The Secret of Pink Slime

Lauren Garner, Editor

Most have heard the term being used before, but not many people know what Pink Slime actually is.

According to online sources, the name, “Pink Slime” came about in 2002 from the Food Safety and Inspection Service when a microbiologist named Gerald Zernstein discovered that manufacturers were placing it in products that used beef. The actual product itself is made out of the spinal, rectal, connective tissue, and other intestinal material of animals.

The production of Pink Slime happens to concern Americans due to the simple fact that it contains ammonia. To make the additive, they first separate the fat and meat, squeezing it into a pencil-sized tube. This is where the product is exposed to ammonia gas. The exposure of the gas and water together creates ammonium hydroxide, which increases its pH. Apparently, this makes it 90% lean.

The Food and Drug Administration has dubbed ammonium hydroxide as generally safe, making it okay for most companies to continue the production of pink slime in their beef products, and while ammonium hydroxide destroys pathogens like E.coli and Salmonella, it makes us wonder what we are actually eating chemical-wise.

In March of this year, ABC News reported that of the United States supermarkets, 70 percent of ground beef contained unlabeled pink slime. Most people are lobbying for the removal of pink slime from the meat products or to label their meats, “pink slime free.” Fortunately for them, it can’t be sold as real meat, thus leaving it to be just an addition to regular beef.

A few companies that add it to their meats are Beef Products, Inc. (BPI); Cargill Meat Solutions; and Tyson Foods.

So next time you bite into a beef product, think about what you could be eating!

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