Pink Slime–> Late yet still Relevant

17 May

I think it’s a very Native American practice.  Really.  I would eat “pink slime” any day of the week.

But before my commentary–what exactly is it?  Pasted directly from the Wiki:

Pink slime, also known as lean finely textured beef (LFTB[2] and boneless lean beef trimmings (BLBT),[3] is abeef-based food additive that may be added to ground beef and beef-based processed meats as an inexpensive filler.[4][5] It consists of finely ground beef scraps, sinew, fat, and connective tissue, which have been mechanically removed in a heated centrifuge at 100°F (38°C)[6] from the fat into liquid fat and a protein paste.[7][8] The recovered material is then processed, heated, and treated with ammonia gas[1] or citric acid to kill E. colisalmonella, and otherbacteria. It is finely ground, compressed into blocks, and flash frozen for use as an additive to beef products.[9][10] The term pink slime was coined in 2002 by Gerald Zirnstein, who at that time was a microbiologist for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service.[7] Some state officials have objected to the nickname, saying that “lean, finely textured beef is the proper name.”[11]

In the United States, the additive itself cannot legally be sold directly to consumers. However, it can constitute up to 15% of ground beef without additional labeling,[9] and it can also be added to other meat products such as beef-based processed meats.[9] Prior to the invention of the disinfection process, beef scraps could only be sold as pet food or as an ingredient for cooking oil.[4]

And of course, I fully realize Wikipedia is not the greatest source.  It isn’t necessarily fact-based, and it’s certainly not peer-reviewed.  BUT what is the first place everyone looks for info?  That’s right–the Wiki.  So the entry is a good overview of what most people are told about the product.

Shame on the media for stigmatizing it.  Shame on people in the general public for getting grossed out rather then exploring the consequences of eating or not-eating it.

I commend producers and scientists for being ingenious enough to utilize products that would normally get tossed or wasted.  “Pink slime” is good for the environment.  It means landfills are not getting filled as fast.  It means an animal didn’t have to give up its life so someone could take 4 prime cuts of meat and toss the rest of the carcass in the garbage.

And I know a lot of people are going to get down on me for saying this, but this is MY blog so I’m going to anyway.  I think the whole labeling movement is extraneous.  There you have it.  Here’s why:

Labeling costs a bunch of money.  And I don’t know if anyone else has noticed but we are in a recession.  I think that money would be better spend on EDUCATION (more of this solves about every dilemma you could ever come up with), law enforcement and safety workers, health-care, small business start-ups and job creation, bettering the roadways, Native American people–in general, fixing marginalized and forgotten people/communities, better animal regulation (I’m looking at YOU puppy mills), *insert a long, long list of bigger priorities here*

Not only does labeling cost loads of money, it takes time to implement.  And there are logistical concerns.  Ever noticed how much information (and marketing) is already on a label?  How do we get any more facts on there while keeping it easy to see and understandable?  Labels are only so big.  And how long do we give companies to over-haul their product’s image?

Also, it requires regulation.  And who will do it (and with what money will we pay them?)?  The FDA, USDA, EPA are already busy, diluted, and ineffective enough without that added responsibility.

You’re really not going to like this point.  I would argue that the general public is not educated on agriculture.  See Wiki justification above.  I mean, the average person has never been to an actual farm (or any facility) in the basic and essential steps of food production.  It is easy to complain about agricultural practices when you don’t know what animal/food production entails.  It’s easy to look down on hormones, additives, procedures, and the like when you don’t understand WHY they are used.  To criticize, people must know the chemistry, biology, biochem, economics, and logistics behind current practices.  I am arguing here, that the general public does not have enough information to make well-informed decisions about food cultivation.  Instead they tend to jump on the latest bandwagon from the loudest media-hype.

Lastly, the public only seems to want food ingredients/hormones/additives/processes they DON’T like to be labeled.  Once any entity goes through all the trouble of labeling their product with whatever, the public will SEE what is in said product and stop buying it.  What company would agree to spending a fortune, taking extra effort, painstakingly disclosing every last fact about the ingredients and processes that go into formulating the product–only to LOSE business?

So pink slime–I’m for it.

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