Strike this a victory for the people. Cargill, a mega-corporation has recently announced that it will label beef products that include so called “Pink Slime” as containing Finely Textured Beef.
From Cargill’s press release:
Based on extensive consumer research over the past 18 months, Cargill Beef will begin labeling its branded, U.S.-made, fresh, ground beef products containing Finely Textured Beef, prior to the 2014 grilling season, with the declaration “Contains Finely Textured Beef.”
“Our research shows that consumers believe ground beef products containing Finely Textured Beef should be clearly labeled,” said John Keating, Cargill Beef president. “We’ve listened to the public, as well as our customers, and that is why today we are declaring our commitment to labeling Finely Textured Beef.”
Quick reminder. Pink Slime is the name given to beef scraps that traditionally were discarded because they were filthy and contained high fat content. These scraps are transformed into a ground beef – Finely Textured Beef (FTB) – in a process that requires “cleaning them up” with the use of strong chemicals. The disinfection is required because these filthy scraps are a breeding ground for pathogens.
We are no fans of Cargill, but we’ll give it the credit for not repeating the mistakes of BPI, another Pink Slime manufacturer. BPI uses ammonia to disinfect its beef scraps. Cargill uses citric acid. BPI almost went bankrupt last year after an online petition went viral and virtually overnight caused sales to drop over a cliff. Consumers did not want burgers cleaned with ammonia, even as BPI executives assured the public that no ammonia was left over.
Cargill understands that the best way to deal with an issue is maximum transparency. By labeling ground beef that has been processed as FTB, they are diffusing a consumer time bomb.