Pink Slime a Symptom of a Darker Disease
Mark Bittman reminds us that there's far worse stuff in our meat
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Apr 4, 2012 11:12 AM CDT
This undated file photo provided by Beef Products Inc., shows the company's ammonia-treated filler, known in the industry as "lean, finely textured beef," or as you know it, pink slime.   (AP Photo/Beef Products Inc.)

(Newser) – Public outcry appears to have essentially killed "pink slime" (or as its producers would prefer you refer to it, "Lean Finely Textured Beef"), and Mark Bittman can't help but find that encouraging—and a little ironic. "The stuff is gross, for sure, but it’s far from the most disgusting meat product out there," he writes in the New York Times, "and at least its origins reflect an attempt to make meat safer." The idea of spraying beef with ammonia, after all, was devised to eliminate bacteria that's caused by an industrial food machine operating on "a scale that’s far too large to sustain without significant collateral damage."

The slime is "a symptom, not a disease," he continues. The reason beef was sprayed with ammonia in the first place was because grain-fed, factory-farmed cows tend to get E. coli—which is also developing resistance to healthy cows that are routinely pumped full of antibiotics. Until we seriously rethink our meat production, it's not going to be any safer, with or without slime. Further, "ammonia isn't nearly the most egregious chemical that’s approved for use on meat without your knowing it." Click for Bittman's full column.

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Showing 3 of 12 comments
odowd80
Apr 4, 2012 3:11 PM CDT
I'd say its a symptom of a population completely ignorant of agriculture and food production. Today's urban population seems to think that food comes from a supermarket, and they've never in their lives even visited a farm, much less worked on one. Most people these days are unwilling to take the risks and do the hard work that is required to produce food, but oh my, they certainly do have high standards for how somebody else makes their food.
rudejohn
Apr 4, 2012 2:43 PM CDT
Honestly, let the people who want the best cuts of organic free-range cows as the source of their ground beef spend $13.99/lb and have it. I eat filets and quality organic meat from time to time; when I want ground beef for a burger, taco, or casserole is not that time. I don't care what's in the ground beef I buy for $3.50/lb for those recipes; pink slime, ammonia, filler... as long as the government certifies that it's healthy. Pink slime was around for twenty years and there is no evidence it ever harmed anyone, other than the "gross" factor.
n230099
Apr 4, 2012 12:49 PM CDT
The rabbits, quail and dove that abound in my yard are getting nervous.