"In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

70% Of Ground Beef Contains Ammonia-Soaked “Pink Slime”; USDA Bought 7 Million Pounds For School Lunches

In Uncategorized on March 13, 2012 at 7:30 pm

Oldspeak:“So the stuff that the Ghostbusters struggled to contain is in ground beef, that’s being served to kids in copious amounts, despite the fact that there are no significant cost savings from adding it to meat. Why? Big Agra has so thoroughly corrupted and captured its toothless regulatory agency that the agency is buying demonstrably dangerous food additives that  facilitate Big Agra’s dangerous and toxic industrial scale food production methods.”There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” –Nelson Mandela

Is Red Meat – Or FAKE Meat – Killing Us?

Safety of Beef Processing Method Is Questioned

By Washington’s Blog:

ABC news notes:

“Pink slime,” a cheap meat filler, is in 70 percent of the ground beef sold at supermarkets and up to 25 percent of each American hamburger patty, by some estimates.

The USDA just bought 7 million pounds of pink slime to add to school lunches (up from 5.5 million pounds in 2009).

Jamie Oliver gave a must-watch demonstration on the subject a year ago:

But at least we know where the real meat part of ground beef comes from … right?

Nope … the World Trade Organization struck down American laws requiring labeling of beef to disclose the country of origin:

But at least beef is being tested for horrible diseases like mad cow disease, right?

Negatory: the government does very little testing … and prohibits private citizens such as ranchers or meat packers from testing it themselves.

What Should We Do?

So what’s the answer?

You could buy a pot roast or another cut of meat and grind it yourself. That way, you’ll be sure there’s nothing but real meat. (Talk to the butcher in your grocery store’s meat department; he’ll help you buy the right cut.)

Or you could buy grass-fed beef. Organic, grass-fed usually contains no pink slime.

And all grass-fed beef – organic or not – has a much lower risk for mad cow than other types of beef.


Because mad cow disease is most commonly caused by feeding animal products to cows. For example, Wikipedia notes:

A British inquiry into BSE [the scientific abbreviation for mad cow] concluded that the [disease] was caused by cattle, who are normally herbivores, being fed the remains of other cattle in the form of meat and bone meal (MBM), which caused the infectious agent to spread.

If they are fed grass – their natural food – they are much less likely to get sick.

Stores like Trader Joe’s label grass fed, so it is easy to find.

Grass-fed beef also contains more Omega 3s than beef from cows fed corn, meat or other “modern” feeds. See this and this.

Why is this important? Because eating Omega 3 rich foods can increase gray matter in adults and boost neurological development in children. Conversely, low dietary levels of Omega 3s in mothers can reduce their kids’ IQ. (This is not entirely surprising, given that (1) our brains are about 60% fat, and (2) leading nutritionists say that humans evolved to consume alot of Omega 3 fatty acids in the wild game and fish which they ate (more), and that a low Omega 3 diet is a very new trend within the last 100 years or so).

And if you think that asking for organic beef is a counterculture hippy thing, note that Ronald Reagan insisted on organic meat.

Partners In Slime: Feds Keep Buying Ammonia-Treated Ground Beef For School Lunches

By David Knowles:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s continued purchase of so-called pink slime for school lunches makes no sense, according to two former microbiologists at the Food Safety Inspection Service.

“I have a 2-year-old son,” microbiologist Gerald Zirnstein told The Daily. “And you better believe I don’t want him eating pink slime when he starts going to school.”

It was Zirnstein who first coined the term “pink slime” after touring a Beef Products Inc. production facility in 2002 as part of an investigation into salmonella contamination in packaged ground beef. In an email to his colleagues shortly after the visit, Zirnstein said he did not “consider the stuff to be ground beef.”

Made by grinding together connective tissue and beef scraps normally destined for dog food and rendering, BPI’s Lean Beef Trimmings are then treated with ammonia hydroxide, a process that kills pathogens such as salmonella and E. coli.

The resulting pinkish substance is later blended into traditional ground beef and hamburger patties.

For retired microbiologist Carl Custer, a 35-year veteran of the Food Safety Inspection Service, the idea of mixing in BPI’s Lean Beef Trimmings into more nutritious, pure ground beef was itself problematic.

“We originally called it soylent pink,” Custer told The Daily. “We looked at the product and 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.”

Custer said he first encountered the product — which gained fame recently as “pink slime” in part due to the efforts of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver — back in the late 1990s. Despite voicing his concerns to other officials at the food inspection service, however, the USDA ruled that Lean Beef Trimmings were safe. “The word in the office was that undersecretary JoAnn Smith pushed it through, and that was that,” Custer said.

