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Saturday, 07 June 2014 10:47

It's Back ... Pink Slime in the News

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The controversial beef product "pink slime" is back in the news as beef prices rise.

As beef prices rise, demand is back for a product known as "pink slime." According to the Washington Post, "chemically treated cartilage and scrap meat," or lean finely textured beef is used as filler for ground beef and other food products. Although pink slime fell from public favor after a 2012 ABC News Diane Sawyer report, Fox News says that "Pink slime is having a comeback" as "sales of processed beef byproduct are rebounding."

5707774275 e71bb18acd zWhat is pink slime? Beef trimmings are put into a centrifuge which separates the meat from the fat. The meat is then sprayed with ammonia or citric acid to kill bacteria. In 2001 the product (called lean fine textured beef or boneless lean beef trimmings) was approved by the FDA for limited human comsumption. Critics claim the product was previously used in dog food. The 2012 ABC report claimed, among others, that pink slime was used in 70% of the beef products available in stores at the time.

In September of 2012 Beef Products Inc. filed a $1.2B lawsuit against ABC News for "defamation, product and food disparagement, and tortious interference with business relationships." (Wikipedia)

It should be noted according to U.S. law, pink slime "can constitute up to 15 percent of ground beef without additional labeling." If you are buying ground beef at your local supermarket, chances are you are eating pink slime without knowing it. Pink slime is banned in Canada and the European Union. U.S. federal safety standards are generally lower than those of Europe.

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