‘Soylent Pink’: Pink slime revisited

So-called “boneless lean beef trimmings” get the axe from big-name fast-food chains and grocery stores

Pink slime, aka Soylent Pink.

Pink slime, aka Soylent Pink.

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The news has been filled with pink slime lately. Major grocers and fast-food purveyors across the nation are jumping on the anti-pink-slime bandwagon in an attempt to not alienate a discerning meat-eating public not wanting to eat meat containing the off-putting filler—basically the fatty offal swept up off the slaughterhouse floor that used to be allowed to go into only pet food and cooking oil, as I informed GreenHouse readers way back in August 2010. The pink slime—aka “boneless lean beef trimmings”—is then treated with ammonia and used as a cost-cutting extender for ground beef. Gross.

“Apparently, fast-food burger chains such as McDonald’s and Burger King—as well as various hotels, restaurants, retail-ground-beef processors and even the federal school-lunch program” are serving pink slime, I wrote in 2010. Famously, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, on the season premiere of his television show, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, came out in April 2011 against pink slime, which he reported as being used in the processing of 70 percent of the United States’ ground beef.

The Glow of Hope Project is raising money to build a women’s educational center in Pakistan.

The rising pressure from consumers who don’t want to eat ammonia-laced meat has resulted in a number of major fast-food and grocery chains pulling the plug on the stuff (which is distributed, incidentally, by South Dakota-headquartered corporate beef giant Beef Products, Inc.). Earlier this year, the McDonald’s chain announced that it would stop adding pink slime to the burgers it serves.

A very recent Washington Post story (head to http://tinyurl.com/washpostslime to check it out) reported that Burger King and Taco Bell also have axed pink-slimed meat, as have a number of big supermarket chains such as Albertson’s, Lucky and Safeway.

But—and here’s the kicker—“the U.S. government and schools said they were buying 7 million pounds worth of the controversial meat filler for school lunches,” the Post reported, after McDonald’s had already rejected it. The government’s purchase of “Soylent Pink,” as retired USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service microbiologist Carl Custer referred to it in early March, came “less than six weeks after the release of new school lunch guidelines designed to make foods healthier and safer,” as noted by Chicagoist.com food writer Anthony Todd. Todd went on to point out that Custer argued that pink slime “had little to no nutritional value.” Other scientists, Todd reported, said “that they were pressured to approve the product with minimal safety evaluations, which is particularly problematic given the high incidence of salmonella, E. coli and other contaminants present in the treated meat byproduct.”

Kudos to those who are refusing to have anything to do with Soylent Pink.

Glow of hope
Last Sunday evening, I had the pleasure of attending the Glow of Hope Project fundraiser at The Palms in north Chico. Spearheaded by founder/coordinator Rabina Khan, the project aims to raise money to build a women’s educational training center in Khan’s hometown in Pakistan. Following a scrumptious Pakistani meal, and a slide presentation that included disturbing images of Pakistani women whose faces had been disfigured by acid (all too common, unfortunately), attendees were entertained with a Pakistani-clothing fashion show and a striking dance performance by Mussarat Iqbal and Praveen Ram. Head to www.glowofhope.org to find this worthy cause.