Who knew the color pink would cause a public outcry? For the past two months the media has covered the controversy of “lean finely textured beef”. Within days of an email by a USDA member calling the filler “pink slime “, the media backlash spawned into debates over the meat like product.
What exactly is Pink Slime anyway?
To be completely clear, pink slime or lean finely textured beef is beef trimmings that are processed to separate the fat from the meat. Pink slime is explained as “lean finely textured beef” by beefisbeef.com. The site also claims that the trimmings are 100% all natural beef.
The meat trimmings may be natural but then they are given a “puff” of ammonia to kill any bacteria that may reside in the 100% ground beef.
Would you eat it?
Knowing more about the pink slime or LFTM, many might answer that they wouldn’t eat it. The truth is, you have if you have eaten ground beef after 1990.
According to usatoday.com the process was discovered by a meat entrepreneur who wanted to make a profit off of the beef trimmings that were once only used for canned animal food.
Since then, the AFA meat manufacturer has been the main supplier to grocery powerhouses such as Wal-Mart and Safeway and fast-food chains Burger King and Jack-in-the-box.
Is it safe?
According to an article from usatoday.com, pink slime is said to be “not unsafe”. Experts claim that the ammonium hydroxide is a naturally occurring product that is found in everyday household baking and cooking ingredients, such as baking soda and chocolate.
Beefisbeef.com, goes so far as to say that lean ground beef trimmings are “wholesome and nutritious”.
Regardless of what the experts say it is little too late for the public to be trusting the experts.
“I have no idea what pink slime is..but it sounds gross but, if I have already eaten it and hadn’t known I wouldn’t be grossed out but i wouldn’t want to try it anytime soon. “, said Kelly Hahn, Senior.
Lack of clarity could possibly be what caused the controversy. Still, the word “unsafe” wasn’t enough to silence the outraged that consumers started to have over the unknown meat filler.
The media covered the story exposing the company and informed the public of what they are really eating. So much so that AFA meat manufacturer filed a chapter 11 bankruptcy within a month of the media coverage putting nearly 900 people out of work.
Governors and celebrity chefs spoke out and took sides on the issue of the meat, and forums were created to debate the issue with social media helping get the messages out from both side.
Three Governors toured the plant including Gov. Rick Perry from Texas agreeing that “agreed with the industry view that the beef has been unfairly maligned and mislabeled and issued a joint statement earlier saying the product is safe”, according to chicagotribune.com.
Food advocate Jamie Oliver, spoke out against the Pink Slime and parents were outraged to learn that the meat was being served in school lunches.
As the debate seems to come to a close, the most important thing that consumers are expressing is that they should be aware of what they are eating and what kinds of process their food undergoes before they eat it.
Many critics who slammed the media for branding lean ground textured beef were doing what they are to do as professional journalists, and that is to inform the public and it is the public who will ultimately decide what is okay for them to eat.