Pink slime is making a comeback, so you can now feel just great about your hamburgers.
Pink slime, (also known as lean finely textured beef or LFTB, finely textured beef, and boneless lean beef trimmings or BLBT) is a filler product used by beef companies to supplement their food supply and to reduce the fat content of their beef. The product is made by taking beef trimmings and removing the fat by both heat and a centrifuge. The processed paste is then exposed to ammonia gas or citric acid to kill the bacteria. Once that’s done, poof, you got green slime.
In 2001, the stuff was approved for limited human consumption. The European Union bans meat made using ammonia gas.
After a devastating expose on the product by ABC in 2012, the product fell out of favor. Its manufacturer, Beef Products, Inc., lost a LOT of money. McDonalds promised to stop serving the product.
But the USDA has now declared that pink slime (which was a nickname coined by an official in the Department of Agriculture microbiologist) can now be described as ground beef.
In an article posted on The Takeout, which will guarantee that I rethink my lunch plans for the next few days, the United States Department Of Agriculture’s Food Safety And Inspection Service quietly reclassified “lean finely textured beef,” as “ground beef.”
“After reviewing the Beef Product Inc.’s (BPI) submission of a new product and new production process, FSIS determined that the product meets the regulatory definition of ground beef under the law in 9 CFR 319.15(a) and may be labeled accordingly,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement to The Takeout. According to the FSIS, Beef Products Incorporated asked the USDA to reconsider its product’s classification. That ultimately led to a months-long review and the change in nomenclature.
Between this and the known ecological cost of factory cattle, I think I’m inching closer to the day when I ditch my beloved hot dogs and burgers for tofurky burgers and soy dogs.
Eh, whatever. Cover them in enough ketchup and they all taste the same. In the meantime, check out the original nasty-ass video from 2012.