My Response to Beef Industry Defenses of “Pink Slime”

by Bettina Elias Siegel on March 12, 2012

Lunch Tray readers following the astonishing progress of the Change.org petition launched here last week to get “Boneless Lean Beef Trimmings” (BLBT) out of school food (175,000  at present count) will hardly be surprised that the beef industry has started to come out swinging.  PR reps of the American Meat Institute, employees of Beef Products Inc. (the inventor of BLBT) and others with ties to the beef industry are now all over Twitter defending so-called “pink slime” with the hashtag #pinkslimeisamyth.

Well, in point of fact, the undisclosed presence of ammonia-hydroxide-treated bovine connective tissues in 70% of the nation’s ground beef  is hardly a “myth.”  But rather than responding under Twitter’s 140 character constraint, I’d like to address here a few of the main arguments currently being advanced by industry in defense of BLBT.

BLBT Is Nothing But Lean, Nutritious Beef

Photo of ground beef processing.

Meat industry lobbyists maintain that BLBT is nothing more than “lean, nutritious” beef, but it’s well worth noting that two former microbiologists at USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service – now federal whistleblowers – have vociferously protested the agency’s controversial decision to classify BLBT as “meat.”  In a 2002 email to colleagues, one of these scientists wrote: “I do not consider the stuff to be ground beef, and I consider allowing it in ground beef to be a form of fraudulent labeling.”  That revelation ought to be at least some cause for consumer concern.

BLBT Is Perfectly Safe to Eat

Even BPI acknowledges that the types of slaughterhouse waste used to make BLBT– fatty scraps and bits of connective tissue left over from beef processing – is more susceptible to foodborne pathogens than regular cuts of meat.  These bits and pieces tend to come from the outermost part of the animal and thus are more likely to be contaminated with excrement smeared on the animal’s hide.  According to a Pulitzer Prize-winning 2009 New York Times exposé, federal testing between 2005-2009 found that ground beef containing BLBT was four times more likely to contain salmonella than regular ground meat.

In fairness, BPI has improved its safety protocols and now leads the industry in testing for not just one but the so-called “Big Six” strains of E. coli, and it also vows to hold back any batch testing positive for these pathogens.  But it’s important to remember that there are other deadly foodborne pathogens besides the Big Six.  Last year’s E. coli outbreak in Germany, which left 45 dead and 3,785 sickened, was caused by a previously unknown strain of the bacteria, demonstrating that microbiologists often identify new pathogens only after a deadly outbreak.  And should an outbreak occur, children are more vulnerable than adults to suffering serious harm, or even death.

Using Every Bit of the Cow is “Sustainable”

The meat industry argues that we ought to love pink slime because it “absolutely is the right thing” to use every available scrap on a cow carcass. But we were already honoring the noble ideal of “nose-to-tail” butchering by putting these scraps to use in the past for pet food or rendering into cooking oil.  Was there any reason to shift their use to human consumption, beyond profit motive?  (According to ABC News, BPI has made “hundreds of millions of dollars” on the sale of pink slime; a source quoted in the Times article says BPI’s founder and owner has “amassed a tidy fortune” from it.)

BLBT Helps Feed a Hungry World

BPI and the meat industry answer that last question by arguing that BLBT helps “feed America and the world” by stretching the available supply of beef products.  But if our country is undertaking a wholesale “stretching” of the food supply with ammonia-treated bovine connective tissue, shouldn’t individual consumers have the right to opt out?  Just as some people relish the idea of a beef tongue sandwich and others are repelled at the notion, many consumers want to avoid pink slime for reasons both rational and irrational.  Yet the federal government’s decisions — at BPI’s behest – to classify BLBT as “beef” so that it need not be labeled, and to treat ammonia hydroxide as an undisclosed processing agent, has utterly stripped consumers of the right to know exactly what they are eating and feeding their families.

BLBT Actually Helps America’s School Children

In a new post published on The Daily this morning, BPI spokesman Rich Jochum asserts that the presence of BLBT in school beef actually helps our children because it “1) improves the nutritional profile, 2) increases the safety of the products and 3) meets the budget parameters that allow the school lunch program to feed kids nationwide every day.”

Let me address these notions in a slightly different order.  When BPI argues that use of BLBT “increases the safety of products” it seems to be coming dangerously close to making the claim that by mixing the ammonia-hydroxide-treated substance into regular ground beef, its mere presence reduces pathogens in the rest of the product.  This is precisely how BPI first marketed BLBT when it was introduced in 2001, but, as well detailed in the aforementioned Times exposé, this food safety claim has been thoroughly discredited.

Second, when BPI says use of BLBT increases the nutritional profile of school food, I can only assume that the company is referring to the lower fat content of ground beef mixed with BLBT.  But of course another way of achieving the same result would be to add higher quality lean beef to the mixture, rather than pink slime.  This would of course be more costly, however, which leads to the third defense of pink slime, which is that it reduces school districts’ food costs.

On this point, BPI and I are in complete agreement.  Use of BLBT shaves three cents a pound off the ground beef that contains it.  But as writer Tom Philpott wryly noted back in 2010:

Three cents off the cost of making a pound of ground beef. Under the severe fiscal austerity that school cafeteria administrators operate under, pinching those three pennies is a rational decision, even if it means subjecting children to ammonia-ridden slime that may contain pathogens.

The bottom line for me is this:  three leading fast food giants – McDonald’s, Burger King and Taco Bell – all recently discontinued their use of BLBT.  Though they haven’t said so explicitly, it’s likely that growing consumer concern over pink slime led to their change in practice.  But while fast food customers can vote with their dollars, our nation’s school children, particularly those whose lower economic status forces them to rely on federal school meals, lack any voice in the matter.  The must passively consume whatever the federal government sees fit to feed them.

I simply do not  believe that use of BLBT is doing our best by our nation’s children.

And, so far, apparently, over 175,000 people agree with me.

 

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{ 103 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris March 12, 2012 at 10:08 am

The person who passed slime as meat was hired by BPI as soon as she left her federal position.. I believe I heard 1.2 mil $ floating around (as a signing bonus?…) which is even more disgusting than eating pink slime.

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TX Consumer and Mom March 14, 2012 at 9:46 am

Get your facts strait “Chris”. She was never employed or on the BOD of BPI, but because a so called news station reported it you believe it. Oh, by the way I have a bridge in the desert for sale…interested?

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Deborah Neyens March 14, 2012 at 11:24 am

Chris is close. Smith was hired as a director of Iowa Beef Producers, a major supplier to Beef Products, Inc. The USDA has said that while her appointment was legal at the time, under current ethics rules she could not have immediately joined the board. Here is her bio as it appears on the Florida Department of Agriculture website: http://www.florida-agriculture.com/agwoman/smith.htm

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Happy's Greenhouse March 14, 2012 at 11:34 am

“…improving the public’s perception of beef’s nutritional value…”

So, pink slime is a perception issue?

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Deborah Neyens March 12, 2012 at 10:26 am

Yes, I had one of those American Meat Institute drones post the following comment on my pink slime article yesterday: “This post is really troubling because it so badly misrepresents what is involved. The beef that you are calling “pink slime” is is simply meat that has had the fat removed by machine, just like milk is now machine milked instead of hand milked. But it’s still milk and this is still beef. USDA regulates and inspects it to ensure that it is produced in a safe and wholesome manner. Do you think it’s acceptable to discard millions of pounds of wholesome meat when we have a way to ensure that it’s not wasted? I don’t.”

