Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Pink Slime: The Sequel

I thought the best example that American culture had fallen to a dangerous low could be found in the contrast between Jaws and Sharknado. I was wrong. It's that fact that pink slime, like many other amorphous chemically enhanced pieces of flesh from dozens or horror film series can't be killed.

From Politico:
Kids are going back to school and so is the ground beef filler dubbed “pink slime.”
Thousands of schools across the U.S. rushed last year to stop feeding their students meat that contained the ammonia-treated beef, known by industry as lean finely textured beef. Their action followed a massive media uproar, which included a prime time show featuring British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and a series of critical reports by ABC World News.
But new government data show schools in four more states have since put aside concerns and resumed buying the controversial product.
As of Sept. 3, seven states put in orders to the USDA for about 2 million pounds of beef that may contain the controversial product for the meals they serve in the 2013-14 school year. At this time last year there were only three states — Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota — that had put in orders for beef that may contain lean finely textured beef.
As a quick reminder, pink slime may or may not actually be meat:
. . .lean finely textured beef is made from the remnant scraps of cattle carcasses that were once deemed too fatty to go into human food. The scraps are heated and centrifuged to reclaim bits of muscle and then the product is treated with ammonium hydroxide to kill bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli before being mixed into ground beef.
The offal "lean, finely, textured beef" is, however, cheap and therefore good enough for students:
Lean finely textured beef brings down the cost of ground beef by about 3 percent, which can add up quickly in a program that feeds more than 31 million school children each day.
Schools are under more financial pressure than ever before, thanks in part to the new school lunch nutrition standards that hit the ground last year, observes Margo Wootan, head of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Although schools can now get six cents more per lunch to help cover the cost of more fruits, vegetables and whole grains to meet new requirements, the increase doesn’t cover all the changes, she notes.
 Like the government officials in horror classics like Jaws, USDA assures consumers that their safety will not be compromised:
Lean finely textured beef is safe, asserts Al Almanza, administrator of USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.
“Isn’t that what we want - a safe product to feed our families?” he says.
If those assurances have the same integrity as the NSA proclamations that Americans' emails and phone records were not searched "wittingly," I expect mutations to begin soon. On a personal note, I hope the slime turns me into one of the X-Men not a zombie from World War Z. 

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