Gray Matter


Pink Slime Is a Slang Term for Processed Beef Trimmings

pink slimeThere was a big stink about pink slime in 2012, after ABC News aired a story about it. One company, Beef Products, Inc., sued them and won a settlement in 2017 of at least 177 million dollars for defamation.

Called lean finely textured beef or boneless lean beef trimmings, pink slime is actually safe for consumption.

Pink Slime Processed With Ammonia

Beef Products, Inc. patented a process in 2002 that turns materials that had previously gone for pet food or oil into products for human consumption. In this process, they warm the beef trimmings, put them through a centrifuge to remove fat, then treat it with ammonia to increase the pH and kill bacteria.

The pink slime supposedly resembles pink-colored ice cream when it comes out of the machine. I don’t know about that, I haven’t seen any videos about it. The pictures I’ve seen aren’t sourced, so I can’t say anything about it at all.

Cargill Meat Solutions uses citric acid to kill off the bacteria. Tyson Foods doesn’t say how they do it.

It’s Lean Beef

Pink slime is an additive for other beef products, making them leaner than before. As for ground beef, there are three cuts, but take the percentages with a grain of salt:

I buy ground sirloin all the time here in the Philippines, and it’s never above 80 percent lean. When I was in Phoenix, I found 90 percent lean at Walmart. I have little doubt it reached the 90 percent lean rating because of the pink slime added to it. Here in Hawaii, I continue to find 93 percent lean. I have no idea if it contains any pink slime and I really don’t care.

I’m Not Afraid of Any Pink Slime

After the ABC News report, a lot of companies stopped using it. The court of public opinion was in full swing. Even though it’s safe for consumption, public perception is unrelenting. If consumers stop buying, it doesn’t really matter if it’s safe or not, does it?

During the lawsuit, some companies started using it again. I suppose more companies will start using it again because of the lawsuit. Judging by what I’ve read since 2012, the usage of pink slime continues to increase. If it’s safe, and it doesn’t change the taste of the beef, why fear it in any way?

I’ve seen videos about how wieners are made, and I’ve seen videos for sausages and bologna. In my opinion, pork products are way more disgusting than beef, in the way the products are made. That’s why I buy beef franks instead of regular pork wieners.

Photo Attribution: Pexels from Pixabay
Edited and updated. Originally published at one of my other websites in January 2018.

Author: RT Cunningham
Date: October 14, 2020 (UTC)
Categories: Food and Drink

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