What Is Pink Slime ~ Burgers, Ground Beef, Meat
If you’ve been wondering “what is pink slime?” and whether you’ve purchased any of it from a major supermarket or grocery chain, it would help to know that the beef industry and the USDA refer to it as “lean, finely textured beef.”
In other words, you probably bought pink slime ground beef and/or eaten some at a friend or family member’s BBQ, because the pink slime process has been around since the 1990s.
In the 1980s, Beef Products, Inc. (BPI) developed a ground beef production process that separates beef trimmings and fats, using a centrifuge. In the 1990s, because of concern over the potential presence of E Coli in beef, BPI started infusing a blast of ammonia gas into the ground beef additive / filler to increase the pH and kill any bacteria or pathogens.
In 2002, a USDA food scientist, Gerald Zirnstein, was working on a project to identify what was actually being included in “ground beef” and whether it met food safety standards. In a private e-mail to a colleague, he referred to the scrap pieces of meat and their chemical treatment as “pink slime.”
In 2008, the Washington Post reported that pink slime made up as much as 25% of the contents of ground beef.
In late 2011 and early 2012, the food safety topic caught the attention of celebrity chefs (such as Jamie Oliver), the media, and the public, and the furor arose.
In an investigative report by ABC News in early 2012, it was discovered that approximately 70% of all ground beef sold in grocery stores and supermarkets contained pink slime.
Shortly thereafter, many food restaurants stopped buying pink slime ground beef, grocery store and supermarket chains started banning pink slime meat, and school districts stopped buying pink slime products.