Attack of the Pink Slime by Steve Shenk

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I read this article written by Steve Shenk, food expert, a few months back . . . I thought it was an interesting and helpful read . . . He is a brilliant writer with experience we can trust. Here is his article, re-posted with permission, of course.

Steve Shenk, noted food expert, is an educator, corporate executive, and philosopher, with forty years as a successful entrepreneur in the food industry.


Recently McDonald’s, one of our largest fast-food restaurants in America, issued the following statement:
“For a number of years prior to 2011, to assist with supply, McDonald’s USA used some lean beef trimmings treated with ammonia in our burgers. We were among other food retailers who used this safe product.”
Let that sink in for a moment—“beef trimmings treated with ammonia.” That can’t be right can it? What does that actually mean?

The beef trimmings referred to here are what is left over once all the cuts of beef have been removed from the cow. (These trimmings were once deemed unfit for human consumption and used for dog food). The trimmings are spun in a centrifuge to separate the “meat” from the fat and then the meat is treated with ammonium hydroxide in an attempt to kill all the harmful forms of bacteria present. You may have heard people refer to this “meat” as pink slime, a term coined by the British chef Jamie Oliver. Pink Slime is a name as appetizing as the process it went through to get on your table.

Now, look at McDonald’s statement again. Does anything else standout to you? What about “[w]e were among other food retailers…”? In October 2011 it was reported that 68 people in 10 states were sickened by an outbreak of salmonella toed to a “Mexican-style fast food restaurant chain”. It was later determined that the chain was Taco Bell. Burger King also came out with a statement similar to the McDonald’s announcement.

From this statement, one can safely assume that the use of pink slime is a widely accepted practice in the fast-food industry. It is estimated that 70% of fast-food hamburger could have included pink slime. Think back over the last year. How often have you eaten at a fast-food restaurant? Do you go out regularly with your co-workers for lunch? Do you stop by on the way home because you’re too tired to cook dinner? Or do you take the kids there for a reward or a family night out? The “why” isn’t as important as is knowing how many times you may have been fed pink slime. How do you feel about a trip through the drive-thru now?

It is also interesting that pink slime is referred to as a “safe product.” It makes you wonder what other “safe products” they are feeding us. if it’s truly safe, why did McDonald’s and Burger King both come out with statements that they were no longer using the pink slime products AFTER the contamination at Taco Bell was revealed?

The USDA has approved the use of ammoniated beef trimmings for human consumption. They argue that the beef’s ammonia treatment will kill any bacteria lingering in the beef. But, how much can we trust this process—or the government—when we hear of outbreaks of E. Coli and other harmful bacteria on a regular basis.
So what can you do to protect you and your family? You’ve already taken the first step by beginning to educate yourself on where your food comes from and how it is made. Please continue to do so. With knowledge comes power and the ability to make informed decisions that ultimately lead to peace of mind. It is for this very reason that I am committed to providing you with this type of information on an ongoing basis.

This is truly a frightening revelation that we here in the United States, as individuals and families, have to careful to protect ourselves from our own food. It is unfortunate indeed that agencies responsible for our protection can only be trusted to sell out our best interest to the economic pressures of special interest groups. If your personally held food supplies are dried or dehydrated, you are safe and can be fearless of these food-born contaminates. Very simply, these dangerous little critters can’t exist in a moisture-free environment.
Remember, if you are apathetic and passive about your food choices, you leave not only your health but also your well-being in the hands of others. Stop playing “Russian roulette” with your future and take control.

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