Hmmm. Who’s badly misrepresenting the process? “Lean finely textured beef” filler is “simply meat that has had the fat removed by machine” is it? What about the fact that connective tissue is not wholesome meat? And isn’t application of ammonium hydroxide spray part of the process? I agree food waste is a big problem, but the answer to food waste is not rendering scraps otherwise destined for dog food fit for human consumption by applying a chemical spray and then trying to pass it off as wholesome beef!

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M March 12, 2012 at 10:51 pm

Hi guys, I don’t mean to offend anyone or sound like I am supporting BLBT. But do you guys know what exactly connective tissue and ammonium hydroxide are? I am a biotech major, and based on my knowledge, both substances by themselves are not harmful to human health… Look it up on wikipedia. But it is true that BLBT is not as nutritious as the muscle portion of meats. However, “not as nutritious” does not equate to “harmful” at least in the scientific sense.
I guess I’m just confused about why pink slime is so bad, I have been searching for the real, detailed scientific reason all over the web and all I find is “connective tissue and ammonium hydroxide.” I feel like if ppl are going against BLBT, then there should have been major uproars over the use of certain preservatives and types of food packaging that are still used to this day.

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Red_3 March 13, 2012 at 7:43 am

Good point…then there’s msg…

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Michele Hays @QuipsTravails March 13, 2012 at 8:16 am

“Harmful” refers to the fact that BLBT is made from trimmings that are more susceptible to pathogens (due to more surface area) which have been found to persist despite the presence of an alkaloid like ammonium hydroxide.

“Not as nutritious” is a separate issue that is of concern because of labeling: consumers assume that “100% Ground Beef” contains muscle tissue and fat, or in other words, ground cuts of meat they might purchase whole – not added connective tissue as filler (essentially gelatin, as I posted above.) Similarly, I don’t expect to find feather meal in ground chicken, even if it is high in (non-digestible) protein and comes from chickens.

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uraflunkie March 13, 2012 at 11:30 am

Use your knowledge wisely. NH4OH is a toxic substance, its presence should not be anywhere near our food. The gov’t regards it as “generally recognized as safe”. Which is their way of saying that it wont kill you right away. NH4OH has been used to keep bacterial levels down due to increased pathogenic bacteria at meat processing plants. The reason for elevated bacteria levels is due to cows being fed a diet of inexpensive grain (corn). It all comes down to the meat industry trying to make more profit at the expense of our health.

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Kelly March 13, 2012 at 8:41 pm

You can eat it if you want to. I don’t want to eat it. And I want clear labeling so I know what I am buying. Simple as that. Advocating for this basic right needs no scientific explanation.

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Jen March 14, 2012 at 1:22 am

I’m trained in both biology and chemistry. I am definitely concerned with the use of ammonium hydroxide. However, an even bigger concern to me is the amazing ability of pathogens to adapt, mutate, and become resistant to any “treatment” humans think will kill them. This method has disaster written all over it in my mind.

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lauren March 25, 2012 at 7:58 pm

and hot dogs!

Seriously, I do support BLBT because nothing I can find anywhere explains what the uproar is about. I’m a mom.

From what I CAN find, the mechanical process currently used (not the old process which the so-called reporters are talking about) is removing the connective tissue using a de-sinew-er.

If you think ammonium hydroxide isn’t used in and during production of a whole lot of other products, I can only imagine your next wake up call!

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Amateur Mommy March 12, 2012 at 10:27 am

It frustrates me how something as simple and beautiful as food and nourishment becomes a great big mess in the hands of our government. Everything becomes tied to money, higher ups turn their head to the disease that is created, and the public reminds blind to what is going on.

I’m so glad you are fighting this battle for our nation’s children. It has also encouraged my determination to eat mostly vegan and participate in a CSA this summer. Thank you.

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Milehimama March 12, 2012 at 10:35 am

The beef industry is ignoring what consumers want- labeling and disclosure. If it actually enhances nutrition and safety, then what is the problem with labeling the product so that consumers can choose?

This is why I only buy ground beef from places that grind on site. Many grocery stores WILL grind up a roast for you if you ask, as long as they have the equipment.

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EdT. March 12, 2012 at 10:57 am

This may seem perverse, but it would appear that allowing McD’s, Burger King, and Taco Bell to come in and cater the school lunches would, at the current time, be a sounder decisions from a nutritional and food safety standpoint.

Oh, and that number is 178,390 btw.

~EdT.

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steve March 12, 2012 at 9:51 pm

The chicken nuggets at Mcdonalds are made the same way with pink goop look it up will really make you sick.

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Michele Hays @QuipsTravails March 12, 2012 at 11:30 am

FYI, Bettina – one issue with classifying “connective tissue” as “meat” is that connective tissue has protein, but it isn’t nutritious protein – one of the most common uses for it is gelatin: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gelatin#Medical_and_nutritional_properties
“Although gelatin is 98-99% protein by dry weight, it has less nutritional value than many other protein sources.”

I think this, and the food safety issues you brought up, are the points that are most important in this debate.

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Justin March 12, 2012 at 11:38 am

Two things that struck me…

1) If pink slime is so darned economical and it’s been found in supermarket ground beef, then why is it that ground beef prices have done nothing but rise steadily (and fast) in the last few years. I don’t buy a lot of it, but the last time I needed to, it was actually cheaper to buy a cut of beef and grind it myself than to buy even 80% lean pre-ground beef. Methinks someone isn’t looking at the economics correctly when they say this stuff saves us money.

2) It seems to me that if a 3 cent per pound delta makes that kind of difference in the school lunch budget, maybe *that* is the problem that needs attention. Let’s assume each kid gets a 1/4-pound pre-cooked weight burger (which they probably are not). That’s 3/4 of a penny difference per student. Multiply that by say 1000 students that might get served in a typical cafeteria per day. You’re talking $7.50 per school per day to feed 1000 students. It’s pretty sad that less than $8 is driving the decision to use poison-treated processed food over “regular” processed food.

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Timmi March 12, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Is this stuff just in ground beef? Cause I say we just boycott it. We bought some bison this weekend and liked that, but if its in that too we won’t buy that either. If we boycott ground beef altogether maybe change will happen sooner than later. (sorry Nebraska beef folks, but its gotta change, when I don’t want to eat meat anymore there is a problem)

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EdT. March 12, 2012 at 1:14 pm

I’m pretty sure it (Soylent Pink) won’t be found in bison, as otherwise it would have to be labelled (due to being “beef”.) Also because the folks who produce and sell bison as meat probably wouldn’t appreciate their product being “contaminated” with beef.

~EdT.

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Justin March 12, 2012 at 12:36 pm

I’ve never been a big fan of general boycotting. The simple reason is that when you boycott ALL sources of something in protest of a very specific practices, you’re not supporting the folks who do it right. In order to initiate change, you need to support the people doing it right and condemn those who do it wrong.

In this case, you can’t tell who the good and bad guys are, which is kind of the point of the argument. This stuff, even if the government decides it’s “safe,” should be labeled so you can opt-out if you want to.

As for boycotting the school lunch, if you have the means to do that, you probably aren’t eating free school lunch anyhow. Which makes boycotting pretty much ineffective there, too.

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Happy's Greenhouse March 12, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Happy Organic just signed the no-slime anytime, right here online.

