Disclaimer: This is a subject that is a little disturbing, well actually it is very disturbing. So if reading about weird meat makes you weak in the knees, best to stop reading now.
I saw this issue addressed for the first time last year while watching Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, and was recently asked by a twitter follower to write about it. The product is known as mechanically separated meat also known as pink slime. Here are the basics: after the desired cuts of meat have been broken down and sold, there are many leftover bits of meat that are considered useless. I’m talking bits of tendons, fat, blood, sinew, muscle tissues, bones, skin etc. Since those bits are full of bacteria, E. coli and other diseases they have to be cleaned with an ammonia solution. And since ammonia is quiet toxic and would taste horrible, artificial flavoring is then added to make it taste like meat again. Sounds appetizing? In huge factories, companies liquefy the trimmings and use a spinning centrifuge to separate the sinews and fats from the meat, leaving a mash that has been described as ‘pink slime.’ They add some artificial coloring and then freeze it into small squares and sell it as a low-cost additive to hamburger, hotdogs, bologna, sausages, chicken nuggets and more.
Issues beyond the obvious:
- Some people claim that this is a conscious consumption of meat because they are using the whole animal
- The USDA allows 15% of this filler to be used in school lunches
- This product in beef form, isn’t required to be labeled as an ingredient
Would you eat this? Oh wait you probably already do! Know your food, know where is comes from. Take a few minutes to watch these videos, it helps illustrate the process in a way that you can’t fully understand until you see it.