Pink Slime: New Congressional Support, Latest News, and a Taste Test

I’m back from New York where I taped two media appearances relating to Lean Beef Trimmings, aka, pink slime.  I’ll  share the shows and air dates with you as soon as I’m allowed to by the producers.   And at some point this week – maybe even tomorrow – I want to resume posting about other topics here on the blog.  (I don’t know about you, but I am really ready for a slime break.)

But for now, here’s a round-up of important news and links:

Another Senator Joins the Fight

I was so pleased to get an email this weekend from New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s office sharing her letter to USDA in support of removing meat containing LBT from school meals.  She joins New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez and Maine Congresswoman Chellie Pingree in sending letters to the agency.  THANK YOU, Senator Gillibrand!  [Ed Update:  Be sure to also read this Lunch Tray post about Rep. Pingree’s “sign-on” letter now going through Congress.]

My Op-Ed in the Houston Chronicle

On Sunday, the Houston Chronicle ran my opinion piece about pink slime, the content of which will be somewhat familiar to Lunch Tray readers as I’ve advanced many of the same arguments here.  I was also surprised and gratified to see the paper print its own editorial the same day praising our petition and advocating package labeling for ground beef containing the substance.

Why Pink Slime Might Be the Least of Our Worries

Writer Tom Laskawy has a great piece in Grist this morning about how pink slime is really just representative of much larger problems in the meat industry, and he lists some other “processing aids” (besides the now-infamous ammonium hydroxide) lurking in your meat.

NPR Reads My Correction Aloud on The Air

I want to thank NPR for immediately rectifying the misrepresentation in reporter Allison Aubrey’s March 15th report on pink slime which stated that on The Lunch Tray I compared ammonium hydroxide, used to kill pathogens in pink slime, with a cleaning agent.  A portion of my letter was read aloud by Melissa Block on All Things Considered the next day.

More on School and Parent Reactions

Dana Woldow of PEACHSF had an interesting piece in Beyond Chron last week about reactions in San Francisco to pink slime in school food.  Meanwhile, Boston is banning the substance from school food entirely.  And many other school districts have also either confirmed they don’t use the product or have promised they won’t in the future – far too many links to share here.

Pink Slime Put to the (Taste) Test

And now for a lighter pink slime item . . .

Beef Products Inc. says on its website that

In study after study, taste panel after taste panel, consumers have consistently shown a preference for ground meat and other products made from BPI ingredients.  A taste panel conducted on our behalf by South Dakota State University confirms why our lean beef is a preferred ground beef ingredient.

So last week, J.M. Hirsch (Associated Press Food Editor and TLT friend) decided to do his own unscientific taste test between ground beef containing pink slime and an organic, slime-free version.  His verdict on the pink slime burger:

. . .  no juices collected on the plate. Or dribbled out. Or were apparent in the meat in really any way. The taste was — OK. I took another taste of the first burger, then back to the pink slime burger.

It was not bad. But nor was it good. It was flat. I added more salt. No. It was simply one-dimensional.

And then there was the texture. Unpleasantly chewy bits of what I can only describe as gristle, though they were not visible, seemed to stud the meat of the pink slime burger. The result was a mealy chew that, while not overtly unpleasant, didn’t leave me wanting another bite.

Thanks to J.M. for his courageous field work on our behalf.

But, honestly, J.M., you just won’t be in my taste-testing league . . . until you’ve bellied up to the Candwich.



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