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Like a scene from a horror movie...
March 20, 2012 - Taste Buds
...And out of the ammonia ooze crawled the terrifying PINK SLIME! AAAHHHH! Hide the women and children! Run for your lives!
Er, well, something like that.
By now, most of you have heard about the pink slime being used in ground beef that is served in schools and sold in supermarkets. Many of you have also seen videos of this gloopy stuff pouring through fancy processing equipment. But what exactly is it?
According to Wikipedia, pink slime is an industrial product created through a process using boneless beef trimmings. After machines have cleaned as much meat from the bones as possible, there may still be "meaty material" left. So the bones are boiled to loosen the meat, and the meat is separated from the bone in a centrifuge. The material gets further treatment in the centrifuge, which separates the fat from the meat, and then ammonia is added to kill any germs. Obviously, by salvaging as much meat as possible from the carcass, the weight of the overall product increases, and more weight means more product to sell. These trimmings are sold to food companies as filler in beef products.
The issue that is the "bone" of contention (pun intended) here is that by using ammonia to kill off those dastardly germs, older, less fresh and more decomposed meat can sneak in there, meaning the total volume of the ground beef containing the pink slime doesn't always include the freshest meats.
What scares the Buds the most about this is, well, we've all been eating this stuff for years and just now are hearing about the pink slime. A while back, Bud Shaunna had written a column about the pet food industry and how it was unregulated and combinations of beaks, feathers, hair, bones and other undesirable parts of a carcass not fit for human consumption are perfectly ok to feed our furry friends. But why are we talking about pink slime, something that kind of sounds like the beaks and feathers in pet food, when the food industry IS regulated? How did something like this get by the USDA?
Scarier yet, this also shows how completely unaware and ignorant most people are of what they are actually putting into their bodies. Probably if someone did research on ground beef 10 years ago, the term pink slime would not have come up. But even a little research would produce a general awareness of the processes your food went through before it meets your mouth. Instead, it's a lot easier to rely on all those fancy advertisements to tell you what you SHOULD be eating. Taco Bell is open super late! Come get a taco at 3 a.m.! You're dying for a Big Mac at lunch...don't try to resist! Look, we're even going to put a bunch of good looking young people on here having the times of their lives. There might be a cute puppy or baby or something else thrown in for good measure.
Admittedly, the Buds don't always eat the healthiest of foods either, but we both try to follow reasonably healthy diets. We think it would be very wise to pay attention to what kind of food we're feeding ourselves. And perhaps the silver lining in all of this is that maybe because of the pink slime, more people will take a step back and examine what they eat.
Perhaps a bowl of mixed greens and veggies doesn't sound good to you, but it's sure as heck a lot tastier than an ammonia and pink slime pudding! Eat up!
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