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Elizabeth March 12, 2012 at 1:38 pm

Thank you for standing up for our nation’s children!! I am appalled by this issue. I will be purchasing organic meat from now on and will be sure to let my supermarket know why. I hope that if enough people say something our government will modify laws so that consumers know what is in the food we eat. I will (and I hope thousands of others too) prove my commitment to healthy safe food by spending my money on quality products.

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Bill March 16, 2012 at 8:44 am

Elizabeth, I really like your comments. However, The “government” is complacent with these large industries. “They” will just find another way to circumvent or re-word the label to fool the general public. This brings to mind another “food”, a product called “cheese food”. It is difficult, if not impossible, to purchase real cheese anymore. It’s all processed “cheese food” (whatever that is). Another joint move by the wonderful government and industry to foist on us another product that looks, tastes and feels like the real thing, but isn’t.

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George March 12, 2012 at 2:35 pm

I am the father of a child who eats hot lunch at school every day. I am also a farmer and I take great pride in raising healthy cattle that produce safe and nutritious beef. I respect every consumer’s right to know how their food is processed. With that in mind, I would like to clear up some misperceptions and inaccuracy’s in the article and some of the related comments.
#1. USDA has a zero tolerance for Salmonella and E. coli 0157:H7 in all beef purchases for the National School Lunch Program. Beef that tests positive for these organisms is rejected and never supplied to schools. This includes Lean Finely Textured Beef used as a raw material in ground beef products.
#2. Because of USDA’s existing interlocking rings of protection, there have been no foodborne outbreaks in schools associated with USDA-purchased products in over 10 years, and USDA
foods are equal to, and often exceed, the quality of their commercial counterparts.
#3. Ammonium hydroxide is used to produce a lean meat product that is added to ground beef to reduce the overall fat content without compromising flavor. It also has some degree of antimicrobial effect. Ammonium hydroxide also is used in a variety of other processed foods, such as baked goods, gelatins and puddings, and cheeses, and can occur naturally in foods.
#4. Dr. H. Russell Cross, Professor and Head of Department of Animal Science, Texas A&M University was the Administrator of the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) at the time of its approval. His statement follows: “As Administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) in the early 90s, I and my staff evaluated numerous research projects before approving lean, finely textured beef as a safe source of high-quality protein. The FSIS safety review process was and is an in-depth, science-based process that spans years, many research projects and involves many experts across all levels of the agency-and in this case, the process proved the product is safe. Approving lean finely textured beef as safe was the right decision, and today, it remains a safe way to meet the nutritional needs of a growing population.

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Maggie May March 13, 2012 at 11:13 am

Thank you George! As a public health professional I believe that this is a case of “a little bit of knowledge will harm you.” All of this meat/etc comes from the cow. It’s all tested for bacteria/pathogens. There is nothing unsafe about it. Your post is refreshing and enlightening.

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britt March 12, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Okay..I am not seeing the problem here. As parents, isn’t OUR responsibility to make sure our children are eating healthy foods? With that being said, if people are outraged about what the school is serving, then pack their lunches! I’m willing to bet the majority of these parents who are screaming about slime, are the ones that allow their kids to eat fast food and processed foods…

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Diana van Ek March 12, 2012 at 9:51 pm

Yes, it is our responsibility to see our kids eat healthy foods, that is why we are all raising awareness and calling these folks out.

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Erika March 13, 2012 at 8:32 am

Huh? Why would “the majority of these parents who are screaming about slime, are the ones that allow their kids to eat fast food and processed foods…”

That doesn’t make sense! We don’t eat fast food other ground beef…ever. And I am screaming!

It’s the poor kids whose parents don’t know about this who eat school lunch every day that I am caring about! I pack my kids lunches but not everyone can afford to! I don’t just care about myself, I care about our country & it’s future.

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Laura March 29, 2012 at 9:36 am

I think one of the major things issues here is the lack of transparency and labelling so that we as parents and consumers can make informed decisions. Until now, apparently 70% of ground beef in supermarkets has been mixed with this stuff. As, a parent, I am happy to read the labels and the fine print, pack a lunch, and take responsibility for my child. But how would I even know if the burger I lovingly made her myself at home had ammoniated beef trimming in it?
Besides that, I have the time, money and literacy skills to do that. I can invest time looking up unfamiliar ingredients. Not every parent is able to do that. Many parents need to rely on schools to provide a meal for their child. Why should they not be able to make an informed choice as well?

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Tiffany March 31, 2012 at 2:39 am

This maybe true. But this is not because the company bpi did t label it. It is because our government felt that it wasn’t necessary because it is in fact whole beef. If you bought a pound of hamburger and under ingredients it said beef wouldn’t you find a bit… Ludicrous? And if your referring to the ammonium hydroxide, it’s not an ingredient it is mearly a way of say preserving the product. If you look on a package of buns or say a pudding cup. They as well dont say ammonia, but it is used as a preserving agent. I do want to say I appreciate that you are open minded and not bias about this topic.

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Dealzstealz March 12, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Great job!! I posted this link on my facebook page. I would also like to share: Kroger ignored its Facebook fans for 5 days, posts were made on their wall proving Kroger did indeed USE PINK SLIME while Kroger denied the use of PINK SLIME. Kroger told both ABC News and its customers it did NOT use PINK SLIME. Today Kroger came clean telling their Facebook fans Kroger does use PINK SLIME. There is a press statement on Bizjournals.com Cincinnati. First the industry bended rules to hide it from customers through a loop hole of the USDA labeling and now Kroger announcing this with NO intentions to make policy changes to end the use of PINK SLIME. Do Kroger Executives feed their families PINK SLIME? Customers are upset and will vote with their wallets!

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Gaye March 12, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Bettina, I am curious to know whether Kosher and/or Halal meat has pink slime. Is this prevalent only among non-Kosher/non-Halal meat? Since it seems pink slime comes from using every bit of carcass, and Jews and Muslims cannot consume the entire animal (such as “rump” roast), would these cuts be free of it? While we don’t currently keep a Kosher home, Luis and I would reconsider our decision.

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denise March 12, 2012 at 5:22 pm

Another approach to school lunch… http://www.feingold.org/PF/wisconsin1.html

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Bill March 12, 2012 at 5:44 pm

I truly believe, if any parent wants the best for their kids, espically for school lunches, they should pack a lunch for the child, then no matter what is being served at the school, you will know what your child is eating, but, if you are to lazy, or have nothing better to do with your time go ahead and complain about all the free stuff your getting from the government, and then complain some more because taxes are being raised and services cut to pay for these lunch freebee’s

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Leslie March 13, 2012 at 3:38 pm

How condescending! Some school districts don’t ALLOW food to be brought from home. There are various reasons parent’s don’t always pack lunches. You paint with a pretty wide brush when it comes to judging others. You show yourself to be ill informed, judgmental, and ignorant. BTW – it’s not “to lazy” it’s TOO lazy. Get an education!

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Laura March 29, 2012 at 9:38 am

The problem is that even served from home, we don’t know what our child may be eating because beef isn’t labelled with all the information.

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Tracy March 12, 2012 at 6:10 pm

Pink slime is gross; I think we can all agree on that. However, the health benefits of a plant-based diet far outweigh one that includes slime-free red meat. The Archives of Internal Medicine, a pubblication of the Amer. Med. Assoc., released a study that concluded “Red meat consumption is associated with an increased risk of total, CVD, and cancer mortality. Substitution of other healthy protein sources for red meat is associated with a lower mortality risk.” (http://archinte.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/long/archinternmed.2011.2287v1)

If schools really want to lower costs and serve wholesome food, perhaps they should consider legumes.

