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The disgusting product you're inadvertently feeding your kids

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
March 8th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Kids who turn their noses up at the school lunch may actually have a good reason why. Despite every assurance that school lunches are as nutritious and healthy as possible for our kids, school cafeterias are serving beef that is made with infamous "pink slime."

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Pink slime is the leftover scraps from the butchering process. Scraps of carcass, connective tissues, and bits of flesh that have fallen to the floor are turned infallibly into pink slime. Commonly, these scraps are exposed to bacteria - so much so that it is treated with ammonia as standard procedure. This gives the slime a classic pink color and soft-serve like texture. 

This process may render the slime safely edible, but it does nothing for the notion of consuming it. 

Eventually, the chemical-laden product is shipped to the USDA which uses it as filler for ground beef. Some of that beef is sent to prisons where it is fed to convicts. But a good portion of it is also added to the very beef that comprises those school lunches you struggle to get your kids to eat. 

For the record, that's 7 million pounds of pink slime on an express route to your child's lunch tray. 

The controversy over this substance has recently erupted. Even McDonald's, Burger King, and Taco Bell have sworn off the product. 

Of course, using the filler makes the meat cheaper - by about 3 cents a pound. Think of the savings! In exchange for finely ground bits of beef scrap that may or may not have been on the slaughterhouse floor, were likely contaminated with bacteria, and sanitized with ammonia, -- YOU SAVE a whopping 3 cents a pound. 

Apparently, pink slime is entirely safe to consume. Pink slime may comprise up to 25 percent of a pound of ground beef. In fact, Americans have been consuming the product for over a century without any apparent ill effects - that we know of.

The ammonia is never listed as an ingredient because under the law and the way it is used, it is considered a "processing agent," not an ingredient.

From a practical perspective, it is unrealistic to expect people to consume nothing but locally produced, untreated, unprocessed foods - that's never going to happen in this modern era. In fact, processing gets a bad rap because it is associated with products such as pink slime. 

Most food processing is safe. Pink slime also appears to be entirely safe. The problem is that most people do not realize that it is a standard filler in the ground beef they consume. They also have no idea that it is being fed to their kids on a very regular basis. 

When someone buys a pound of beef, they expect to get a pound of meat taken from the parts of the animal that are traditionally consumed. Few people expect to consume the leavings from the butchering process. It's the dissonance between the expectation and the reality that everyone finds jarring. And in the case of pink slime, downright disgusting. 

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