I haven’t lived in the United States for more than six years. While I was a little annoyed about the news of pink slime being added to certain beef products in the US, I was actually relieved because I live in the Philippines and the only pink slime that could have existed here would have had to be imported beef from the US. Sure, I was subjected to the additive before 2006, but I’ve been slime-free since then. To be honest, I just happened to be in the right place at the wrong time for American consumers.
What is, or was, “Pink Slime”?
Way back in 2002 (or just slightly earlier), the company that invented it, along with the USDA, called it “lean finely textured beef (LFTB)” while a microbiologist (who may have lost his job) at the USDA called it “pink slime”. When attention was brought to the additive in March of 2012, the “pink slime” term reappeared.
I won’t go into the details of how it’s made or who still uses it in their products, but you can find out a lot the information by reading the Pink slime Wikipedia page. I’ll tell you what it is, though, if it still exists (some companies have shut down).
When cattle are slaughtered, the excess fat and cartilage is trimmed from the beef cuts. Before the invention of pink slime, this part of the beef would be discarded or used in products not designed for human consumption. After the invention of pink slime, this part of the beef would be salvaged by separating fragments of the beef from the fat.
An Insult to Consumers
Whenever an industry adds something to a product consumers think is all natural, like beef, and don’t disclose that fact, it’s an insult to consumers in general. They believe we’re too stupid to know what’s good or bad for us and it shows in the way this particular issue was handled, especially with the government collusion involved.
When people found out that Taco Bell didn’t use pure beef in their products, people were in an uproar but I don’t think they put 2 and 2 together. I’m pretty sure their “filler” was pink slime. They don’t use it anymore, or so they say. No wonder my friends used to call their food “taco smell” instead of Taco Bell.
Where I live, I rarely go to fast food joints. In fact, I have always avoided them for the most part and only partake in their food products when I travel far from home. Luckily, the local versions of the US franchises, like McDonald’s, procure their beef from local sources. Do I trust them? No, not any more than I trust them anywhere else. And neither should you.