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Ryan March 12, 2012 at 6:27 pm

This is going to turn into an issue of be careful what you wish for. While I don’t agree that it should be used in school foods across america (more it should be in pet foods and cooking oils), what you will get from this petition are more expensive school lunches and cash strapped Americans will suffer.

More parents SHOULD make their child’s lunch but this change to normal more expensive beef will be met with higher costs – which are passed down to the consumers. I think there are other issues that we should wave our big stick at than school lunches. It’s not the pink slime that makes our children fat… but we’re always looking for something else to point our finger at and say that’s what did it. LOOK IN THE MIRROR.

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tawnya mcvicker March 13, 2012 at 8:02 am

True the lunches would be more expensive to the taxpayers in our county 85% of the kids are on free lunches. I am willing to pay more for a properly cooked lunch for my kids

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Ryan March 12, 2012 at 6:28 pm

Also – there’s a HUGE difference between Ammonia (NH3) and Ammonium Hydroxide (NH4OH).

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George March 13, 2012 at 1:16 am

No, there isn’t. Ammonium hydroxide is just ammonia dissolved in water (hydrated). NH3 + H2O = NH4OH

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Emily March 12, 2012 at 7:08 pm

I am glad that this “pink slime” has come to a concern for some individuals. In a college course that I have taken, I learned that this is true. That they are useing all the parts of the animal, and treating the extra parts with ammonia, however, the meat industries are not only treating the meat filler with ammonia because of all the extra parts of the animal they are grinding up to prevent e-coli but to also prevent e-coli in the cows that are being infected with it because they are now being fed corn instead of alfalfa. Corn fed cows are 80% more likely to get e-coli then alfalfa fed cows. Corn is cheaper than alfalfa, all parts of the cow is being used, and meat prices are still high. Why?

Why put americans at such risk? Is it simply large corporations trying to maximize their own profit? Pad their own pockets? To pay an extra 3 cents a pound or even 50 cents a pound would be worth it to know that the processed meat is being checked for e-coli before it hits the market, and its 100% beef. Such as another post I read on here. If it really only saves school districts like $8 dollars a day to buy 100% beef. Lets look into getting the funding for healthier meat and on that note heathier meals.

Lets fight for labled meat that has been treated. I hope these votes help remove the “pink slime,” however, if not, maybe it will make meat companies lable ALL ingredients and if everyone stops buying this ammonia infused meat filler “pink slim”, the meat company will loose profits and have to stop selling it. Lets get some changing done around here americans!

It takes one person to make a voice. It takes an army to make it heard!

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Emily March 13, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Correction: Ammonium hydroxide. Which is essentially ammonia but with water.

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Justin March 12, 2012 at 7:14 pm

This petition should not just stop at school foods. This should be a standard across the board for any food sold anywhere! I don’t need preservatives or bpa in tin can food and water liners (http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine-archive/december-2009/food/bpa/overview/bisphenol-a-ov.htm) poisoning me just to keep food cost cheaper or preserve it longer. If the food industry feels it needs to “ADD” to the food we are told that we are being sold, then it should be labeled with the nutrition facts which were started for the same type reasons. As far as schools… Parents should have the right to know what their children are being served, some schools like the some in Chicago won’t allow home made lunches, so children are “required” to eat slime ….?
http://voices.yahoo.com/home-made-lunches-not-school-8271599.html?cat=9
Something needs to change!!!!

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Alicia March 12, 2012 at 7:26 pm

Maybe they could add in cow organ meat too. It could increase the nutritional profile, allow even more of the cow to be used, and it could certainly save schools a lot of money.

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Red_3 March 13, 2012 at 7:52 am

And, have Barbacoa day at the schools, as well! Wouldn’t that be a blast!!!

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George March 12, 2012 at 8:04 pm

I’m a food technologist (UC Davis) and there is no way adding connective tissue “improves the nutritional profile” of ground beef, since it is lacking in key amino acids. Protein quality measurements such as PDCAAS, PER, BV, NPU are always lower for connective tissue than for muscle tissue, so that part of the BPI statements is a LIE.

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M March 12, 2012 at 11:00 pm

I feel like this petition/argument is moot for a lot of reasons. First of all there hasnt been any conclusive scientific proof that this stuff is bad for you. Its true that there has not been any proof that this pink slime is good for you either, but by that logic shouldnt everyone stop eating candy and soda? (Because there is no scientific proof purporting that candy and soda are good for you)
Also the pink slime is made mostly from collagen – the indigestible portion of meat, found mostly in tendons and muscle fascia. Its treated with ammonium hydroxide to kill microbes – which is good, as far as we know ammonium hydroxide isn’t cancerous (its a simple compound, and all potent carcinogens are moderately complex in structure). I feel like people don’t know what protein is when they say that connective tissue isn’t nutritious, because it is (like any other protein) made of amino acids (although more tightly wound together). Having meat that is lean, but consists of pink slime, would technically be more nutritious than having fatty cuts of non-processed (organic) meat.
If we were going to get rid of the pink slime, which hasn’t been proven to be harmful to human health, then why hasnt anyone tried to eliminate plastic and foam packaging that contains compounds that have been proven to be xenobiotics (carcinogens and endocrine disruptors – ceram wrap is really bad in this respect it contain a lot of chemicals that leach in to the food it covers). What about the preservatives that meats (and other foods) are treated with to enable transport to supermarkets and enhance shelf life? Nitrosamines in hot dogs are a great example – nitrosamines are (still) used as preservatives despite the fact that they have been scientifically proven to cause cancer (thought not at the levels found in a single hot dog).
Its true that pink slime can never be as nutritious as the muscle portion of meats, but its clearly better than many other alternatives (serving fatty meats or replacing meat with extra carbs or fat in school lunches).
I’m not explicitly supporting the use of pink slime in school lunches or anywhere else for that matter, before I do I would have to see rigorous scientific proof (from someone other than the FDA or its benefactors) that this stuff cannot cause harm to human health to degrees greater than consumption of regular meat.
However, before we all move to get rid of pink slime I feel like there are much more grave issues that people have ignored – the use of pesticides in crops, the use of toxic preservatives in all foods, and the use of packaging that contain toxins.

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Jen March 14, 2012 at 2:18 am

I’ll stick with my “fatty cuts of non-processed (organic) meats”, thank you very much. The “saturated fats are bad for you” lie has been thoroughly debunked. The local, grass fed, naturally processed 1/2 cow I buy every year is a million times better tasting, and healthier than pink slime. Oh yeah, and leaner. If that’s important to you.

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Michele Hays @QuipsTravails March 31, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Read the nutrition facts on a box of plain gelatin and then tell me that all protein is the same nutritionally.

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Concerned March 13, 2012 at 5:36 am

I hope all your children dont like to eat beef at school..If this petition actually casues them to change the way they make hamburg for big contracts two things will happen.. Cost of meat will sky rocket and the already poor school systems will be forced to do with out or purchase an even lower grade of meat…Or your children will get sick from eating a non treated beef…You people have been eating this for years and no one has gotten ill..Its still beef all edible beef.. You can not make food out of something inedible ,so when extremists like Jaime Oliver say things like “America has technology to make unedible food edible HE IS WRONG..The beef industry should have sued him for the ignorance in his little show.. This is just a typical American over reaction by the “Super parent”

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Jen March 14, 2012 at 2:22 am

Are you joking when you say that people have been eating this for years and no one has gotten ill?! Have you taken a look around lately? Most people are ill in one form or another! Big Ag lies all the time… about everything. You are right that they’re not making food out of something inedible, they are adding something inedible to our food. Big difference.

