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.
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