Some of you may remember our article earlier this year about pink slime. This substance is called ammonium hydroxide, and fast food chains famously inserted it into their beef to make it last longer. Much longer. By treating meat with the substance, they were able to serve it far after it should have been disposed of. Of course, this was all about profitability. The same chemical is used in household cleaners, fertilizer, and, remarkably, even explosives. In the United Kingdom, the substance is absolutely banned for any type of consumption by people, although it is still used in animal food. After it was revealed to the public just what this is all about on an episode of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution back in 2011, McDonald’s was quick to separate itself from the controversy by banning what it termed as a filler from all McDonald’s products. Taco Bell, which has faced much criticism over quality of beef, followed suit. However, the federal government seems to think that while fast food chains are doing the right thing and getting away from practices such as these, there is no reason it isn’t perfectly safe for American children. In fact, the United States Department of Agriculture purchased seven million pounds of beef that was treated with the pink slime. Where is it headed? That’s right. School lunchrooms.
Microbiologist Gerald Zirnstein originally dubbed the substance “pink slime” during his tenure as a USDA Food Safety Inspector. He has spoke out against the practice and criticized the approval process, saying that scientists were influenced heavily to approve ammonium hydroxide as safe for use without following proper protocols for testing. Zirnstein says that it is what he terms as a “high risk product.” Apparently, the pink slime consists of connective tissues to act as a filler for meat. This means that the beef on hand can go farther, meaning more profits for food retailers. It is theorized that over 70% of the ground beef in the United States is treated with ammonium hydroxide.
Another disturbing fact about all of this is that the Food & Drug Administration does not require the substance to be listed as part of ingredients or nutritional information by federal law. This means that there is no way to tell if the meat you are consuming has ammonium hydroxide or not. Most likely, there are many manufacturers pushing pink slime into our mouths without having to tell anyone they are doing it. What do you think?