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clinton March 13, 2012 at 6:45 am

I am sadden by the lake of care our leaders have about us the people.
First they allow tainted dog food in our supply killing my dog . and many others then they let the same taint in to our baby food. But this in our face lies at what point do we say we have to take our rights back for our kids sake? I will not lay down and be the quite sheep !

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Happy's Greenhouse March 13, 2012 at 9:06 am

“the majority of these parents who are screaming about slime, are the ones that allow their kids to eat fast food and processed foods…”

Actually, the parents that are screaming about pink slime are the most proactive when it comes to feeding their children in a healthy manner and are the least likely to let their children consume fast food.

We are educating parents as well as children regarding what they (both) eat and what is inside of their food. We all need to eat, but now that we have an idea of the abuses that are taking place in the food industry, and now that there are many healthy choices available in our food supply, we are starting to make our voices heard. The pink slime horror shows that to be true.

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Justin (The Other One) March 13, 2012 at 12:26 pm

I’ve seen at least two commentors make the claim that feeding a cow corn versus alfalfa makes their meat more likely to contain ecoli. Could someone elaborate on why, preferably with reference to some actual research?

I’m mostly just curious because both are plants and consumption of one plant over another shouldn’t “cause” bacteria introduction unless it’s the type of bacteria that’s introduced through the digestive system. Since we’re saying that different parts of the animal are more likely to have the bacteria than others, then we mustn’t be talking about bacteria ingested that way…or are we?

Just trying to understand the claim…not knocking it either way.

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Deborah Neyens March 13, 2012 at 5:25 pm

Cows are naturally grass-eating ruminants and their stomachs aren’t designed to eat corn. A good, but not precise, analogy is to someone with a gluten allergy who eats wheat. Corn-fed cows are in a constant state of digestive distress, which makes them more prone to other illnesses. To make matters worse, these disease-prone, corn-fed cows are packed into filthy feedlots and live in close quarters amid pools of manure, eating dirty food and drinking dirty water. So it is partly an issue of the bacteria ingested through the digestive system.

The other problem is rendering parts of the cow that are most likely to come into contact with fecal matter due to their proximity to the cow’s bowels. Traditional butchering processes don’t use those parts of the cow.

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Deborah Neyens March 13, 2012 at 5:33 pm

And I should add that while I haven’t cited any research, my knowledge comes from personal experience. I live in Iowa, have been on many farms, and know a number of people who raise cattle.

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George March 13, 2012 at 10:30 pm

Justin,
I’m not a scientist, but I will do my best to answer your questions about what cattle are fed. Unlike Deborah who lives near a farm, I’ve lived on one. I have a degree in Animal Science and I know there is a great deal of misinformation out there about cow’s diets.

The fact is cattle can get the nutrients they need from eating a wide range of plants, including a variety of grains and grasses. Most beef raised in the United States comes from grain-finished cattle, which spend most of their lives on pasture eating grass before going to a feedlot for four to six months. While at a feedlot, cattle are fed a combination of grain and hay formulated by a professional nutritionist to ensure a well-balanced and nutritious diet.

Grain feeding isn’t new, it’s just more sophisticated. In the United States, cattle have been fed grain for at least 200 years. Cattle are fed grains like corn because they are nutritious, energy-rich, and can be stored for use throughout the year. Since grass doesn’t grow year-round in most of the United States, feeding grains like corn to cattle help farmers and ranchers raise a consistent, year-round supply of great-tasting beef.

As for E.coli, it is capable of living in the digestive system of all cattle, regardless of what they have been fed. While some scientific evidence does show that manipulating diet can affect bacterial levels in cattle’s digestive system, these studies have not found that a particular feeding regimen can reliably reduce levels of E. coli O157:H7. While research in this area continues, the beef industry has been focused on preventing it from entering the food supply. If you would like more information on this topic, I would encourage you to check out http://www.ExploreBeef.org

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Smarter than B.S. March 13, 2012 at 2:54 pm

For the truth, check the link below.
“Concerned” is right. Jamie Oliver and Bettina Siegel are high on publicity and don’t care about the truth.

http://www.foodinsight.org/Resources/Detail.aspx?topic=Questions_and_Answers_about_Ammonium_Hydroxide_Use_in_Food_Production

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Happy's Greenhouse March 13, 2012 at 5:42 pm

Looks like this is getting to them. Who else would be behind all the pro-slime comments?

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Smarter than B.S. March 13, 2012 at 6:55 pm

The whole pink slime idea is a platform for media attention, nothing more. You obviously didn’t read the article I posted above. “M” has it right.

You people are being led by publicity hounds with no real evidence or proof. All they are going to do is drive up the price of all meat and cause more deaths via E.coli et al, since they’ll soon have a proven safe process for making our meats safe to eat, outlawed.

Bettina Seigel needs to follow her conscience and not her apparent hunger for attention. Kind of sad in a way.

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Michele Hays @QuipsTravails March 13, 2012 at 8:22 pm

LOL, seriously? Sooo…who stands to gain here: a busy parent who blogs in her spare time and doesn’t appear to advertise…or an entire industry dependent on getting people to buy their products?

You’re stooping pretty low when your response to being called out for bad behavior is name-calling. Especially someone’s Mom. (unless you’re seven.)

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Smarter than B.S. March 13, 2012 at 9:59 pm

Oh please!
Michele, are you that naive? Bettina is a high profile freelance writer. This is not her spare time, this is her job! Her website takes advertisers, the higher profile she has, the more money she makes. Come on now girl, she’s a former intellectual property and advertising law attorney who’s smart and knows the ins and outs of the business.
She’s made sizable political contributions in the last 2 elections. More than I could ever afford.
So please do not try to tell me how she is this poor Mom struggling with her kids and blogging in her precious free time.
Her actions have made it clear that the “cause” is more important to her than the truth. She’s an attorney and knows how to make her case, true or not.
Check out the link above to see just how many of your foods have Ammonium Hydroxide used in their processing.
Sorry you don’t like the truth, but that’s your problem.

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Michele Hays @QuipsTravails March 13, 2012 at 10:13 pm

Smarter, you are clearly missing the point. More clearly, you’re obviously writing on behalf of the Beef industry, which has a track record of smearing people whose opinions they don’t like, and isn’t exactly short on funds: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1355/is_n25_v89/ai_18260223/

You have not refuted any of the points Bettina, myself, or other posters have made, but keep rambling about Ammonium Hydroxide as though that is the primary concern. What about the fact that your product is mostly connective tissue that isn’t the same, nutritionally, as beef muscle tissue – even though almost no one knows it is added to ground beef in stores? What about the documented cases of E. Coli?

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Ryan March 14, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Just because someone’s arguing against your personal views doesn’t make them doing so on behalf of the beef industry. I don’t agree with any points made in this petition (The heart of this case is the “Pink Slime” – ammonium hydroxide treated BLBT).

