Ammonia an Ingredient in More Than Pink Slime
Health officials gave ammonium hydroxide the OK in 1974
By Newser Editors, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 5, 2012 6:43 AM CDT
Beef Products' ammonia-treated filler, a lower-cost ingredient made from bits of meat left over from other cuts.   (AP Photo/Beef Products Inc.)

(Newser) – If you were appalled by the revelation that the meat industry grinds up beef byproducts and gives them a nice ammonia bath, steel yourself: Experts say ammonia compounds are pretty commonly used in food. Ammonium hydroxide, which was given the OK by health officials in 1974, is added to milk in cheese production to stimulate cheese cultures; ammonium phosphate acts as a leavening agent, but evaporates during the course of baking. "It is quite similar to adding wine to a sauce and cooking away the alcohol," says a rep for Kraft, which uses small amounts of ammonia in some of its products, but isn't exactly tripping over itself to provide a list of those foods.

And according to the United States government, it doesn't have to: Ammonia compounds are considered safe in small amounts. And those used as "processing aids"—like ammonium hydroxide, the compound used to make pink slime—don't have to be declared on a label. But Reuters reports that you'll find that compound in everything from soda to soup. As for what is listed on labels, Reuters took a look and reports that you'll find ammonia compounds in everything from Wonder Bread to Chef Boyardee Mini Ravioli to Chips Ahoy cookies. And the Kraft rep would like to point out that ammonia, which occurs in nature, is found naturally in milk. Click for more on pink slime.

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Apr 6, 2012 3:02 AM CDT
I don't think I'm going to die anytime soon because of this...well because I'm not dead yet, and have eaten processed meat..blah. So with that in mind so what is the (technical/food process style grade) NAME of this stuff? What name(s) does it go by? What ingredients are listed as such? How much %? It would make a difference if people knew. In the amounts you would find it in, what would be considered "acceptable?" Is the amt we're talking about much ado about nothing? Or is this a way to get headlines going. I can't remember of all these years of eating stuff with this slime or ammonia ever getting sick or death from it There are a lot of countries ahead of us as far as cancer deaths per every 100, I guess it's not causing cancer. Just wondering about if this gross info is something new they are trying...because then WE don't know. We're the guinea pigs!? I'm sure not.
Apr 5, 2012 4:39 PM CDT
"It is quite similar to adding wine to a sauce and cooking away the alcohol," says a rep for Kraft. What a dumb analogy. We put in the wine in food for what it leaves behind. Wait a minute....
Apr 5, 2012 3:18 PM CDT