Pink Slime: The Fast Food Ingredient You Didn’t Want to Know About

If You Eat Beef, You’ve Likely Eaten Pink Slime

I am sure by now you have all heard about something called pink slime. This ingredient has been used in our beef for a long time, but it was not until recently that many of us became aware of it. While the name alone stands to leave you a bit disgusted, here are a few things that you should know about pink slime, especially if you eat beef.

1. What is Pink Slime?

Pink slime is basically all of the left over animal parts that come from the animal carcass. These scraps originally were only used in pet foods.

2. Why is Pink Slime Harmful?

The most current hard data that is available to the public shows that in 2010, nearly 29% of all of the ground beef samples that were collected carried strains of Salmonella that were resistant to antibiotics. Studies have shown that the amount of drug resistant bacteria has been increasing. The main reason for this is because the companies that manufacture pink slime have been reducing the amount of ammonia that is used in the product. The reason for this reduction is because many consumers were complaining about how the ground beef tasted.

The reason that this is important is because at the time pink slime was introduced to the USDA, the company, Beef Products, Inc had presented a study showing how the ammonia process kills both Salmonella and E.coli. The study that was presented was convincing enough that the USDA, when testing meat for bacteria, chose to exclude products from Beef Products, Inc.

3. Why is Pink Slime Used?

It is quite obvious that the main reason that pink slime is used is because it provides cheap filler. Even though the product was introduced as a way to help sterilize meat, which it is failing to do, it all comes down to the bottom line. If you have eaten beef of any kind, you have likely eaten pink slime.

4. How do I Avoid Eating Pink Slime?

Avoiding pink slime is difficult as the USDA does not require the manufacturers to tell you that it is part of your ground beef. The reason is that the USDA labels this as a “process” and not an “ingredient.”

There are a few ways to avoid eating pink slime. The first is to buy a food processor and ground your own beef. The second is to purchase beef from a local butcher and watch the process of it being ground. You may also ask the butcher at your local grocery store to ground beef fresh for you, if they can and will. The final way to avoid eating pink slime is to simply stop eating beef, which is obviously not the answer for everyone. Just shop smarter and always make sure to cook your meat thoroughly to kill any bacteria.

5. Which Supermarkets Can I Purchase Pink Slime-free Beef From?

One supermarket chain with a large presence in the Illinois and Missouri area has addressed this issue recently. Schnucks Markets, which include Schnucks, Logli and Highlander supermarkets, announced that it will no longer purchase beef products from companies that use pink slime. (Click here to read the press release.) To find out which of your local stores offer fresh beef that is free of pink slime, click here.

Do you intend to purchase foods that are processed using Pink Slime?


Image courtesy of pennstatelive.

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