"Pink slime" served up in school lunches

pinkslime.jpg
Greg Zabilski/ABC
Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver whips up a batch of pink slime
It's enough to make Adam Sandler's song "Lunch Lady" sound like a utopian fantasy ("got no idea what the chicken pot pie is made of..."). Sadly, we do know what the hamburger patties served by the national school lunch program are made of, and it isn't pretty. A recent article from TheDaily.com reveals in stomach-turning detail how a substance dubbed "pink slime" by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver continues to be purchased and used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the national school lunch program, even after being shunned by such notoriously unchoosy establishments as McDonald's and Taco Bell. Finish your lunch, then read on to learn what your kids might be eating today.

Beef Products Inc.'s "Lean Beef Trimmings" are made by "grinding together connective tissue and beef scraps normally destined for dog food and rendering," then treating the resulting goo with ammonia hydroxide to kill salmonella and E. coli. This pinkish monstrosity is then blended into ground beef to form hamburger patties.

Food Safety Inspection Service microbiologist Gerald Zirnstein says, ""I have a 2-year-old son, and you better believe I don't want him eating pink slime when he starts going to school." Do you want your kids eating the stuff the microbiologist's kid isn't allowed near?

"It's more like Jell-O than hamburger," says retired microbiologist Carl Custer, a 35-year veteran of the Food Safety Inspection Service. "We originally called it soylent pink. We objected to it because it used connective tissues instead of muscle. It was simply not nutritionally equivalent [to ground beef]. My main objection was that it was not meat."

The USDA plans to buy 7 million pounds of pink slime from Beef Products Inc. in the coming months for the national school lunch program. If your stomach still feels sturdy, have a look at the video in which Jamie Oliver demonstrates the process of creating pink slime. Good luck out there, beef lovers.


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5 comments
Cray8
Cray8

I have raised 6 kids 3 still in school. My oldest son used to eat hamburgers at school before the package lunch came into effect, he has a low soy protein allergy and they put so much filler in the new hamburger he had an allergy attack and could not eat them anymore. To many fillers , preservatives in all the food at school. I tried to tell them that, its not just the beef, other foods to, so they can stay fresh in those "plastic" trays that are heating up. Cooking food at the schools should of never left, saving money meant less quality. Our kids are eating this stuff. They are the future. Have all of it tested. My kids hate the taste of these lunches, they eat pbj almost every day over this stuff. What long term effects is it going to have. I just had to vent I hate these lunches. I Remember when they used to cook food at the school and it smelled so good!   Just to add we will get more fruit now?? and less beef for the same price, they have been profiting by treating our kids like dogs for years time to make that up

Lizzy
Lizzy

Correction: Jamie Oliver didn't create the term "pink slime." He simply brought prominence to the term that a microbiologist had originated earlier. That would be Gerald Zimstein, who was formerly of the USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service. The original story from TheDaily.com states, "It was Zirnstein who first coined the term “pink slime' after touring a Beef Products Inc. production facility in 2002 as part of an investigation into salmonella contamination in packaged ground beef. In an email to his colleagues shortly after the visit, Zirnstein said he did not “consider the stuff to be ground beef.”

Jason Dorweiler
Jason Dorweiler

The ancient National School Lunch Program has obviously lost credibility with me, but does it with schools all around the nation? Our livelihood starts out with food, therefor making food just as important as anything you will learn in our classrooms today. If we dont seek better funding and education when it comes to the simple and basic things in life, where will our schools be 10 years down the road? Charter schools are on the rise, and also don't have to use the products provided by The US Department of Agriculture, but still qualify for NSLP. If we start to use contracting services through a trusted local supplier, then I see a way out. But the best way to combat this situation is through a team of educated cooks that use sustainable practices and are educated enough to provide the meals that children need for their well being.This process is actually not only used in schools, but many of the frozen hamburgers you buy in grocery stores are processed the same way. Check the price, look at your ingredients and make the decision to avoid any processed meats.

Jason Dorweiler
Jason Dorweiler

The ancient National School Lunch Program has obviously lost credibility with me, but does it with schools all around the nation? Our livelihood starts out with food, therefor making food just as important as anything you will learn in our classrooms today. If we dont seek better funding and education when it comes to the simple and basic things in life, where will our schools be 10 years down the road? Charter schools are on the rise, and also don't have to use the products provided by The US Department of Agriculture, but still qualify for NSLP. If we start to use contracting services through a trusted local supplier, then I see a way out. But the best way to combat this situation is through a team of educated cooks that use sustainable practices and are educated enough to provide the meals that children need for their well being.This process is actually not only used in schools, but many of the frozen hamburgers you buy in grocery stores are processed the same way. Check the price, look at your ingredients and make the decision to avoid any processed meats.

Tw Tomwoolley
Tw Tomwoolley

Dont let yourselves be convivced by a slick talking Brit with a thick tongue distract you moms for his own resturant bug problems. LFTB is nothing less than low fat, lean beef. All beef parts are held together with connective tissue thats what muscles are, bone connectors. Beef is a whole animal, till a worker dimantles it then all the sudden some of the pieces become evil? Sometimes the armwavers are the evil. Oh by the way the P B & J all have more nh3 than the beef.

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