"Pink slime" served up in school lunches
Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver whips up a batch of pink slime
It's enough to make Adam Sandler's song "Lunch Lady" sound like a utopian fantasy ("got no idea what the chicken pot pie is made of..."). Sadly, we do know what the hamburger patties served by the national school lunch program are made of, and it isn't pretty. A recent article from TheDaily.com reveals in stomach-turning detail how a substance dubbed "pink slime" by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver continues to be purchased and used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the national school lunch program, even after being shunned by such notoriously unchoosy establishments as McDonald's and Taco Bell. Finish your lunch, then read on to learn what your kids might be eating today.
Beef Products Inc.'s "Lean Beef Trimmings" are made by "grinding together connective tissue and beef scraps normally destined for dog food and rendering," then treating the resulting goo with ammonia hydroxide to kill salmonella and E. coli. This pinkish monstrosity is then blended into ground beef to form hamburger patties.
Food Safety Inspection Service microbiologist Gerald Zirnstein says, ""I have a 2-year-old son, and you better believe I don't want him eating pink slime when he starts going to school." Do you want your kids eating the stuff the microbiologist's kid isn't allowed near?
"It's more like Jell-O than hamburger," says retired microbiologist Carl Custer, a 35-year veteran of the Food Safety Inspection Service. "We originally called it soylent pink. We objected to it because it used connective tissues instead of muscle. It was simply not nutritionally equivalent [to ground beef]. My main objection was that it was not meat."
The USDA plans to buy 7 million pounds of pink slime from Beef Products Inc. in the coming months for the national school lunch program. If your stomach still feels sturdy, have a look at the video in which Jamie Oliver demonstrates the process of creating pink slime. Good luck out there, beef lovers.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Minneapolis & St. Paul dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.