‘Pink Slime’ Contributes to Economic Decline


By D.C. Tworek, CPT, B.S. Human Nutrition

The controversy over ‘pink slime’ has grocers, restaurants and school districts scrambling to pull beef from their shelves and quickly find a replacement.

While Americans may believe that this uproar is warranted and can only be beneficial that could not be further from the truth, especially in an already declining economy.   Economic experts told USA Today that removal of the filler and the beef that will go unconsumed is the equivalent of losing 1.5 million head of cattle – in an economy when cattle are already in tight supply.

This means hamburger prices are going to rise – significantly.

Although red meat is not and should not be part of any healthy diet – it is still a part of American culture and a nice “treat” on occasion. Experts have stated that this product is not unsafe for consumers, in fact, beef products containing the “pink slime” are more commonly known as lean, finely textured beef and are 95 percent fat free and without toxins people are commonly concerned about, like E. coli.

People have lost their jobs over the pulling of this product – a storm that began on social media networks and escalated in a matter of days.

Donald W. Schaffner, director of the Center for Advanced Food Technology at Rutgers University told The New York Times, “I don’t see that there is a scientific or health benefit from the point of microbiology or even toxicology. The reason why it’s resonated with people is not so much that it’s unsafe, but the idea that we’re putting ammonia in our food is unpalatable to people.”

This filler has been in foods since the early 1990s and no one, until now, has even noticed or worried. The social media scare began thanks to a former USDA microbiologist, who coined the term ‘pink slime’ that rapidly went viral.  The continued depiction by the media continues to fuel public outrage and forcing layoffs and the closing of major beef manufacturing plants.


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  • Dear Cherie Mason (and correspondent Dani Cee!),

    I wanted to express how fascinating and extremely relevant I found your post on March 26, titled “‘Pink Slime’ Contributes to Economic Decline”.
    While researching the controversy, I found your blog post most relevant in relation to how a viral social media scare can have serious consequences to our economy. The loss of 1.5 million heads of cattle, in combination with rising fuel costs, droughts and the “lean, finely textured beef” flying off grocers’ shelves could hurt not only feed farmers (like hay and corn) and cattle ranchers, but consumers seeking a juicy burger at a local restaurant. The eradication of this beef product could create a steep price incline for carnivores and parents alike, as Beef Products Inc., (the world’s leading producer of lean beef processed from trimmings) supplies meat through the National School Lunch Program.
    What is most interesting to me is the creation of “pink slime”, which dates back 11 years ago when the USDA first endorsed using ammonia in their beef to rid the meat of bacteria like E. coli and salmonella. The use of ammonia in food is undoubtedly the reason for American’s sour taste, however, we naturally produce ammonia in normal metabolism (as does all mammals). We use ammonia in fertilizers, in pharmaceutical drugs and it naturally occurs in hundreds of foods like cheeses (American, beer and bleu for example), mayonnaise, onions, peanut butter and even potato chips.

    I wanted to share with you a video about the “pink slime” controversy that I think you will find interesting and supplemental to your coverage. I hope you enjoy it, as I included the link below.

    “Pink Slime Controversy Continues”

    The clip does a great job of concisely sourcing and compiling news reports to emphasize the scope and context the content being reported on. Newsy synthesizes and analyzes news into neutral comprehensive video clips showing a variety of opinions on the story.

    I hope you will embed this video into your blog and maybe in the future, we could swap blogroll links and widgets. We have covered the “pink slime” epidemic in the past, as well as a number of food stories you might find of interest. I included the links below!





    Thank you so much for your time and consideration. I look forward to working with you in the future,

    Lyndsey Garza
    Community for Newsy
    Twitter: @newsyvideos