The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced that it’s buying pink slime in huge quantities for high school children. Pink slime is a harsh term, coined by Dr. Gerald Zirnstein, for boneless, lean beef trimmings or similar products.
Pink Slime is sold by a number of beef processing companies, including Cargill Meat Solutions, which uses antimicrobial treatments that lower the pH, and Beef Products, Inc., which is known for increasing the pH of the beef trimmings by adding ammonium hydroxide to remove pathogens such as E. coli and Salmonella.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture told The Daily that it's buying 7 million more pounds of the slime for school lunch programs across the country.
"All USDA ground beef purchases for the National School Lunch Program must meet the highest standards for food safety," the USDA said in a statement to The Daily. "This includes stringent pathogen testing and compliance with all applicable food safety regulations. USDA would only allow products into commerce or especially into schools that we have confidence are safe."
The debate about pink slime continues to go in circles because on one hand it has been disapproved by health experts and on the other millions of pounds are being purchased for high school students. The slime consists of beef by-products, including cow intestines, connective tissue and other parts that are not used in traditional beef cuts.
Many big fast food chains like McDonald's, Taco Bell and Burger King all decided in January they would stop using the pink slime in their food after pressure from celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.
Health reporter Dr. John Torres talked about pink slime and the poetical harm it may cause, saying, "The big concern is that this is a chemically processed food, it doesn't have nearly the nutrients of normal beef.” He added, "It's one of those things, 'Do I want my child to have this?' On a short-term, moderate basis: maybe. On a long-term basis: no."
He further added, "I want to know about that and that's probably the main thing, having them explain to us how much they're going to put in the food and how long they're going to use this in our food system and how much the kids are actually going to get during the school day.”