What is "pink slim" related to red meat



ChefOno April 10, 2012
Thank you for that article. Three things caught my eye:

Depending upon whose figures you use, chicken has roughly the same naturally-occurring ammonia content as LFTB-enhanced beef.

And from the South Dakota Department of Agriculture, a typical bacon double cheeseburger:

• Bun ? 2 oz = 50 mg (440 ppm of ammonia)
• Bacon ? 1 oz = 16 mg (160 ppm ammonia)
• Condiments – 2 oz = 50 mg (400 ppm ammonia)
• Cheese – 1.5 oz = 76 mg (813 ppm ammonia)
• Beef – 3.2 oz = 40 mg (200 ppm ammonia)

Notice the bun has more ammonia than the LFTB-enhanced beef!

And, Paseo, if you're still there, notice SD Ag backs up the 1.5 million figure.


SKK April 10, 2012
I have really enjoyed this thread and have learned a lot. Came across another interesting article today from U. of Michigan. There are at least 10 foods listen with more ammonia than pink slime
Domestic bleu cheese topped the list with 0.138 grams of ammonia per 100 grams
Salami, 0.11 grams of ammonia per 100 grams.
Peanut butter, 0.049 grams per 100.
Mayonnaise, 0.041 grams per 100.
Ketchup, 0.035.
Gelatin, 0.034.
Onions, 0.027.
Potato chips, 0.024, though I imagine the brand and flavor would matter.
Brewer’s yeast, 0.022.
Margarine, 0.021
SKK April 10, 2012
Meant to say listen - not listen.
Greenstuff April 8, 2012
Thanks for the interesting discussion. Just one minor point--it's Marion Nestle (not Nesbitt). She has a new book out, "Why Calories Count: From Science to Politics." I've been trying to decide whether to read it.
ChefOno April 8, 2012

I'm a little curious as to why you set my name in quotes, Paseo, but thank you for the opportunity to expand on my statements. Unfortunately I wasn't exaggerating; the numbers are staggering.

According to industry figures, we consume 34 million cattle per year in this country. Prior to the current commotion, between 10 and 12 pounds of LFTB could be recovered from each cow (yes "cow" is a proper, albeit informal, term). According to Cargill, that's equivalent to 1.5 million cows per year. That's a lot of feed and other resources to raise, transport and process them. If the average animal weighs about 1,300 pounds and sells for $1.25 / pound (don't quibble if I'm off a few pounds or cents, I roast 'em for a living, I don't raise them), let's see… carry the one… two and half billion dollars. Per year. In direct costs.

If you believe in anthropogenic global warming, there's also the matter of an extra 6 million tons of carbon dioxide -- equivalent to well over a million additional cars on the road.

Who's going to be hurt worst? I mean aside from the thousand or so people who've lost their jobs or soon will. Not the people who buy 90% lean ground beef (where much of the LFTB is used). It'll be those who can least afford it. And don't care about details.

As for the ammonia freak-out, when you read that article in the lay paper, did it mention that if you were to go to the store and purchase ground beef without LFTB, it would contain about 125 ppm of ammonium ions, just naturally occurring? And if you bought hamburger that had LFTB blended in at a typical rate, it would register about 175 ppm?

paseo April 7, 2012
Accusations? I hardly think I accused the chef of anything but perhaps some hyperbole. I read the article in the Chronicle a week ago, and hardly came to the same conclusion of million and millions of steers (not cows) and billions of dollars. As someone who is fortunate enough to be able to raise and slaughter my own animals, I utilize considerably more than half their weight. So I question some of her facts as well. I am certainly not denigrating anyone's point of view.

Of course I have the final choice, if I am given the information in the first place.
paseo April 7, 2012
Please enlighten me, "ChefOno", and explain how being 'freaked out' about ammonia which I am not afraid of and use frequently, is going to cost the lives of millions upon millions of cows and billions of dollars to the economy. Perhaps dialing down the rhetoric (on both sides) would be helpful. To say nothing of better educated consumers - present company excluded.
SKK April 7, 2012
Hi Paseo, In my view you just dialed up the rhetoric by making accusations.

Recommend you read Marion Nesbitt's article
I learned a lot from this article, and also came away appreciative that I have a choice because I have been educated through the question Mandy M. posed originally.

All the points of view expressed in this thread are extremely useful and important to consider.

And you have the final choice.

pierino April 7, 2012
Once again I'm on the same page as Mr. Dashi and Chef Ono. From my childhood I remember Dreyer's ice cream adds that mocked a competitve brand by pointing out that it contained "carageenen", which is a natural and healthy product from seaweed. What do you think is in your nori sushi roll? And speaking of sushi, carageenen is far healthier than salmonella.
ChefOno April 6, 2012
Let's take that one step further and blame the general population for being too far removed from the food supply. If we all still farmed and hunted, we wouldn't be so squeamish about "processing". As it is, the vast majority prefer to know nothing about what is involved behind the supermarket displays. You can't really blame the industry for giving the consumer what they want.

Add to that an almost complete ignorance of science. So many people are so freaked out about "ammonia" it's going to cost the economy billions of dollars and millions upon millions of cows. All for nothing. Although I think labeling is the proper thing to do, I can't see how it would have done any good in this instance, not against the term "pink slime" when sensationalized by a major television network. Once again, the public has been led down an insane path.