Appointed by President George H.W. Bush in 1989, Smith had deep ties with the beef industry, serving as president of both the Florida Cattlemen’s Association and the of the National Cattlemen’s Association.

“Scientists in D.C. were pressured to approve this stuff with minimal safety approval,” Zirnstein said.

A baseline study conducted by Zirstein and Custer classified the trimmings as a “high risk product.” Zirnstein says the food inspection service ignored their findings, and commissioned a separate study to assess the safety of BPI’s meat.

The USDA, which plans to buy 7 million pounds of Lean Beef Trimmings from BPI in the coming months for the national school lunch program, said in a statement that all of its ground beef purchases “meet the highest standard for food safety.” USDA officials also noted that the sole role of the food inspection service is to determine the overall safety of the nation’s food supply, not to make judgments on a product’s relative merits.

But Zirnstein and Custer say that the USDA now finds itself in the odd position of purchasing a product that has recently been dropped by fast-food giants McDonald’s, Burger King and Taco Bell.

“My objection with having it in the schools is that it’s not meat,” Custer said.

In 2005, the USDA limited the amount of ammonia-treated Lean Beef Trimmings in a serving of ground beef to 15 percent, but lax labeling requirements mean that it is virtually impossible as a consumer — and for parents of children at a schools where “pink slime” is a part of lunch — to know whether a given package of ground beef or hamburger patty contains it.

“The USDA-AMS [Agricultural Marketing Service] does allow for the inclusion of BPI Boneless Lean Beef in the ground beef they procure for all their federal food programs and, according to federal labeling requirements, it is not a raw material that is uniquely labeled,” Amy Bell, spokeswoman for the California Department of Education Food Distribution Program, told The Daily in an email. “Accordingly, there is no way to tell from simply looking at a package of finished product if BPI Boneless Lean Beef is in the product mix.”

Last year, the USDA said that 6.5 percent of the beef it purchased for the national school lunch program came from BPI.

In part, it’s the lack of clear labeling that rankles both Zirnstein and Custer.

“It’s more like Jell-O than hamburger, plus it’s treated with ammonia, an additive that is not declared anywhere,” Custer said.

“They’ve taken a processed product, without labeling it, and added it to raw ground beef,” Zirnstein said. “Science is the truth, and pink slime at this point in time is a fraudulent lie.”

Neither BPI, nor Smith, who now serves on the board of directors at Tyson Foods, responded to The Daily’s request for comment on this story.




  1. “Pink slime”, as it’s called, is not slime, it’s mechanically-separated, finely ground beef. It’s content is 95% lean, which is leaner than nearly anything you can buy off the shelves. Is it objectionable that what is ground beef to begin with is added to more ground beef? Furthermore, the ammonium-hydroxide solution in question is not the same ammonia that you have at home as a household cleaner (which has a number of other harmful chemicals mixed in with it). It is a solution that has been approved for use by the FDA for about two decades, and has been almost entirely diluted with water. Ground beef hasn’t been soaked in this solution, it’s only been lightly sprayed. If you object to it’s use, ground beef shouldn’t be your only concern: the same solution is used in chocolates, puddings, caramels, cheeses, gelatins, and baked goods. I trust more in the presence of a food-safe chemical than an elevated chance of the presence of salmonella, even if slightly.

    Research is better than a knee-jerk reaction to sensationalism. Don’t be a fool.

    • LOL. Yes, a tasty mixture of connective tissue, chemicals, growth hormones, anti-biotics, and scraps destined for dog food, designated as a ‘high risk product’ by food chemists = ground beef. Leaving aside the fact that the cows (that happen to be herbivores) are fed the remains of other cows bones and meat. I certainly object to its use (and the use of any chemical additives in general) and the use of industrial scale food processing methods which coincidentally creates the conditions for the use of germ killing chemicals to become necessary in the first place. If the cows were allowed to move around cage free, grass fed, slaughtered in an ecologically friendly and humane way, there would be no need to add chemical-tinged filler now would there? Folks have been doing that for millennia, chemical free. However, there’s more profit in making factory farmed chemically anti-biotic and hormone treated shit tho, so as long as Big Agra is running things, pink slime for everyone! And you really don’t believe FDA approval actually = safety do you? Ah the illusion of safety is a powerful thing my friend. FDA and USDA, as most all government regulatory agencies have been captured and are controlled by the industries they’re supposed to be regulating, so they approve whatever shit they’re instructed to approve. So no, I’m not being a fool or reacting in a knee jerk fashion thanks. This is a symptom of a much larger larger problem with food production in this country.

