70% of Ground Beef from Grocery Stores Contains “Pink Slime”
Gerald Zernstein, a former USDA scientist, believes that 70 percent of ground beef sold in supermarkets contains a product known as “pink slime.” He characterizes the product, officially called Boneless Lean Beef Trimmings (BLBT), as “economic fraud,” contending it is a cheap substitute for fresh ground beef.
What Is Pink Slime?
Formerly used only in dog food and cooking oil, pink slime is beef trimmings derived from the outermost part of the cow. As this part of the animal is the fattiest part, the meat is put through a centrifuge to extract the protein, forming a bright pink aqueous substance.
Because the meat comes from an area of the carcass that could be contaminated with pathogen containing excrement, the industry attempts to purify it with gaseous ammonia. Michael Moss, an investigative journalist from the New York Times, reports that school food officials have discovered dangerous forms of E. coli in the beef trimmings, which is a portion of the material where it was the least suspected, NPR notes.
Why Isn’t It on Meat Labels?
You won’t find this substance on the label of your ground beef because a USDA official with ties to the beef industry has declared and labeled it beef. ABC News has uncovered the fact that the woman who gave her stamp of approval on this substance is the former undersecretary of agriculture. When this official left her post, she was appointed to the board of directors of Beef Products Inc., the company that makes pink slime, where she has reportedly earned over a million dollars in the past 17 years.
While BLBT has been used in beef since the 1990s, a furor of public concern exploded last week over USDA plans to distribute 7 million pounds of the product to schools across the nation. According to MSNBC, an online petition requesting the government to discontinue using pink slime has amassed 20,000 signatures within a few days.
Which Supermarkets Use it?
ABC News questioned the top 10 supermarket chains in America, but only seven responded. Safeway indicated they trusted the judgment of the USDA and that meat sold in their stores contains BLBT. Ahold, which also is under the names of Stop & Shop or Giant, issued statements disclosing they believe BLBT is safe and use it in their meat, however, they also sell BLBT-free meat in their stores. Costco, Publix and H-E-B, as well as Kroger and Whole Foods said they do not use the product.
Although the company that makes BLBT is not without its defenders, even if the product is proven to be 100% safe, the public has a right to know exactly what they are eating. A food columnist at The Huffington Post is calling for stricter food labeling requirements. A way to be certain you are getting BLBT-free meat is to either buy organic meat or ask a butcher to grind up a roast for you.
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.