Agriculture Dept. OKs 'Pink Slime' for Schools

Critics say filler not safe, not real meat, but beef biz fights back

By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 15, 2012 6:37 AM CDT

(Newser) – "Pink slime" may be too dubious for McDonald's, but apparently the ammonia-treated beef filler is good enough for America's schoolchildren. The US Department of Agriculture is set to give the go-ahead today, allowing schools to use ground beef containing the so-called pink slime, reports ABC News. "That's what upset me. This idea that children are passively sitting in a lunch room eating what the government sees fit to feed them and McDonald's has chosen not to use it, but the government is still feeding it to them," said a Houston-based food blogger who has gotten 220,000 signatures on a petition asking the Department of Agriculture to ban pink slime in school food, according to the AP.

“It kind of looks like play dough,” says a former beef industry quality assurance manager who now speaks out against the product. “It’s pink and frozen, it’s not what the typical person would consider meat.” US regulators do not require pink slime to be labeled, but it is estimated to be in 70% of ground beef sold in America, and can account for up to 15% of a serving. The company behind the trimmings, Beef Products Inc., is fighting back, saying "boneless lean beef trimmings are 100% USDA inspected beef." It's also launching the website Pink Slime Is a Myth.

In this undated image released by Beef Products Inc., boneless lean beef trimmings are shown before packaging.
In this undated image released by Beef Products Inc., boneless lean beef trimmings are shown before packaging.   (AP Photo/Beef Products Inc.)
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