SEVENTY per cent of beef contains “pink slime”… and 7million pounds of it is set to go into school meals
Pink slime: The chemically treated beef is in 70 per cent of supermarket mince
After an outcry over the use of “pink slime” in restaurants, leading fast-food chains promised to stop using the chemically treated meat.
But the ammonia-infused beef is not yet off American dinner tables, as it has been revealed that 70 per cent of supermarket mince contains the substance.
And the use of pink slime is also set to extend to children”s meals, as the federal government plans to buy 7million pounds of the meat to serve in U.S. schools.
Pink slime, known in the meat industry as “lean beef trimmings”, is made up of the remnants of a cow carcass once all the muscular cuts of meat have been removed.
The lean of the meat is then separated from the fat using a form of centrifuge.
Because the meat comes from areas of the body more likely to be infected, it is sprayed with ammonium hydroxide to kill microbes which cause food poisoning.
Following a concerted campaign by the likes of British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, major restaurant chains such as McDonald”s, Burger King and Taco Bell agreed that they would no longer put pink slime in their burgers and mince.
However, more than two thirds of ground beef sold in supermarkets still contains at least some pink slime, according to Gerald Zirnstein, a former scientist at the United States Department of Agriculture.
He described the practice as “economic fraud”, telling ABC News: “It’s not fresh ground beef… It’s a cheap substitute being added in.”
The presence of pink slime in a packet of beef does not have to be signalled by the labelling, as it is not considered a separate ingredient but a process.
The decision by the USDA to define trimmings as exactly the same substance as muscle meat – against the advice of department scientists – was made by an official who went on to work in the beef industry.
Not only is heavily processed meat hard to escape in grocery stores, it is also being fed to children in school canteens.
The USDA – which is responsible for school lunches – has agreed to buy 7million pounds of pink slime from food giant Beef Products Inc. over the next few months, according to the Daily.
The department claims that its beef supplies “meet the highest standard for food safety”, but officials admit there is no way to tell which products are made with beef trimmings.
Retired microbiologist Carl Custer has spoken out against the use of pink slime, which he claims is “not nutritionally equivalent” to traditional cuts of meat.
“My objection with having it in the schools is that it’s not meat,” he said.