Call it what you want—LFTB or pink slime—it’s still a hot-button topic
Last week, a CN&R reader (and “third-generation meat processor and prominent blogger for Chico Locker & Sausage Co., Inc.,” as she described herself) named Jennifer Dewey wrote in, taking issue with comments I have made (or quoted) in this paper on two occasions concerning the widely used ammonia-treated ground-beef filler popularly known as pink slime (pictured), or “boneless lean beef trimmings” (BLBT) or “lean finely textured beef” (LFTB), as the meat industry refers to it.
It’s no secret that countless grocery and fast-food chains across the United States have stopped offering the stuff due to pressure from those not wanting to eat it (it is banned in Canada and the UK, incidentally). In fact, the mass exodus of consumers away from purchasing pink-slime-laden beef recently caused major pink-slime producer Beef Products, Inc. (BPI) to announce the closure of three of its plants.
Ms. Dewey questions the characterization I presented of pink slime as being “basically the fatty offal swept up off the slaughterhouse floor” (see GreenHouse, Mar. 29, 2012), a paraphrase from a direct quote I included in an earlier column (see GreenHouse, Aug. 12, 2010) that described pink slime as “fatty sweepings from the slaughterhouse floor,” and was attributed to a grist.org/food/2010-07-30-ask-umbra-on-pink-slime-in-hamburger-meat/ article. Grist writer Tom Philpott‘s extended quote actually read that pink slime is “the cheapest, least desirable beef on offer—fatty sweepings from the slaughterhouse floor, which are notoriously rife with pathogens like E. coli 0157 and antibiotic-resistant salmonella. Beef Products, Inc. (or BPI) sends the scraps through a series of machines, grinds them into a paste, separates out the fat, and laces the substance with ammonia to kill pathogens.”
A recent Reuters article (visit http://tinyurl.com/slimescience to read it) described pink slime as “the unlabeled and unappetizing bits of cartilage and other chemically treated scrap meat going into U.S. ground beef” and “a mix of fatty beef by-products and connective tissue, ground up and treated with ammonium hydroxide.”
Additionally, in her Chico Locker blog (head to www.chicolockersausage.com to read more) Ms. Dewey says, referring to my August 2010 column, that “[n]othing is ever mentioned what-so-ever [sic] about our products and how NONE of our products contain LFTB (‘pink slime’).” This is simply not so: I specifically advised readers to buy a chuck roast at Chico Locker & Sausage and “[g]rind your own fresh, gunk-free beef.” (I even called Chico Locker for a recommendation of the type of meat to use for grinding). I’m sorry if you did not interpret “gunk-free” as meaning “pink-slime-free,” Ms. Dewey, but that is precisely what I meant—it was an endorsement of the LFTB-free beef that Chico Locker & Sausage sells (which I am familiar with as one of your customers, and therefore did not feel the need to inquire more about it).
Apr. 14 events:
Cultivating Community NV‘s “Creating Community Gardens” free panel discussion and slide show will be held from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the Murphy Commons Community Building (1290 Notre Dame Blvd.). Call Stephanie at 354-1646 for more info.
The free World in Crisis—Connect the Dots conference, hosted by Occupy Chico, will take place at Trinity United Methodist Church (285 East Fifth St.) from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., and will feature an array of activities, including speakers (Teach Peace Foundation‘s David Dionisi and former Chico State poli-sci professor George Wright), discussion groups, entertainment and free food. Call Leslie at 518-9992 to learn more.