If you don’t, you may want to start after reading this. There is this stuff, pictured above, that microbiologist Dr. Gerald Zirstein has named pink slime. Pink slime is the lean trim left over after breaking down a whole beef carcass that has been disinfected with ammonium hydroxide to kill any harmful bacteria included E. coli. A small amount of lean trim is normal, just not trim that has been sprayed with ammonia. The unbelievable part is that it could be in up to 70% of this nation’s ground beef, give or take depending on whom you choose to believe.
Here’s how it works: the trimmings are put through a centrifuge to spin out most of the fat and then pushed through a cylinder roughly the same size as a pencil which is then exposed to ammonium hydroxide: Scary stuff…
The part of this that really is the most disturbing is the ground beef containing the slime is fed to the children in schools all over the country. Public outcry apparently was enough for McDonald’s, Burger King and Taco Bell to cave to public pressure and stop serving this crap to their customers.
The USDA was given the green light to slime us without any type of labeling on our beef by Joanne Smith who was president of both National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Florida Cattleman’s Association. Smith told the USDA scientists that "It’s pink, therefore it’s meat." That seems a bit like insider trading…. Even with all the pressure from the public and media the USDA does not plan on making any changes to the labeling of ground beef to better inform the public as to whether or not we are eating the slime. I have reached out to Wegmans to find out whether they sell disinfected beef or not, my gut says no, but hopefully I’ll get a response to pass on.
To sum up: this country’s population has put enough pressure on 3 of the major for fast food joints to change the ground-up cow that they serve to us, but our governing body chooses to let our children eat this crap in their schools. Maybe we should contract these fast food restaurants to feed our school kids; it may be the lesser of the two evils. I’m just glad I have my trusty Kitchen Aid with the grinding attachment…
HAGGIS UPDATE: Once I shake this cold and can taste again, haggis is #1 on my to-do list.
WEGMANS UPDATE: I received an answer from Wegmans within 10 minutes regarding pink slime. Here it is:
Thank you for your inquiry. While most ground beef contains a small percentage of boneless lean beef trimmings, our processor (Cargill Meat Solutions), does not use ammoniated meat products in the production of fresh ground beef for Wegmans. Our supplier tests all of our ground beef products for E.coli O157:H7 before it leaves the plant and the boxes are numbered so it can be tracked once it gets to the store and is packaged for retail sale. Our supplier abides by all regulatory requirements in making ground beef. Additionally, all Wegmans specifications are met in the process.
We hope this information is helpful and thanks again for inquiry. We value your feedback and appreciate your business!