Just as I was about to preheat, so to speak, and whip up a platter full of Rosemary Beef Hash, a dish I carefully pulled from the pages of one of my favorite healthy cooking/living magazines, when the words “pink slime” popped up in my in-box and found their way onto my computer screen.
What is Pink Slime?
Pink Slime a.k.a. Lean Finely Textured Beef, once solely used for dog food and cooking oil, is made by gathering waste trimmings, such as beef scraps and cow connective tissues, simmering it on a low heat so that the fat separates easily from the muscle, followed up by spinning using centrifuge, which completes the separation.
Because beef trim is infamous for carrying pathogenic bacteria – E. coli O157:H7 and the non-O157 STEC bacteria – the mixture is then sent through pipes where it is sprayed with ammonia gas to kill the bacteria. It is then frozen and shipped to grocery stores and meat packers at which point it is added to most ground beef.
How Much Pink Slime are you ingesting?
This week, the former United States Department of Agriculture scientist, Gerald Zirnstein, told ABC News that 70 percent of the ground beef we buy at the supermarket contains pink slime. Further, he reported that “pink slime” does not appear on the label because, USDA officials with links to the beef industry are the folks who label the meat. There is no mention of ammonia, connective tissues or scraps, because paid corporate lobbyists have done a bang up job of convincing government officials that we don’t need to know.
There are some that argue that the ammonia spray is harmless and that getting every bit of meat off the carcass, given the cost of ‘growing’ a cow is a good thing.
That aside, what I most object to is that we, the consumer, are left in the dark. Is this not lying by omission? I vote for full transparency. I want to make an informed choice. I want to know what ingredients are packed into the foods that I am feeding my family.
There are two things that we can do:
Send an email to Tom Vilsack, Agriculture Secretary - firstname.lastname@example.org
Express your concern, your desire to be informed and insist on complete transparency.
And, instead of purchasing ground beef, pick up a grass-fed boneless roast and ask the butcher behind the count to grind it right then and there.
As for my Rosemary Beef Hash, I will share the recipe later in the day or tomorrow, after I recover from the idea of pink slime and my personal outrage that I am not being told the entire truth.
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