‘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.
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.