The school needs a cheap lunch food to provide to our children due to budget constraints. When my budget is tight – I buy cheaper stuff. Cheaper meats, bread, milk, cheeses… ect. The school budgets are being constricted because the state’s budgets are being constricted. The only result of this is going to be more expensive school lunches.

Want to do something about it? Stop being lazy and pack your child’s lunch as a boycott of cafeteria food… I do.

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Happy's Greenhouse March 14, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Stop calling people lazy, names, and going on about how wholesome ammonium hydroxide treated slime is and maybe the perception of your posts would not lead us to think you are paid responder for the beef industry.

Do you pack pink slime sandwiches in your children’s lunches then?

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Ryan March 15, 2012 at 1:12 pm

I do, it’s called bologna.

I bet you also believe 9/11 was orchestrated by the Federal Government because they didn’t release all the information gathered and that Area 51 in New Mexico actually does contain the remains of aliens that were discovered in the desert – only based on the fact that they were trying to hide something there.

Iran’s trying to hide something – is it pink slime?

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Justin March 13, 2012 at 10:14 pm

I was going to try to keep from getting drawn-in, but I just couldn’t help but chuckle at this comment in particular…

“All they are going to do is drive up the price of all meat and cause more deaths via E.coli et al, since they’ll soon have a proven safe process for making our meats safe to eat, outlawed.”

So under this premise, our meat (even that of the non-pink-slime variety) would not be safe without processing it with chemicals. If that were truly the case (and I sincerely hope it’s not), then we have much bigger problems than pink slime and it’s proof that the industry is looking at the problems from the bottom-up, rather than the top-down.

I may not be a food industry specialist, but I am an engineer and any engineer will tell you it’s cheaper to fix the root of the problem than to correct the flaws after the fact.

*shakes head in dismay*

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Happy's Greenhouse March 13, 2012 at 10:45 pm

Didn’t I read that “downer cows” make the best pink slime?

Also wanted to say that I am so glad that Jamie Oliver brought on this slime alert. He is a hero who is paving the way for others to follow. I remember watching that show thinking how disrespectful it is to feed slime to our precious children. And thank you to Bettina for this conversation.

Anyone here ever read The Jungle by Upton Sinclair?

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TONN March 14, 2012 at 8:58 am

Not for nothing, but this product is grey and kind of dry.

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Anne Burkholder March 14, 2012 at 5:30 pm

I would like to invite all of you to visit my blog site (http://feedyardfoodie.com) as I am doing an in depth series on Lean Finely Textured Beef. I am a mom of three girls (age 12, 9, and 7) and have a cattle farm in Central Nebraska. As a mom, what my children eat each day is a priority to me; and I have done my homework on this issue.

The first post of my series is currently up on the home page and the second post will come up tomorrow (Thursday) morning. I am doing my best to provide the truth regarding this issue as there are many inaccuracies currently circulating through blogs and social media venues. Please take the time to read what I have written so that you can make educated decisions regarding this issue. I am on “no one’s payroll”–I am simply a concerned mom who is directly involved with making beef and is trying to provide consumers will quality and truthful information.

All the best,
Anne

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Happy's Greenhouse March 15, 2012 at 9:29 am

Sorry, but your site and the “in-depth series” reads like a PR celebration for the beef industry.

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Justin March 15, 2012 at 9:34 am

Actually, it’s copied-and-pasted almost verbatim from the Pink Slime is a Myth website. Talk about being obvious… :-)

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Happy's Greenhouse March 15, 2012 at 10:07 am

I like how (in that photo) they have whitewashed the pink slime pellets to look like a bowl of pellitized innocence. Like you might just shake them out of a box and put milk and sugar on them. Pink slime is just what its name implies, a slimely, oozing mess that looks like undigested po…. It’s a national disgrace to even think of having our children eat this slop.

Actually, the beef industry pink slime pellets photo reminds me of that movie Soylent Green.

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Anne Burkholder March 15, 2012 at 10:44 am

I appreciate you all taking the time to visit my site. I hope that you also read the post that went up Tuesday where I broke down the nutritional components of ground beef and talked about the different types of ground beef that are available to consumers. I think that information is relative to this discussion as well.

When I started writing the series on LFTB, I went looking to the people who approved the product because I felt that they were the ones who would know the most about the process. That is why Dr. Cross is a part of the most current post (which must be the one that you are calling a PR celebration etc.). It is very difficult with this issue to dig through all of the sensationalist reports and find solid and truthful information. When I make decisions about what to feed to my children, I want to base those decisions on factual information. Dr. Cross offers not only a background in science but also decades of experience relative to meat and meat safety. I believe that he speaks truthfully and with competence. I am very thankful that he was willing to contribute to the discussion.

As for who I am, I am not an “industry”. I am a wife, a mother, and a cattle farmer from Nebraska. I work hard everyday to offer good care to my animals and to raise safe and healthy beef—beef that I feed to my family as well as to families all over the United States. I am not a PR person, I am a farmer and I am proud to say that I spend my days growing food so that everyone can both provide their families with nourishment, and also have choices about what that nourishment is made from.

We are blessed in the United States to have the ability to express our thoughts and ideas freely. I believe that along with that freedom should be a responsibility to look for the truth. I truly believe that Americans have a right to know where their food comes from and how it is raised. The problem or challenge with that is the fact that most Americans are not involved in the growth of food. That is the reason that I started my Feed Yard Foodie blog almost a year ago. It is my personal attempt to give consumers of beef a look at daily cattle care. I began the series on LFTB because several of my regular “followers” asked me for more information about it. The information that I posted on my website I believe to be the truth.

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Happy's Greenhouse March 15, 2012 at 10:58 am

Actually calling your entire site/blog a PR celebration. Again, sorry, but no one here believes you or your guests. Your site and comments are just a neatly packaged PR piece for the beef industry defending the use of Pink Slime in our children’s food. Nothing personal, we just see right through what you are up to.

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Anne Burkholder March 15, 2012 at 11:35 am

I am sorry and disappointed that you feel that way. If you are looking for reinforcement that I actually am a cattle farmer, there is a lengthy article on the newest issue of American Cattlemen that features me and my farm for the animal welfare work that I do. You can go to http://www.americancattlemen.com and along the right of the home page is a picture of my family. If you click that picture, you will be able to read the article.

I would also encourage you to take the time to really look at my past blogs and watch the videos that I have posted. The truth is that I am a city born, Ivy League educated woman who fell in love with a farm boy from Nebraska. I have spent the last 15 years learning what it takes to offer good care to my animals and make safe beef. I also do a tremendous amount of volunteer work to improve bovine animal care—I was a psychology major in college and believe that holistic animal care is a fundamental part of raising food animals.

I will “leave your site alone” and not bother you all anymore. I am truly disappointed that you do not believe that I am genuine and hope that one day you will drive through Nebraska so that I can give you a tour of our farm and cook you a steak.

Anne

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Happy's Greenhouse March 15, 2012 at 11:44 am

It’s not my site, I just read & comment here. I think your story is wonderful (and I love Nebraska)….. up to the point where you use it to become a shill for the beef industry over this Pink Slime travesty. It’s really very simple.

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Justin March 15, 2012 at 12:58 pm

@Happy, I personally think you’re being a little harsh and disrespectful towards Anne (and a few other people you’ve commented on). While I can’t speak for Bettina, I’m pretty sure a flaming war and namecalling is not what she intends as a goal for this blog. I’m pretty sure we all much prefer healthy discussion with good solid information and sound reasoning as to why we each feel the way we do.

