they come across, unaware of the fact that water is more than twice as effective as the hand sanitizer.

On the other hand, if we can fully use every bit of the animals (in a modern continuation of the practice of native Americans which are so lauded) we can reduce the number of those slaughters and/or provide less expensive proteins to our growing children.

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From what I understand about the pink slime, it is not actually beef, it is connective tissues that are added as an extender.

But I don't think connective tissue would be pink. And I don't see any benefit to adding connective tissue to ground beef unless you're looking to add gelatine. But surely, no one here has a problem with gelatine.

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From what I understand about the pink slime, it is not actually beef, it is connective tissues that are added as an extender.

But I don't think connective tissue would be pink. And I don't see any benefit to adding connective tissue to ground beef unless you're looking to add gelatine. But surely, no one here has a problem with gelatine.

It becomes pink with the addition of ammonia. It is not pink in color, but rather a greyish-brown before the ammonia is added.

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IndyRob, thanks for providing the logical counter argument to our immediate, negative reaction to this subject. I think a lot of us (me included) don't know much about commercial meat processing. I'm easy to spook, I'll admit. This does sound like just another means of "maximizing" a product.

Still. I'm looking forward to that meat grinder attachment!



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Selling this stuff in ground beef is misleading. Yes, technically it is beef, but it is not what the average consumer expects to be in their ground beef. When I buy ground beef, I expect that it was processed in a grinder, not a centrifuge.

That said, I DO have a grinder, and we use it. Planning to do so more after reading all this.

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I'm really curious as to whether there's a similar derivative product added to other ground meats, or why it's just a beef thing.



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