Now when I hear the word "pink" I usually think of something pleasant and soft and sweet. Well, not so with pink slime. Recently a report was released that the national school lunch program was buying 7 million pounds of ground beef filled with something called pink slime. It was like a shot heard around the internet world. From the outcry, the USDA now says that the schools will be able to choose what type of meat they serve. After reading up on this pink slime makings, my hope is that they will be able to choose something more wholesome and nutritious to feed our children.
That is all well and good, I am thinking. However, I still wasn't exactly sure just what pink slime actually was. So, here you go. If your tummy is a bit weak, I suggest you skip down a couple of paragraphs.
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, where it is added to most ground beef.
" 'Pink slime' is unappetizing ... but perhaps not more so than other things that are routinely part of hamburger," said Sarah Klein, an attorney with the food safety program of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
Klein, said that the pink slime brouhaha was "a little bit of a tempest in a teapot, once you recognize what else goes in burger." Things such as head meat, cheek meat, edible lean organ meats (the heart and other internal organs), as well as weasand -- "raw esophagus." "Head meat trimmings" are particularly in wide use, according to Klein, in a range of burger products -- "ground beef, hamburger, pure-beef patties, regular beef patties."
The American Meat Institute doesn't see a safety problem with the product, which it refers to by the term "boneless lean beef trimmings."
Klein doesn't go that far. She said something I tend to agree with in this day and age. She said, "What pink slime reveals to us," she said, "is the unsavory marriage of engineering and food, but it’s present in a lot of the products we eat."
It is the process that seems to be the norm in American food. Processing our food far from its natural state and changing wholesome natural foods to other forms of crap. The bottom line is that we as parents, and consumers must decide whether we want our children eating ground beef at school . . . or even at home.
How do we avoid pink slime in our ground beef?
When it came out several years ago that some fast food restaurants were using “pink slime” in their meat we tried to avoid eating hamburgers out and started cooking them more at home. How do we make sure what we purchase at our local grocer is the "real thing" and not some manufactured ammonia treated bunch of by products? Am I going to have to resort to buying a meat grinder and putting it up on my kitchen counter and grinding our beef for our Sunday evening cookouts? Can you actually see me doing that? Think not. Love my boys and all, but there are only so many hours in a day. I read that this fellow, Gerald Zirnstein, the former United States Department of Agriculture scientist does just that. He is the whistleblower on all this and says he knows "that 70 percent of the ground beef we buy at the supermarket contains something he calls “pink slime….”
Furthermore, and even more disturbing for people like me who actually do read the labels and tend to purchase based on what is in the labels of the food, “The “pink slime” does not have to appear on the label because, over objections of its own scientists, USDA officials with links to the beef industry labeled it meat.” Basically, the thought is ‘it’s pink, therefore it’s meat.’”
On a promising note, for an article on this by ABC News, they “. . . emailed the top 10 grocery chains in America. Only Publix, Costco, HEB and Whole Foods responded, saying they don’t use pink slime. No word yet from the rest.”
HOORAY! THOSE ARE MY GROCERY STORES!
Also, if your meat is stamped USDA Organic, it’s pure meat with no filler.”
Another suggestion I read was to choose a roast like a boneless chuck eye roast and ask the butcher to grind it for you. You could then know it is 100 percent beef wihout fillers.
So, that is where my research took me today. I think I will stick to shopping at Publix, Costco and Whole Foods. I will also double check the labels and look for the USDA Organic stamp, or to save money ask my butcher to grind a roast for our hamburgers.
I think my boys will thank me . . . as will anyone who comes over for burgers!
Sources: Latimes.com March 15, 2012; csmonitor.com March 16, 2012; blogs.ajc.com March 12, 2012
What are your thoughts on the pink slime hoopla? Does it gross you out as much as me? Do you think Five Guys has the good stuff or the bad stuff?
By the way, I'll be the feature blogger over at Fitblogger tomorrow! Check it out! AND thanks for all of the Fitterati votes!! You all got me to double digits - Yippee!