Lean finely textured beef - aka “pink slime” is currently enjoying its last 15 minutes of fame. . .and perhaps its last appearance on your child’s lunch plate. It’s been hard to miss the [social] media storm surrounding it. An investigative piece was recently done on this substance, which is commonly found in fast food burgers as well as school lunches. Outrage and disgust followed. Why? Because pink slime is comprised of low grade meat scraps that are spritzed with ammonia gas. And not only is pink slime highly processed and treated with chemicals; opponents claim that it’s also void of nutritional value.
It seems clear that this “food source” isn’t the best choice for our growing and developing children, right? And doesn’t the USDA’s recent decision to provide school districts with a choice seem to confirm that?
Not so fast, says Beef Product Inc., one of the largest providers of government purchased school beef. Their new website, pinkslimeisamyth.com refutes claims that lean finely textured beef is unhealthy and unsafe. An “Emotional Defense” about a child’s death also appears on their website, making the case for why meat needs to be processed with heat and chemicals.
It seems that the pink slime debate is just the latest hot button issue when it comes to health and nutrition. As our country slowly moves toward a healthier, more natural way of eating, acceptance of processed and chemically treated foods will dwindle. This guarantees that school lunches will continue to change, because the public will demand it. Perhaps the bigger question is: “How do we determine if the food served in schools is healthy enough for our children, and who should have the power to do so?”