School meals containing ammonium hydroxide, also known as treated ground beef or "pink slime", are OK, says the Department of Agriculture, despite growing opposition from parents and various groups. Even, McDonald's, a company not exactly known for healthy, wholesome foods, stopped adding ammonium-treated meat into its hamburgers since August 2011. Celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver, as well as other retractors are said to have influenced McDonald's into excluding the additive. Other fast-food outlets have also stopped using it, including Burger King and Taco Bell.
According to The Daily, approximately 3.2 million kilos (7 million lbs) of ammonium-treated beef have been scheduled as part of school lunch programs in US schools. Approximately 6.5% of ground beef destined for schools will have ammonium-hydroxide added.
Ammonium hydroxide is used as an antimicrobial additive in food - it is a food additive. The US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) classes ammonium-hydroxide food additive as GRAS (generally recognized as safe).
The USDA (US Department of Agriculture) claims its purchases of ground beef meet "the highest standards for food safety". The Agency stressed that it only allows products into commerce that it is sure are safe.
This begs the question, which is being currently voiced through many channels "If ammonium-hydroxide is not good enough for these fast food chains, how come the US government says it is good enough for schools..?"
US schools, agricultural and health authorities call ground beef with ammonium-hydroxide added "lean fine textured beef". It comes from Beef Products Inc., as well as some other companies.
Over the last few days, an online petition asking the US government to stop feeding "pink slime" to schoolchildren collected nearly 20,000 signatures. Yesterday, "pink slime" became the most commonly searched keyword in Google and Twitter (USA).
What is 'Pink Slime'?
Dr. Gerald Zirnstein coined the term "pink slime" in a USDA memo. Pink slime is boneless beef trimmings, or such products that have gone through a centrifuge. In the USA, it is sold by several companies, including Cargill Meat Solutions and Beef Products Inc.
Beef Products Inc. raises the pH of the beef trimmings by adding ammonium hydroxide to destroy harmful microbes, such as Salmonella and E. coli. Cargill, on the other hand, uses treatments that lower the pH.
USDA-approved beef trimmings have their fat and meat separated by putting them in a centrifuge. The lean beef is then squeezed through a pencil-thin tube. While being squeezed through, it is exposed to ammonia gas. The gas and water in the meat react, raising the pH of the meat, which kills pathogens (harmful microbes).
By the end of the process, the beef is 90+% lean and is delivered in meat supplies throughout the USA. It rarely makes up over 25% of the final meat products that people buy and consume.
A great deal of controversy surrounds the use of ammonium hydroxide in ground beef. With celebrity chefs, tabloids and other media have entered the circus of headline grabbing, it is very difficult for the consumer to gather any useful data.
Even the New York Times over the last few years has published so-called serious concern articles regarding ground beef safety, only to have to retract what it wrote, as occurred with mischaracterizations of Beef Products Inc's safety record.
Written by Christian Nordqvist
Copyright: Medical News Today
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My dad was raised on a farm in the 30's and 40's with 8 other siblings at a time when being fed was ones own resposability.Finding ways to utilize every source completely and safely(or not safely) wouldn't have been questioned.Only people who have never really been hungry(myself included)will up their noses to a legitimate food source.Everyone should be required to try headcheese at least once(nasty stuff)my uncles and dad all loved the stuff because they ate it as kids.
posted by Richard Cranium on 13 Mar 2012 at 12:14 am
So Taco Bell even quit using pink slime? Wow. So when will they stop using the other six colors of slime they use? Seriously - you're a brave individual if you eat their sludge. I've seen (and even smelled) sewage treatment plants that appeared more appetizing! LOL
The former undersecretary of agriculture, Joanne Smith, is the one who approved the use of "pink slime". She also served as president of both the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and the Florida Cattlemen's Association. She is the one who determined that the USDA would NOT require it to be labeled as such on the package. Reportedly she told USDA scientists, "it's pink, therefore it's meat". When Smith left the administration in 1993, she was appointed to the BPI board of directors. Now if all of that does not make a conflict of interest in a government office, I don't know what does.
This is on-going in all levels of the USDA, and FDA, and every other agency that is tasked with the oversight of consumer and citizen protection. I wouldn't trust the government to have my best interests, as a citizen, at heart for any topic, at any time. The government agencies are solely interested in profiteering for their corporate benefactors. Get your heads out of the sand and take a good hard look around, and question what doesn't look right. You won't get clear answers, they have too much to hide.
What you fail to mention in this article is that this type of meat was previously only used in dog food. Someone got the idea to soak it in ammonia and serve it to people. So tell me again why I should be ok with eating "meat" that I would otherwise serve my dog...?!?! Seriously, seriously!
Unfortunately, it's easy to find/create "Pretty supportive stuff" for just about anything. Don't believe in climate change? No problem, supportive stuff are all over to support your delusion. You support ID over evolution? Great, there are even "scientists" sharing that mumbo jumbo belief. You find hydrogenated oils are just harmless additives to your healthy diet? You're in luck; there are lots of sources to support you. So do I find your statement "Pretty supportive stuff" credible, Janet Riley from the American Meat Institute? No.
I am outraged at the fact that my children have been eating this disgusting slime in their school lunches! Who knows what else the government is poisoning our children with. Were all ignorant puppets to the government, we continue buying their poison while they're at home eating fine cuts of meat and organic food. Has anyone noticed how most of the rich are vegetarian or vegan? Were poor tho so we get free slime fed to our kids.
I am under the opinion that USDA does't understand the situation. My company has been under USDA for years, anything that went into our products had to be declared on the label. Where is amonium-dioxide?
This piece is sadly lacking some key facts. This is simply meat that has had the fat removed by machine, just like milk is now machine milked instead of hand milked. But it's still milk and this is still beef. Check out what Wash Po said about the process in Engineering a Safer Burger. http://wapo.st/xgRgpI and did you see what Food Safety News quoted consumer groups and food safety experts saying? Pretty supportive stuff.
There's no mention of how nutritionists don't consider pink slime "beef" because there's not exactly enough beef or actual meat in it; it's a lot of connective tissue and other non-meat, non-bone parts. Yet this article calls the meat by-product "beef" three times. I ask you: would you eat this beef, Medical News staffwriter?
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