The Pink Slime Saga – Epilogue

Pink Slime Closeup

You may remember several months ago, nutrition headlines were all pink. What started as a petition by a Houston mommy blogger, to get a highly processed meat by-product out of her daughter’s school lunch, led to the great pink slime pullout from all major supermarkets.

Pink slime, or by its industry name Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB), is made of beef trimmings that instead of being thrown away, are processed and turn into what look likes ground beef. The problem is that the trimming are usually very dirty (outer parts of the animal) and have a higher chance of contamination. So they are cleaned with ammonia…

Due to a campaign that went viral, and media attention to the pink slime meme, the companies manufacturing pink slime lost almost all their clients overnight and went bankrupt. One of the companies had a bittersweet ending this week, when it was picked up for a pittance by meat and food processing empire Cargill.

President of the Cargill Value Added Meats Food Service business Mary Thompson said: “This is a strategic acquisition that complements our existing beef production and distribution infrastructure and better positions us to meet our goals for both short-term and long-term profitable growth.” read more…

The 250 employees will keep their jobs, according to Cargill. Will the processing plant be converted to manufacturing something else? Or is pink slime going to make a comeback someday?

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  • Brian

    I’m sure it will make a comeback in some yet to be introduced product that has nothing to do with hamburgers.

    • Frank Martin

      Agreed. The more I learn about big business, especially when it comes to food, the more convinced I become that there will always be companies out there that are more interested in making money than the quality/health of their product.

  • malachite2

    Walmart has said it plans to continue offering it. http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/03/safeway-drops-pink-slime-walmart-to-offer-consumers-choice/

    I agree that other uses will be found for it and it will end up in other products–don’t food labeling regulations exempt ingredients from being listed if it’s below a certain wt or % of the product?

    Or Cargill could ship it to out of US retailers.

  • Travis D

    My
    only issue is, I have not heard a good factual argument against LFTB.
    I agree that the government is not the most credible source. It is
    much easier for the USDA to say no a product than to say yes. The fact is Lean
    Finely Textured Beef is just beef. 100% USDA inspected beef. No
    bones, no tendons, no scraps, no organs, no additives and no fillers.
    Just 95% lean beef. Had you not heard the media spin, you would be
    praising this company for it’s attention to food safety. 300 billion
    meals served and not 1 reported illness. I do work for BPI so I am a little
    biased. However, I would not hang my name on it if I didn’t believe in it
    myself. I have a wife and 3 year old son that I am proud to share LFTB with. BPI
    has devoted it’s entire existence to producing a safe, lean, sustainable beef.
    Safety is BPI’s #1 priority. Every box of beef that BPI produces,
    is sampled and then stored in a cooler until the independent lab results come
    back negative. It does not leave the building until this happens. We
    hear a lot about transparency. We feel we are the most transparent beef company
    in the world. We have opened the door to critics and scientists. I would be glad to answer any questions to help address
    your concerns.

    • mkj

      Travis -”I have not heard a good factual argument against LFTB.” There’s a lot of products that aren’t good for us that have ‘facts’ supporting their existence in the food chain. So this matter really cannot be addressed by critics, scientists, and transparency. Its going to be addressed by the consumer non-purchase, even if we’ve been spurred by media hype.

      My take on the immediate response of the American consumer is that we’ve all suspected something wasn’t quite right about this meat. I’ve been wondering for years why the grocery stores just can’t seem to get something as simple as ground beef to taste decent. So when an explanation comes along that finally explains my intuition, AND they tell me its cleaned with a safe amount of ammonia, then I’m done buying it. Period. I’ll eat beans and rice for the rest of my life before I go back to LTFB.

      Here’s what I love most about social media right now: big companies can no longer hide behind bigness. We’ve been handed mountains of scientific and critical testing, large companies crying into microphones that they were doing a good job – on paper. But beef is just the muscle of the cow. If it were that simple, you wouldn’t be trying to prove anything on paper … if it’s just beef.

      A mom in Houston can change the whole course of the buying public. You go girl.

    • iluvfooducation

      This type of meat is disgusting. I am not a vegetarian or anything like that… But I’m food safety certified, and the sick and cruel things they do to animals to be able to make them fatter so they can pull this “LFTB” off of them so they can make more money, DISGUSTS ME. Whoever came up with the idea to feed cows corn so they get fatter was an IDIOT! They cannot digest corn so it sits in their stomach and brews up a delicious concoction of E. coli!!!! How tasty!!! And theeeen, they treat the meat with BLEACH(essentially), and there it goes… of into the mouth of consumers…
      Just to defend this abomination of “meat” makes me sick. you better check yourself before you wreck yourself….

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  • IceStormer

    “Or is pink slime going to make a comeback someday?”

    What makes you think it hasn’t?