Remember the big consumer kafuffle a year or two ago, about so-called ‘Pink Slime’ – a cheap, chemically-treated slaughterhouse byproduct being used to ‘extend’ the actual meat used in Fast Food Burger patties and other Ground Beef products? Well, the stuff is back…
The two main U.S. makers of Pink Slime – officially known as Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB) is actually slaughterhouse trimmings mechanically-deboned and de-fatted, pulverized and treated with an ammonia product to maker sure any germs present are killed and to give the ‘product’ a longer shelf life.
A consumer outcry in 2012 over the questionable wholesomeness and ethics of Pink Slime caused Fast Food Burger purveyors and cut-price Supermarket chains to stop using the material to dilute their Ground Beef products. Many former users, including McDonald’s and Kroger’s supermarkets, went to great pains to promote the fact that they were no longer using LFTB. At that time, a USDA spokesperson, scientist Gerald Zirnstein, told ABC News that LFTB was not fresh ground beef but a cheap substitute being added in. He also estimated that at least 70 per cent of the U.S. ground beef supply had some fraction of LFTB in it.
Within weeks, Pink Slime disappeared from the beef scene and the consumer cacophony died down.
Well, times have changed!
We all know that beef prices have skyrocketed in the last few months and that made a huge impact on Fast Food company profits. Until they quietly decided to start using LFTB again, to cut costs. They haven’t admitted they’re using it, but both the major makers of Pink Slime in the U.S. say they’re busy turning it out again, in response to demand from their customers – who are predominantly Fast Food and cut-price Supermarket chains.
Note: There are currently no requirements from the FDA to label or otherwise identify Ground Beef products containing Pink Slime as such. So, you never know…
I’m confident we’ll hear more about this situation as soon as it becomes common knowledge among the food activists.
We’ll keep you posted…
~ Maggie J.