Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, April 2011
The extremely unappetizing phrase "pink slime" has come to the forefront of late. In case you haven't heard--or don't have the stomach (pun intended) to watch the video above--pink slime is the process by which some beef manufacturers have come up with to strip every last bit of beef and render it "fit" for human consumption by cleaning it with an ammonia solution and mincing it.The resulting product looks very much like its name and is added as a filler to hamburger and sold by fast food restaurants, grocery stores and school cafeterias everywhere. An estimated 70 percent of beef sold in the US had pink slime (also known by its official name "lean finely textured beef" or LFTB) in it.
That is, until recently. After the above episode of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution and a 2009 article in the New York Times, the public outcry over the usage of pink slime grew, leading the USDA to allow school districts more choices in their ground beef purchases. Soon, retailers also followed suit:
Wal-Mart has become the latest food retailer to announce that it's making changes after listening to customer concerns about LFTB.
"While the USDA and experts agree that it is safe and nutritious, Wal-Mart and Sam's Club will begin offering fresh ground beef that does not contain LFTB," writes Deisha Galberth Barnett, a Wal-Mart spokesperson, in a statement.
The announcement comes amid a flurry of similar announcements from other retailers this week.
So anything that leaves bits and pieces of waste and by-products including connective tissue, nerve tissue, cartilage, bone, and in a quarter of the samples, Sarcocystis parasites (yum!) out of the food our children eat is a good thing, right?
Not according to Fox News.
TV news loves a health scare. Think deadly Tylenol. Killer tomatoes. Mad Cow Disease. Alar in apples. And lots more. Sometimes, as with Tylenol, they are legit and important. Other times, like Alar, they are entirely bogus.
Yet every time, the template is the same. Someone gets sick and the ravenous media tear at the company or industry for not being safe.
This time, however, ABC News has turned that idea on its head in its usual quest for tabloid headlines. It’s going after a company, Beef Products, Inc., for making a product that's not only already safe, it's one we’ve all been eating for years.
But that hasn't stopped ABC and reporter Jim Avila. The network's news division has decided to declare open war on … beef. So far, they’re winning. In a series of 10 stories in just about two weeks, ABC has so demonized the company and its products that Safeway, SUPERVALU and Food Lion just stopped buying it. Ditto Kroger and Stop & Shop.
The meat, often called "lean finely textured beef, is made up of beef that is just harder to get at, so the meat isn’t lost. It’s treated to get rid of the fat and included with the rest of the ground beef. The USDA declares it healthy, but it is less expensive. As an added bonus, it is treated tiny amounts of ammonium hydroxide to make it safer to eat.
But network broadcasts and activist videos act as if this treatment is somehow bad.
For those of you keeping score at home, Fox News just defended the use of a filler ingredient, one with some pretty questionable ingredients, that enables beef producers to give you a lower quality product for the same amount of money. They think that ABC informing their viewers of this practice is a bad thing.
Why does Fox News hate informing viewers?