For anyone that has missed the pink slime headlines, the definition of pink slime on wikepedia is as follows: "Boneless lean beef trimmings refers to an industrial product created from beef trimmings using particular processes; these products are occasionally referred to using the neologism pink slime. These processes, which include meat trimmings passing through a centrifuge, and (in the most common process) being exposed to ammonia gas, have drawn attention as the subject of possible health and consumer concerns. The term pink slime was coined by Dr. Gerald Zirnstein to refer to the resulting products."
In essence, pink slime is the leftover crap mixed in with some ammonia to kill bacteria that no one in their right mind would choose to knowingly eat. More specifically, pink slime is a combination of fat, sinew, and bloody effluvia. Until ten years ago, these animal waste products were sold primarily for pet food. Somewhere along the way someone had the brainstorm that they could mix this waste with the beef to produce a cheaper product. Yet another example of greed and lack of care in our government and big business.
AVOIDING PINK SLIME
So, of course the next question is, how do I avoid meat that contains pink slime? Just like GMOs, there is no labeling system in place giving the consumer the right to know what is in their beef or the right to choose whether to buy pink slime infested beef. Before pink slime became headline news, it would have been quite difficult to avoid it. A 2012 ABC news report estimated that 70% of ground beef contained pink slime. If you are a hamburger loving person that buys your chopped meat from the supermarket, or eats hamburgers and other chopped meat products such as chili at a restaurant, then chances are you have ingested pink slime.
Supermarkets across America are now coming out with statements that they will not sell meat with pink slime. Please see this website which lists stores and what their position is on pink slime. http://blog.timesunion.com/hottopics/who-sells-meat-with-pink-slime-heres-the-list/8877/ I can not speak to how accurate or up to date this list is, but wanted to pass it along for you to see.
The USDA announced that school districts will be able to opt out of buying meat that has pink slime in it. Isn't that so nice of the USDA? Seriously, is there a school system in this country that would choose to buy the ammonia treated pink slime meat? Fairfield Public Schools have already announced that they will not be purchasing the pink slime meat. Thank you Fairfield! Why is the USDA even allowing pink slime to be used at all? Maybe someday school systems will be able to opt out of buying meat with hormones and antibiotics.
The best way to avoid pink slime is to reconnect with your food and make sure it is real! Know where your beef is coming from. When eating at a restaurant or buying your meat ask if it has been mixed with pink slime, and if you can not get a fast, straight forward answer, do NOT eat that meat. Shop at a place like Double L in Westport where LLoyd, one of the owners, speaks with the farmers that raise and process the meat he sells. http://www.doublelmarket.com/ Buy your meat at local butchers who grind their own meat. That is what our grandparents did. I know people are already thinking about the cost of buying beef like this. Meat is NOT supposed to be cheap and it is NOT supposed to be eaten often, if at all. So, if you are going to eat meat, buy high quality meat and eat it less often and in smaller quantities . In the alternative, you can buy your cheap meat and pay for your Dr. bills later in life. Don't forget there is always the option of not eating meat products at all.
I am truly perplexed and angry at what has happened to our food supply. If nothing else, hopefully pink slime and GMOs are making us think about what is happening to our food. We need to wake up and stop accepting the status quo. Start asking questions about your food, it is your right to know what is in your food. If you ever get confused about what to eat, just remember, keep it basic and keep it real. If you are local, please attend the Food For Though Expo on March 31st from 10 AM - 4 PM at Andrew Warde High School in Fairfield. Food For Thought Expo is sponsored by the Fuel For Learning Partnership, a PTA Council Committee, that through education and advocacy is working to improve the quality of food served to our children in the Fairfield School Lunch Program. Michelle McCabe has been the talented, strong leader of the Fuel for Learning Partnership for the past three years. I am honored that in September I will be Michelle's successor. I have very big shoes to fill! Thank you Michelle.