Anne is clearly a hardworking person who, yes, is involved in the beef industry. She has a family and that industry supports her family financially and I have to say that I like her attitude that you should research something carefully and use what you learn to decide for yourself what you believe and what you’re passionate about and what you are and aren’t willing to feed your family.

Just because she did her homework and is involved in the industry (which honestly, gives her way more access to information and insight than any of us have), and because she came to a different conclusion than you doesn’t make her a “shill” or some sort of soldier sent to shove BPI’s message down our throats. And it certainly doesn’t devalue the rest of the content of her blog or her work as a cattle rancher.

If your only goal is to throw anger and blame around without adding anything useful to the conversation, please go do it elsewhere. All it serves to do is bolster BPI’s stance that the media and a couple of ignorant people are blowing this thing out of proportion.

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Happy's Greenhouse March 15, 2012 at 1:22 pm

Justin,
Respectfully, any “flaming war and namecalling” is in your head. If Anne were not coming here with her disingenuous pro Pink Slime beef industry advert cloaked in a feel good family story, there would be no need for my pointed comments.

If she is fooling you, then she has one convert, so not a wasted effort on her part. From reading your post it seems that you are working with the beef industry as well, a shill, if you will, and possibly in tandem with Anne. Also, looking at the words you throw about “flaming. namecalling, ignorant, throw anger, blame, etc”, boy oh boy, it sounds like you need the proverbial time out in all of this. Also, I didn’t realize that you were Bettina’s spokesperson!

Bottom line is that well over 200,000 people find this Pink Slime terror the govt. wants to inflict upon our children, unacceptable. Can’t you guys figure out a non-edible use for this slime? A craft use maybe? Make tires out of it? Meaty mulch? Anything but feed it to our precious children.

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Justin March 15, 2012 at 1:46 pm

“Bottom line is that well over 200,000 people find this Pink Slime terror the govt. wants to inflict upon our children, unacceptable. ”

Funny, I don’t recall seeing the word “terror” anywhere in the petition. You’re putting words into the mouths of over 220,000 people.

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Happy's Greenhouse March 15, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Just my personal take on it Justin. Having said that, I’ll just betcha that they would approve and support calling Pink Slime… a terror.

Here’s another one, this Pink Slime terror is a big PinkSlimeaPALOOZA put on by the beef industry!

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Deborah Neyens March 15, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Hi Anne. I did look at your post and, while it may be in-depth, it is completely one-sided. Your sources are the guy who approved LFTB at the USDA and the pinkslimeisamyth website? What about those at the USDA who coined the term “pink slime” and questioned whether it should be allowed into the food supply? How about talking to other cattle ranchers who have spoken out against the practice? Since you are presenting only one side of the picture, you really can’t blame people for questioning your objectivity.

Earlier in the week I asked a cattle rancher friend of mine with large herds in western Iowa and eastern Nebraska to comment on the story. His take is quite different from yours. His first comment was, “This cowboy thinks pink slime is disgusting.” He says he has been pushing for source verification for all beef and that technology exists that would allow a consumer to swipe a bar code on a piece of beef at the market and immediately know everything about the animal, who raised it and how it was raised. Now wouldn’t technology like that help advance the safety of our food supply? He says this technology isn’t favored by the industry, however, and one reason is because it’s impossible to source verify pink slime. He also says, “I have never looked at my calves as a commodity. They are living creatures that deserve the best care I can provide. Its my responsibility to “do right by the animal” for the beef they provide for us. Something about contaminating the beef they gave their lives to raise with this kind of filler just seems wrong.”

Finally, since you call yourself a “foodie” and a mom who wants to feed her kids safe, nourishing food, I have a hard time believing that you feed your kids beef that has been blended with LFTB. In fact, I’d be shocked if you did. I have many friends and family who raise cattle for food and they would never, ever eat ground beef that has been blended with any sort of filler.

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Laura March 29, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Anne, thank you for contributing to the conversation in a respectful way.
It would be nice if everyone involved in this discourse would take note that it is possible to disagree with someone and still speak to them decently.

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Happy's Greenhouse March 14, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Looks like Bettina has made a difference. Check out this article in the Washington Post. Schools will now have a choice; to put disgusting chem-laden pink slime in the kid’s lunches… or not!

Yea!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/calling-it-pink-slime-critics-of-treating-meat-with-ammonia-suddenly-gaining-ground/2012/03/14/gIQA55IHCS_story_1.html

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Ryan March 15, 2012 at 1:13 pm

Everything’s chemically laden… don’t eat anything.

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Deborah Neyens March 15, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Not if you avoid processed foods and grow your own or buy organic.

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Lynn Donaldson March 16, 2012 at 1:13 am

Just watched a documentary here in Big Timber, Montana about meat….where & how it’s raised… & how disconnected most Americans are from their food sources. So, so good and worth watching the trailer. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1532058300/the-montana-stockman-tougher-than-hammered-owl-man

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Happy's Greenhouse March 16, 2012 at 7:54 am

Very informative article on the guy who blew the whistle on Pink Slime.

http://grist.org/scary-food/the-man-who-blew-the-whistle-on-pink-slime/

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SuperMom101 March 17, 2012 at 10:05 am

Dear Ms. Siegel,

You are inspiring. Eleven years ago when I was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer I had no idea about America and her food supply. I had never thought about the possibility that what was on our plates and in our glasses could be a source of disease and illness.

Your patience, knowledge, expertise and commitment to the truth are truly inspiring.

Best health always,
Supermom-in-training

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Kim March 20, 2012 at 8:18 am

Pink slime isn’t confined to processed patties like those used for fast food and school lunches. It is in 70% of the ground beef sold in the US. Likely your grocery store ground beef has it. I would stick to organic grass fed bison, grind better cuts of meat in a food processor, or get beef from a reputable local butcher. Check out the latest NPR blog on this. Also check out the latest studies on red meat consumption and mortality. Perhaps it is better as an occasional treat and not part of a regular diet-especially for kids.

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Anna March 27, 2012 at 10:15 pm

Please do some research before you attack an industry you know little about and destroy a company which has brought economic relief to our hard-hit area. With 3 BPI plants suspending production because of your smear campaign…it is possible that after the 60 day pay period…that up to 3000 people could lose their jobs. When Gateway Computers (which used to be headquarted here) pulled out, our community was hit hard. Now, thanks to your ill-researched smear campaign, it will get another sucker-punch less than a year after massive flooding here wiped out many people’s livlihoods. Thanks for that. Please do some reading below before you do any more damage. Thanks again.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AnPKEOjWyo

http://jeralynstephens.weebly.com/2/category/red%20meat/1.html (watch videos)

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/03/in-defense-of-food-safety-leadership/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=120317

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/03/23/how-abc-news-smeared-stellar-company-with-pink-slime/

http://beefisbeef.com/2012/03/15/top-7-myths-of-pink-slime/

http://beefisbeef.com/2012/03/10/lean-beef-trimmings-high-quality-and-safe-2/

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Justin March 28, 2012 at 8:41 am

Anna, you could do well to take your own advice about doing your homework. If you bothered to even read Bettina’s most recent post, you’ll find that her work is by no means a “smear campaign.” It never was and still isn’t. She has always been fair and honest and has shown both sides of the issue (something the rest of the media could learn from).

