If you’ve turned on the news or read the paper in the past few months, you’ve undoubtedly run across reports of “pink slime.” Pink slime is the term that has been given to lean, finely textured beef, commonly served in school lunchrooms and fast-food restaurants. Before you choose to jump aboard the pink slime bandwagon, there are some things you need to know:
1. What is Pink Slime?
Pink slime is a product made by mixing beef scraps, connective tissue and ammonium hydroxide. Though the FDA regards the product as “generally safe,” many restaurants, including Burger King and Taco Bell, have stopped using the product. The great pink slime debate kicked off when the USDA announced plans to purchase seven million pounds of the product for the national school lunch program.
2. Is Pink Slime New?
If you’ve ever eaten a hot dog, a slice of bologna or a burger from a fast-food restaurant, you’ve had pink slime. In other words, pink slime isn’t new. The product has been used for years as a way to kill bacteria such as salmonella and E. Coli. Before Jamie Oliver outed the American beef industry on his popular cooking show, Americans had been blissfully unaware of their almost daily consumption of pink slime.
3. What are the Health Risks of Pink Slime Consumption?
You are at no more risk consuming pink slime than you are by consuming any other type of beef product. In fact, eating foods treated with pink slime may put you at less risk for developing a food-borne illness. Any diet that is nutritionally deficit carries with it some risks. The healthiest options on any dinner table have always been unprocessed, natural foods. While the FDA has listed ammonium hydroxide as generally safe, the agency is quick to admit that there have been no significant feeding studies conducted to ascertain the risk involved in consuming the chemical additive.
4. Should You Avoid Pink Slime?
The truth is this: “pink slime” is nothing but a public relations nightmare. Nutritionists have told us for years that the healthiest diet is one rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Processed foods of any type should be eaten in moderation and it is best to avoid fast-food altogether. In general, foods that contain pink slime should be avoided. These foods should be avoided not because of pink slime, but because they are less nutritionally dense than more natural food options available to us.
5. Is There More Information Available?
Instead of scaring yourself into never eating another ground beef patty again, do your own research and draw your own conclusions. The Beef is Beef website is full of useful information and links regarding the pink slime scare and, while it is undoubtedly pro-slime, the site does have factual information and statistics. The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal have also released compelling news reports on the subject that you may find interesting.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide whether or not pink slime should be eliminated from your diet. In reality, you’ve been eating pink slime for years and have had no idea that it was passing your lips. If you’re going to jump on the anti-pink slime bandwagon, make sure you jump aboard after you’ve done your own research.
Guest author Talia Harvy is a freelance blogger writing on behalf of edrugstore md a site where you can order medications online. For more information you can check out the edrugstore website profile.
Note from Lin: Certain points made in this guest post are not necessarily in line with my personal position about the “pink slime” issue. Do your own research, know where your food comes from and what additives, artificial ingredients, chemical preservatives etc are found in your food supply.