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U.S. ‘pink slime’ factories shut down amid outcry

By Stephen C. Webster
Monday, March 26, 2012 13:43 EDT
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A young boy eats a hamburger. Photo: Shutterstock.com, all rights reserved.
 
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Three factories that made so-called “pink slime” beef filler have shut down since public outcry about the ammonia-treated substance began last month, The Associated Press reported Monday.

Beef Products Inc. spokesman Craig Letch told AP that only one factory in the country, located in Dakota Dunes, South Dakota, is still producing the stuff. Three others, in Texas, Iowa and Kansas, have reportedly been shut down.

The product, known as “lean, finely textured beef” to industry insiders, is comprised of connective tissue and other less-than-edible pieces of cows, which are mashed into a slimy, pink substance and treated with ammonia gas to kill off bacteria.

It is then added to ground beef as filler, to increase the product’s weight and, thereby, it’s price.

The goo was nicknamed “pink slime” by a U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) scientists who blew the whistle once regulators in the Bush Sr. administration began allowing it in the human food supply. It was previously only considered suitable for products like dog food.

A public outcry over its use began after the U.S. government was revealed to have purchased tons of the stuff for use in school lunches. Soon thereafter, USDA whistleblowers alleged that “pink slime” had become so prevalent that it existed in up to 70 percent of ground beef sold in the U.S.

Since the outcry began, several major fast food chains have said they would no longer use the meat filler in their food products, and the USDA has lifted rules that required schools to use it.

Photo: Shutterstock.com, all rights reserved.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
 
 
 
 
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