Other examples abound: We've been brainwashed into believing preservatives are "harmful chemicals". Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) should be avoided like the plague, right? But another name for preservatives is anti-oxidants, today's "natural foods" darlings. You'll find BHT in the health food aisle, gobbled down by the very same people who shun it in their salad dressing. Can anyone explain that one to me?

usuba D. April 2, 2012
The real problem here is the food industry uses processing aids all the time . . . meat, seafood, veggies . . you get it. The public feels that they are being deceived because these processing aids are not on the label of the product when purchased. When the particular food segment is busted with this unlisted product, they get defensive and say the customer is stupid and doesn't get it. Until the food industry becomes transparent and stops practices that are deemed inappropriate by the consumer, then trust will be re-established. Proactive, pre-education of the public would be the best thing. The textured beef used in burgers may be perfectly fine . . it is the system put it there that is broken.
pierino April 2, 2012
I'll come down with the PhillipBrandon, ChefOno side of the discussion. "Pink Slime" is a pejorative term coined by a disgruntled former USDA worker to make it sound like something horrible out of Sinclair Lewis. My philosophy is that if an animal is going to die for your dinner you should be willing to eat the whole beast. I don't worry about it much because I grind my own meat from primal cuts. And I absolutely agree with ChefOno that if this is going into your little foam tray, neatly shrinkwrapped, at the supermarket it should be labled for what it is. Farm raised salmon now must be labled "color added".
ChefOno April 2, 2012
The only slime here is slimy reporting where sensation trumps substance. One person's "pink slime" is another man's sausage.

We've been eating the stuff for years, billions and billions of burgers, and nobody has ever gotten sick from it -- which is more than can be said about the rest of the ground beef supply.

Ammonia is used extensively throughout the food industry. If the word scares you (it shouldn't, it's a naturally-occurring chemical with GRAS status), think about the chlorine in your tap water and why it's necessary. Or the "natural" casing on a hot dog, where it comes from, and how it's processed.

That all said, I have yet to hear a rational argument as to why it shouldn't be labeled, allowing the consumer to make an informed choice just as mechanically separated poultry is labeled as such.
SKK April 2, 2012
Here is an informative and thought provoking article on pink slime by Marion Nesbitt
mainecook61 April 1, 2012
What's at issue is (1) the unpleasant sanitizing treatment needed to render these scraps suitable for human consumption and (2) the lack of proper labeling to indicate that "ground beef" contains a product that a consumer would not recognize. I don't think the use of scraps and odd bits is all that strange, since thrifty humans have been using every bit of the animal (sausage, head cheese, cold cuts, oxtails, etc.) for a long time. It's the industrial food use to which these scraps are put that is revolting. Bring back the local butcher shop.
angiegeyser April 1, 2012
I would personally avoid any "food" that needs to be treated with harsh chemicals in order to be deemed safe for human consumption.
bigpan April 1, 2012
The same method is used by a large chain to make their identically formed chicken nuggets.. The chicken carcass is blasted with water to remove the remaining bits of meat, fat, cartilage, etc, the put through a similar process and formed into cute pieces . Not pieces cut from solid chunks of breast meat. It's the dip that has the flavor, beit artificial.
ritagorra April 1, 2012
One of the reasons I buy my meat from a farmer I know is things like this. Common sense tells you that you can't buy good meat as in a burger, for 99 cents. It is all about the money until we are sick.
pristine S. April 7, 2012
I do the same. If any body is looking for the most high quality grass fed beef in NJ, I highly recommend Vacchiano Farms. I have literally been feasting on his grass fed lamb, beef, pork, chicken, and fresh farm eggs now for two years.

I don't even touch mass-produced meat which comes from who knows where. We visited his farm a couple of weeks ago and those animals have complete free run in big open pastures and the yolks on his eggs are a deep, dark yellow as they should be as they run free.

I would rather pay more for excellent quality meat and eat less meat if I have to just for the pure quality and deliciousness of his meat.

He sells his meat at several farmers markets in NJ. The one I go to is the Summit Farmers market which he is there for every Sunday starting May 15th. He also sells the most amazing vegetables as well.

SKK April 1, 2012
A couple of questions: do you want to eat something that has been treated with ammonia hydroxide? And looks like something you don't want to put in your mouth and feed your friends and family?

When you fix food do you think you need to add ammonia?



Voted the Best Reply!

PhillipBrandon April 1, 2012
"Pink slime" is a derogatory term given to a product called "lean finely textured beef". It involves removing the trimmings of beef from the bones of a cow once the usual cuts have been removed, grinding up those trimmings, and treating them to kill bacteria.
Proponents state this puts more of the meat from each cow into human consumption, but many people are uncomfortable with the process because to meet USDA guidelines, the meat must be treated with a gas called ammonia hydroxide to kill e.coli and other bacteria.
While whole cuts of beef are allowed to be shipped to commerce with e.coli on their surface, beef that is intended to be ground into chuck is held to a higher standard of sterilization, and so must be 'gassed'.
There are many, many articles out recently discussing this product. Discover Magazine has a good primer here: http://goo.gl/XuQdO which links to a vast array of credible articles who reasonably discuss the topic from both sides without resorting to fear-mongering.
angiegeyser March 31, 2012
Basically pink slime refers to ammonia washed meat scraps that are used as filler in ground beef. Yuck.
softpunk April 1, 2012
And the meat in "meat scraps" can only loosely be called meat.
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