Recently a Huffington Post article appeared about the government’s plan to serve “pink slime” in public school cafeterias. As outrageous as this news is, it also seems unbelievable. The government is planning to serve its own children seven million pounds of “pink slime?” It just doesn’t make sense.
What is “Pink Slime?”
“Pink Slime” is the lowest grade of meat deemed edible. Its origins are often remain unmentioned. So much so, that it’s difficult to specify exactly what part of the animal it comes from. One thing is for sure: it is pink and nasty. According to the article, “the product is a ground-up combination of beef scraps, cow connective tissues and other beef trimmings.” To further aggravate parents and healthy eating advocates, the miscellaneous mixture of animal scraps is also treated with ammonia to kill bacteria like salmonella and E. coli. It’s fair to say that parents will likely resort to using a grocery coupon as an alternative means to cut back on lunch costs for children as opposed to letting them consume such artificial “slime” at affordable school lunch prices.
As a good rule of thumb: if any food has such a high possibility of bacteria contamination that it needs to be treated with chemicals, it probably should not be served to anyone in the first place, let alone children.
Reaction to the “Slime”
It’s not much of a surprise that people are not reacting well to the idea of ammonia treated slime being fed to school age children. At the helm of such a stance is well-known chef Jamie Oliver. Such advocacy is not unusual for Oliver, who through his nationwide show Food Revolution has taken on similar food injustices as flavored milk served in public schools. Oliver even co-created a website titled StopPinkSlime.org to raise awareness about the poor quality and health risk of consuming such low grade meat. The website allows parents and other health advocates to sign a petition to stop the USDA from serving “pink slime” in our schools. It also allows site visitor to share facts through a twitter share tab and other social media tools.
Making a Difference
With the overwhelming public response to the “pink slime” problem, the manufacturer has shut down production at all but one beef scraping plant. Beef Products, Inc. didn’t have much of a choice as public and financial support of their chemically treated meat packing operation dwindled drastically after the Huffington Post article came out. Along with the publicity from Jamie Oliver, the company was facing harsh backlash. Such a reversal is an incredible testament to the power of passionate people taking a stand against wrongdoing. It also gives healthy food advocates, like Oliver, the confidence to continue with their crusade and take on the next battle of food injustice.