Controversial 'Pink Slime' Production Oozes to a Halt

Ground beef

Beef Products Inc, manufacturer of the controversial ammonium hydroxide drenched beef filler by-product, nicknamed ‘pink slime’, has announced that at least temporarily, it is shutting down 75 percent of its production.

Based in Dakota Dunes, South Dakota, BPI’s headquarters are the only facilities that will remain open, reports the company. After suffering major financial losses arising from the criticism and public outcry over its ground beef product, operations in Texas, Kansas and Iowa will cease production for at least 60 days.

Most recently, the company suffered a serious blow when news that the USDA had planned to distribute 7 million pounds of the Lean Finely Textured Beef (as it’s called in the industry) to the nation’s schools, inciting outrage among parents, school officials and consumer health advocacy groups that led to a petition of the department to pull the product. The USDA has since announced it will make alternatives available to schools wishing to opt out of purchasing the pink slime.

Pink slime is a combination of meats left over from slaughter and often still stuck on the carcass. It can include connective tissue and other parts of the cow that typically go into pet food production. The meat scraps are a breeding ground for pathogens, requiring the ammonium hydroxide bath, which brings its own set of health risks beyond ingesting the questionable meat.

The product doesn’t even meet McDonald’s standards, but a recent survey found the unlabeled ingredient in 70 percent of ground beef samples purchased at various supermarkets.

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Image: Stop Pink Slime

Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a Los Angeles-based journalist and editor focused on the global food system and how it intersects with our cultural traditions, diet preferences, health, and politics. She is the senior editor for sister websites OrganicAuthority.com and EcoSalon.com, and works as a research associate and editor with the Cornucopia Institute, the organic industry watchdog group. Jill has been featured in The Huffington Post, MTV, Reality Sandwich, and Eat Drink Better. Twitter @jillettinger | www.jillettinger.com.