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Pink Slime or Lean Finely Textured Beef

“Pink slime” is the pejorative nickname given to what the food industry calls “lean finely textured beef.” What both terms refer to is ammonia treated ground beef made from the fatty, unused trimmings of other cuts. Reports by The Daily and ABC News on the widespread use of the beef sparked outrage, and inspired a petition to ban the USDA from buying the product for schools.

The USDA responded by letting schools choose whether to use pink slime or not — at least at the 20 percent of American schools where it is in charge of food purchases. Since that announcement, many grocers have committed to stop carrying the product.

Unsurprisingly, Beef Products Inc., which manufacturers the product, announced this week it will suspend operations at three of its four factories.

So what is the problem, if any, with ammonia-treated ground beef? Does your child’s school carry it? Are you worried about it?


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OPB | March 27, 2012