It's Back! Pink Slime Returns

If you live in one of seven states (funny, the government isn't talking which), that disgusting slimy hamburger filler will be visiting your child's cafeteria very soon.

According to, only schools in three states had signed up for the ammonia-treated meat by this time last year.  Now, so far, a total of seven will be serving it to kids.

Bill Tomson and Helena Bottemiller Evich report that some schools, faced with ever-decreasing budgets, are revising their revulsion, and serving it again. Why? "Lean finely textured beef brings down the cost of ground beef by about 3 percent, which can add up quickly in a program that feeds more than 31 million school children each day," they write.

The two talked to Margo Wootan, head of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest.Schools, who said schools are under "more financial pressure than ever before, thanks in part to the new school lunch nutrition standards that hit the ground last year."   Although schools can now get six cents more per lunch to help cover the cost of more fruits, vegetables and whole grains to meet new requirements, the increase doesn’t cover all the changes, she notes.

Want to be even more grossed-out?  Lean finely textured beef is made from the remnant scraps of cattle carcasses that were once considered too fatty to go into human food. "The scraps are heated and centrifuged to reclaim bits of muscle and then the product is treated with ammonium hydroxide to kill bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli before being mixed into ground beef," Tomson and Evich point out.

Currently, USDA allows these beef products to contain up to 15 percent lean finely textured beef without labeling requirements, but last year the department said it would allow voluntary labeling.

Experts say pink slime is safe, and some even pitch it as wholesome and nutritious.  To me, it's kind of like eating rubber bands and being told they're good for you.


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