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The Quiet Return of Pink Slime
Ground Beef with a heapin' helpin' of Ammonium Hydroxide
According to several reports in the mainstream media, that infamous ammonia-treated mash-up of meat trimmings, better known as "pink slime," has made a comeback. Bill Tomson and Helena Bottemiller Evich of Politico have uncovered government information which indicates the pink slime has been "allowed" to be served to school kids in Texas, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
Schools in Iowa, North Dakota and Nebraska never did not stop serving the controversial pink slime to students even after numerous complaints from people all over the U.S. caused a national outcry in early 2012.
The infamous pink slime was brought to the attention of the public by Jamie Oliver in a national primetime television news show and a series of reports produced by ABC World News. Since then, McDonald's has stopped using the pink slime in their products. You can see the infamous pink slime on this YouTube.
Pink Slime in the News
Pink Slime: What is it Exactly?
Known in the meat processing industry as "lean, finely textured beef," pink slime is essentially made up from the remaining scraps of cattle carcasses; rejected fat, sinew, bloody effluvia and occasional bits of meat. The industry once called these "trimmings" a low-value waste product to be used in pet foods.
These same beef scraps were once considered to contain too much fat for human consumption. Once collected, these scraps are heated in a centrifuge to separate and extract the various "useable" parts. These useable parts create a pink slime substance that is treated with ammonium hydroxide to kill any bacteria. The resulting pink slime, or lean finely textured beef is then frozen and sold to meat processors as an additive to be mixed in with regular ground beef.
The USDA allows up to 15% of pink slime to be mixed into regular ground beef before any labeling is required. What that means is as much as 15% of the processed "100% ground beef" you buy at the store, are served in restaurants or prepared for as many as 31 million school kids each school day.
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Officials at Beef Products, Inc. where 7 million pounds lean finely textured beef is produced each week, assures consumers that the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) has affirmed that the product is safe, wholesome, nutritious and 100% lean beef. Folks in the beef processing industry consider pink slime to be an "impressive innovation."
Why Are Schools Using Pink Slime?
The simple answer is money. Currently there are about 31 million kids attending schools all across the U.S. and with schools feeling the financial pinch like everyone else, cutting costs is essential for keeping the doors open.
Although the pink slime only cuts about 3% off the cost of real ground beef, that's 3% off the cost to feed 31 million students every school day. Apparently, some school systems have decided that a 3% savings is worth feeding pink slime to school children.
The Known Health Threat of Ammonium Hydroxide
This chemical is most commonly found in window cleaning solutions, wood polish and floor cleaners. According to the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) required by the U.S. government to appear on labels of products containing ammonium hydroxide, this substance is considered very hazardous, especially when coming in contact with human skin.
It may also cause damage to mucous membranes which makes up the entire human digestive system. Dr. Daniel Zagst states that prolonged or repeated exposure to this substance can cause it to accumulate in the body's organs, causing damage to sensitive blood vessels.
The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) regards the presence of ammonium hydroxide in our food to be safe. They state that "although there have been no significant feeding studies specifically designed to ascertain the safety threshold of ammonium compounds ad food ingredients."
Their experts claim this substance to be safe for human consumption even though no specific testing has been conducted on the adding ammonium hydroxide to food. You can see the findings for yourself at the FDA website.
So, bottom line: Yes, ammonium hydroxide will kill dangerous bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella, but it can also destroy the very bacteria in the human digestive system that keeps people healthy. The question should really be about what is acceptable in our food and what is not. You must decide what is best for you and your family.
© 2013 MKayo