From the beginning, her intent was never to harm BPI, put them out of business, or otherwise hurt the people in your hometown. From the beginning, her intent was to remove cheap, overly-processed beef filler from the school lunch program because she and over 250,000 other consumers thought we could do better for our kids. If the fact that the product exists and that consumers want to know about it and have a choice came to light as a result, that’s a side-effect.

If you want to direct your anger at someone, perhaps it should be towards BPI for being a company that operated with little transparency or respect for its consumers. I’d even argue that it had no respect for its employees–full well knowing they could get “caught with their pants down,” someday for being deceptive and have to suspend operations. They could have chosen from the beginning to market the filler product as what it was and declare when it was used in ground beef clearly on the package. Instead, they chose to lobby the government to call it “beef” so they didn’t have to declare it on the label. By doing this, they and they alone dug their own hole and sealed their own fate.

I understand that you’re angry and frustrated at the loss of jobs in your community–I would be too. But don’t direct your anger at the people who have done the right thing by esposing shady practices. Consumers want and deserve a choice about what they’re eating. Any company that’s unwilling to be transparent about it to give consumers that choice doesn’t deserve to be in the business of providing our food. And do you really want to work for a company like that?

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Charles March 27, 2012 at 11:51 pm

Quit trying to feed our children dog food.

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Charles March 28, 2012 at 11:04 am

And come to think of it, why feed pink slime to dogs?

I see this BPI shutdown of 3 plants as a good thing, much the same as if the local crack/meth house were finally shut down after numerous complaints. I feel sorry for the workers that were laid off in this economy but your anger should really be directed toward BPI. And not the millions of people who care a bit more for their children than to feed them pink slime. I think ALL of the meat industry should be under tighter scrutiny . Just because a meat corporation gets away with something does not make it moral or legal.

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Anne Burkholder March 30, 2012 at 9:51 am

Bettina and readers:

I personally visited the Beef Products Inc. facility yesterday and met Mr. Roth and his family. I would like to share the link to two posts that I have written in the topic of Lean Finely Textured Beef (one posted prior to meeting Mr. Roth and seeing his facility, and one that went up this morning after meeting the family and visiting).

http://feedyardfoodie.wordpress.com/2012/03/20/hard-work-trust-and-faith/

http://feedyardfoodie.wordpress.com/2012/03/30/in-defense-of-a-good-man/

I will have another post come up early next week trying to answer a few more questions that I am receiving from readers on LFTB and why and how it is added to hamburger.

I also had the privilege of meeting Nancy Donley of STOP Foodborne Illness yesterday. She is a woman of great passion. I cried as I watched an ABC reporter personally belittle her, and then witnessed her courageous response. I truly hope that some national news played her response because it was one of the most heart-felt testimonies that I have ever heard.

As far as the question regarding myself eating LFTB, I ate a burger yesterday containing LFTB while visiting the Roth’s, and my children eat it in their school lunches. While we harvest most of our own beef, I do also buy lean hamburger at the grocery store that contains LFTB when my personal supply of meat runs low.

I believe that it is my responsibility as a farmer to harvest as many pounds of beef as possible when my animals make the ultimate sacrifice to become protein to feed to my family and yours. Mr. Roth and his LFTB has enabled this to happen. LFTB is beef–it is not “filler” and it is not an “additive”. It is most certainly not “scraps that are swept up off of the floor”. Those words and descriptions are inaccurate. My daughter and I saw the product yesterday, and my 10 years old’s immediate response while looking at LFTB is “Mama, it looks like hamburger”. The reason that it looks like hamburger is because it is lean beef that is used to make a lean blend of hamburger.

I appreciate the ability to be able to post comments on this site and I thank The Lunch Tray for allowing my comments to post. I truly hope that we can all work together to uncover the truth and, if it is your desire, to properly label the product so that you can feel confident about what you are purchasing in the grocery store.

Anne

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jojo March 30, 2012 at 5:26 pm

BPI lied about its ground beef plain, simple. I’m from the tristate area also Anna. So you’re just mad about the jobs in Dakota city? I’m mad that this filler is in the meat we expect to be ground beef and why is the price so high if it’s a cost decision? I’ve never wasted money on HyVee, Fareway or Walmarts meat because we have 3 local butcher shops who grind their own fresh. No filler added, it’s cheaper. I won’t support any company who sneaks crap in, acts like we should be thrilled to pay extra for it! Local Company or not! All the local farmers I know kill their own beef, butcher it themselves they aren’t running to Hyvee to buy some BPI burgers & they are not dipping their own in ammonia!

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Michele Hays @QuipsTravails March 31, 2012 at 8:33 am

I have a question: if BLBT or LFBT is considered to be the same as beef because it comes off a steer, what’s to stop BPI from cooking hair, hide, hooves, and horns into slop and calling it “beef?” (note, I am NOT suggesting they are doing this – I’m merely pointing out that there’s stuff on bovines that we don’t call beef, and BPI should be clear about how they define that word.

I think most people use it to describe muscle tissue with some fat: while I’m sure there is some muscle tissue in “pink slime,” they’ve stated themselves that there isn’t much fat…but thus far nobody has any evidence of the proportion of connective tissue LFBT contains.

I should also state for the record that I am an avid nose-to0-tail enthusiast, have been so since I was a little girl: connective tissue doesn’t scare me. I’m also well aware that it isn’t the same as muscle tissue.

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Anne Burkholder March 31, 2012 at 9:28 am

Michele:

According to FSIS (USDA), in order for a product to be eligible to be called “ground beef” it has to maintain certain standards. 1. The product must have muscle tissue. This is determined by the raw materials and and fat vs lean content of them. 2. The product must have the nutritional composition of meat. In the case of BPI’s product (and I believe relative to many concerns raised on this site) is the protein quality of the product. BPI’s LFTB product meets and/or excedes the protein specifications as defined by USDA. 3. The meat must be boneless.

BPI’s product meets all three of these criteria and therefore is eligible to be called “beef” and used in ground beef products. I hope that maybe this helps to answer your question. As you can see from the above criteria—hair, horns, hide etc. would not be eligible for the classification of beef.

Anne

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Michele Hays @QuipsTravails March 31, 2012 at 9:49 am

Thank you, Ann – can you post a link? I found the USDA page on “ground beef” which doesn’t offer the legal definition, just food safety issues. My question: is the “protein requirement” for any protein, or does it specify digestible vs nondigestible protein? Collagen is a protein, but it’s not nutritious.

I suppose this might explain why LFTB is an additive and is not being sold by itself – it can’t meet the criterion for “nutritional composition of meat” on its own?

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Happy's Greenhouse March 31, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Just curious how having a Wordpress blog and visiting BPI and meeting the owners, transfers one into being an authority regarding Pink Slime. When I read your blog before, you simply had a lot of cut and paste from other sources. Has that changed in the past couple of weeks?

What has become perfectly clear are the results that The Lunch Tray has had on this issue. Millions of Americans are aware of yet another food health situation to protect themselves from. If BPI’s business model is so fragile that it can’t stand the light of day and decided to close (not simply reduce output) three plants, doesn’t that tell you something? If this slime is so good for us, why close the plants?

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jeffrey getty April 1, 2012 at 11:30 pm

Who Would Want To Eat That Slop ?, Just Another Example Of Big Brother Sticking Their Nose In Our Business, Maybe The U.S.D.A And The Politicians Should Eat That [expletive deleted], We Should Have The Choice Not To…

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