      • I like your use of the term “food chemists”. You call them food chemists even though they no longer work for the USDA, and there are two of them, which justifies plural usage. I also like your description of this product, very graphic. You mention non-meat products that somehow become edible as part of this process. Fun fact: no amount of processing something inedible makes it edible. And hormones! Oh no, not something that my body produces naturally, and is present in all beef anyway! Tell me more! The estrogen added to beef cows to promote growth makes almost no difference in the final product (the difference in beef without added hormones to beef with it is comparable to 10 parts per 10^20 to 11 parts per 10^20, big whoop). Seriously, I hope my food gives me boners.

        Look, I’m not saying that beef in any form is entirely safe. I’ve experienced illness from food poisoning before, and it was hell. Still, I insist on having meat on my table. And when I do, I’ll take my chances with the chemicals that kill salmonella than any chance that the disease may be present in anything I eat. Nevertheless, when you argued against my point that the food-grade ammonium hydroxide is used in numerous foods that are not ground beef– Oh hold on, you avoided addressing the assertion I spent most of my comment on. My mistake.

        Do you really mean to imply that humanity never had a large-scale concern of food-borne illness from meat products at all throughout our entire history of agriculture before the advent of sophisticated production? What a gigantic appeal to ignorance. Even if there were fewer cases of food-borne illnesses from meat in the past, how would this be controlled for decreased population? And the fact that throughout most of human history, most people rarely ate meat outside of special occasions, unlike these days, with most of us insisting on eating meat every single day? And that any institution that recorded instances of food poisoning was never available to the common people throughout nearly the entirety of mankind’s existence?

        If you don’t trust the FDA and the USDA, I challenge you to avoid all food products that they’ve approved. We’ll see whose path is more fraught with food-borne illness. As for me, I’m not tricking myself into thinking that anything that I eat is entirely safe. And in any case, I’m going to take any ABC News segment as an invitation to do some research, and not take their word for it. The same goes for the rest of the press. That’s how you make an informed decision. You can do as you please, I could care less. Have fun being a news blogger.

      • I’m pretty sure the food chemists at the fast food makers and supermarket chains that have banned its use agree with the 2 mentioned in the article. And you can’t be making the assertion that edibility = good for you, can you? GM foods are edible. AAANNND they give you cancer, infertility, diabetes, allergies, heart disease, dna damage etc etc etc, the list of deleterious effects is not short. And you can’t be equating naturally produced hormones and estrogen with fake estrogen & hormone mimicking, endocrine disrupting artificial compounds than cause a whole host of health problems right? I mean really dude. Do you work for Monsanto, ADM or Cargill or something?

        Look, I have no problem with meat. I’d just like to eat meat, not meat with toxic and artificial additives that make will make me sick in a variety of ways. And that goes for everything I eat, just in general, I try not to eat stuff that I know will make me sick. I don’t need ammonium hydroxide spritzed on my food thanks. Yes, agreed, ammonium hydroxide is added to chocolates, puddings, caramels, cheeses, gelatins, and baked goods… Doesn’t make them good for you to eat. Those foods can and are produced without ammonium hydroxide and other other unnecessary chemical additives. I prefer my food that way.

        No I did not mean to imply that. Clearly, food-borne illness has been with us as long as there’s been food. But it hasn’t happened on this scale, and as regularly as to necessitate our perpetually shooting our food full of anti-biotics to keep it from killing us. (Which actually ends up killing us in other ways by spawning anti-biotic resistant super bugs and reducing our ability to fight disease on our own) I think it’s less about controlling for decreased population and more about the problems inherent in industrial scale food production systems which have spawned health and environmental problems that need to be controlled. If our food production was localized, we’d have less need for anti-biotic and artificial additives. Agreed, people ate a lot less meat in the past, lessening their exposure to animal borne disease.

        No I don’t trust the FDA or USDA. They’re not acting in the interests of the people. Anyone paying attention can see that. They’re wholy-owned subsidiaries of the Corporatocracy. They regularly approved products that are DEMONSTRABLY HARMFUL to our health. I eat washed, locally grown organic fruits and vegetable most of the time. My path is not fraught with food borne illness. That I know of. LOL. I’m not fooling myself into thinking everything I eat is entirely safe either. I definitely DO NOT take anything Corporate news outlets say as fact, before doing research, and endeavour to make informed decisions. Thanks for wishing me fun, I’m thoroughly enjoying it! Carry on caring less! (As evidenced by your snarky responses) 😀

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