Would you like a burger? Yes? What about some “lean, finely textured meat” otherwise known as “pink slime.” Blech is pretty much the understatement of the year. McDonald’s recently announced that that they ditched the stuff in August of 2011. According to NPR, Burger King and Taco Bell have sworn off the slime too. But the slime still lurks — a recent ABC News story asserts that 70% of supermarket ground beef contains “pink slime.” And that’s not all, pink slime also makes its way into free and reduced-price school lunches.
So what exactly is pink slime? This filler product is made when the fatty outer trimmings of beef are cooked and then spun to separate the fat and the lean muscle. Since it’s technically meat, pink slime content doesn’t need to be labeled. But this product isn’t just extremely processed, it’s dangerous too. Since the outer trimmings of meat at at high risk for bacterial infection, pink slime is treated with ammonia. The USDA contends that this stuff is safe, but as word has spread parents, and hamburger lovers everywhere, are outraged. According to NPR, the USDA announced that it will give school administrators the option to order (the more expensive) pink slime-free beef starting next year.
So how can you avoid the slime? After reading this, you may want to swear off meat altogether. Otherwise, start by talking with your butcher. Find out where they get their meat, and how it’s processed. See if your butcher will grind it for you on the spot or better yet, take the meat home and grind it yourself (bonus: your meat will be fresher and taste better). As for the kiddos, study the lunch menu closely and have them brown bag it on hamburger day.
Feeling queasy? Have a portobello burger.