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Treated beef dubbed ‘pink slime’ to show up in school lunches

Posted by truthpills on 2012/03/12

A new report in the Daily tablet newspaper indicates that 7 million pounds of “pink slime” will be served in school lunches this spring.

By Elizabeth Flock
The Washington Post

WASHINGTON — When McDonald’s and other fast-food chains said last month that “pink slime” was no longer being used in their burgers, some believed the product, beef trimmings partially treated with ammonium hydroxide, had disappeared from the nation’s food supply once and for all.

But a new report in the Daily tablet newspaper suggests the slime will appear in school lunches this spring, 7 million pounds of it.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), schools and school districts plan to buy the treated meat from Beef Products Inc. (BPI) for the national school-lunch program in coming months.

The USDA said all of its ground-beef purchases “meet the highest standard for food safety.” The department also said it strengthened ground-beef safety standards in recent years.

Last April, British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver reported that 70 percent of U.S. ground beef is made with BPI’s ammonia-treated product.

BPI recently said that figure still holds. The company called ammonium hydroxide a “natural compound … widely used in the processing of numerous foods.”

Gerald Zirnstein, a former microbiologist at the federal Food Safety Inspection Service, came up with the term “pink slime” when he toured a BPI facility in 2002 during an investigation of salmonella in packaged ground beef. The mixture of animal trimmings and ammonia has a pink appearance.

Zirnstein emailed his colleagues to say he did not “consider the stuff to be ground beef,” according to the Daily.

Change.org has a petition on its site asking the USDA to stop buying the slime.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Food Safety and Inspection Service, however, say ammonium hydroxide is “generally recognized as safe.”

The ammonium treatment was initially touted as capable of killing E. coli and salmonella in meat.

But a 2009 New York Times report said the process didn’t seem to be working: Government and industry records obtained by the newspaper showed that in testing for the school-lunch program, E. coli and salmonella pathogens had been found dozens of times in Beef Products meat.

Reference

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