Beef Product Unfairly Slammed

I’m disappointed/dismayed/disgusted that boneless lean beef trimmings are being driven off the grocery shelves.  The result is likely to be higher priced hamburger, protein wasted that could be used for  human consumption, less innovation, several thousand people losing their jobs, and a bankrupt company.

I have read many articles and viewed many videos about the so called “pink slime.”   Here is what I found out.

  • Lean finely textured beef (LFTB) is the product unfairly nicknamed “pink slime.”  LFTB is muscle tissue that is separated from fat using a centrifuge process resulting in a product that is about 95 percent lean. The process changes the texture of the lean beef, resulting in a product similar to finely ground beef.
    • Ground or blended beef products carry a potential risk for food-borne pathogens because microbes, if present, are distributed through the product.  This makes them less likely to be killed during cooking compared with those on the surface of whole-muscle cuts. So, to make the products safer, the company uses a puff of ammonium hydroxide to kill microbes during processing.   Ammonium hydroxide is also used in a variety of other processed foods such as baked goods, gelatins, puddings, and cheeses, and it can occur naturally in foods.
  • There is no pink coloring added as the naturally occurring color comes from beef muscle tissue. LFTP appears more pink than regular ground beef because it has less fat in it.

Some people have recommended that ground beef with LFTB be labeled.  That would be fine with me.  I will be happy to pay less to buy a safe, lean product.

For more information:

Youtube from American Meat Institute

Video from Texas A and M

Opinion from Nancy Donley whose 6 year old son died from eating contaminated ground beef in 1993 on Food Safety News, a website produced by Marler Clark.  Marler Clark is the nation’s leading law firm with a practice dedicated to representing victims of foodborne illness.�

4 thoughts on “Beef Product Unfairly Slammed

  1. Thanks, Peggy! I was excited when HyVee reversed their decision to not sell LFTB. I, too, will happily buy the labeled product to support midwestern food production, processing and jobs. Thank you, to Iowa State Extension, for sharing the science-based truth about this product.

  2. I was very interesting to see this article. Like most people who have spent any time in from of the media over the last couple of months, I have seen several negatively sensational articles on “pink slime” and wondered about the other side to the story.

  3. The key to the problem is a long time issue… skilled workers in a processing plant. At the same time, one needs only to see the process first hand. The company pushes way too fast on the ‘line’. Using chemicals to ‘clean’ up poor managment is not the answer. One should tour the small organic/natural processing plants to see how it is safely done.

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