USDA ~ Pink Slime Burgers, Ground Beef, Meat
Ironically, it was a USDA scientist, Gerald Zirnstein, who coined the term “pink slime” in a private e-mail to a colleague, but he never intended to be a whistleblower.
In 2002, he was assigned the task of determining exactly what went into “lean, finely textured ground beef” (the USDA’s designation for ground beef pink slime). Apparently, the ingredients (beef trimmings, fat, and even cartilage), the production process (a puff of ammonia to eliminate potential bacteria), and the color of the final product led him to come up with the disparaging designation.
In early 2012, ABC News concluded that 70% of grocery store ground beef contained pink slime, though, the USDA never pressed for it to be labeled it as such.
At the heart of the pink slime controversy rests the debate between cost and quality. No one has come out and said that pink slime isn’t safe, nor that it isn’t nutritious.
The pink slime process has provided a low-cost option for purchasing ground beef since the 1990s, when the food production process was implemented.
Nonetheless, due to consumer concerns, many major grocery store and supermarket chains no longer sell pink slime burgers and ground beef, including Safeway, Kroger, Stop N Shop, Albertsons, Costco, and Whole Foods Market.