Media hype has created another wave of hysteria among American consumers. The latest rumor targets beef, with journalists accusing food chains like McDonald’s of using "pink slime" in their hamburger patties.
ABC News reported on this topic, spurring a frenzy of related articles, blogs, tweets and Facebook posts all related to the scary ground beef debacle. Here's an excerpt:
“Gerald Zirnstein grinds his own hamburger these days. Why? Because this former USDA scientist and, now, whistleblower, knows that 70% of the ground beef we buy at the supermarket contains something he calls ‘pink slime.’ Pink slime is beef trimmings. Once only used in dog food and cooking oil, the trimmings are now sprayed with ammonia so they are safe to eat and added to most ground beef as a cheaper filler.”
However, beef experts are working hard to keep the rumor mill from scaring consumers from enjoying a great-tasting burger. Last week, beef supplier Beef Products Inc. (BPI), and the American Meat Institute (AMI) shared the facts about beef.
BPI has launched an educational consumer-friendly website called, “Pink Slime Is A Myth,” which aims to debunk the myths spread by the sensational coverage.
Meanwhile, AMI explains the science behind it all, stressing the safety and wholesomeness of ground beef and its production. Here is part of a statement.
“Boneless lean beef trimmings (BLBT) is a safe, wholesome and nutritious form of beef that is made by separating lean beef from fat. To make the product, beef companies use beef trimmings, the small cuts of beef that remain when larger cuts are trimmed down.
“These trimmings are USDA-inspected, wholesome cuts of beef that contain both fat and lean and are nearly impossible to separate using a knife. When these trimmings are processed, the process separates the fat away and the end result is nutritious, lean beef. It’s a process similar to separating cream from milk.
“One process uses food grade ammonium hydroxide gas, something commonly used in the production of many foods, to destroy bacteria. Whatever process is used, it is all done under the watchful eye of USDA inspectors and according to strict federal rules. Lean finely textured beef is blended into foods like ground beef. Producing BLBT ensures that lean, nutritious, safe beef is not wasted in a world where red meat protein supplies are decreasing while global demand is increasing as population and income increases.
“Some recent media reports created a troubling and inaccurate picture, particularly in their use of the colloquial term 'pink slime.' The fact is, BLBT is beef. The beef trimmings that are used to make BLBT are absolutely edible. In fact, no process can somehow make an inedible meat edible; it’s impossible. In reality, the BLBT production process simply removes fat and makes the remaining beef more lean and suited to a variety of beef products that satisfy consumers’ desire for leaner foods.”
Please, help spread the word about the safety and wholesome of ground beef. Consumers should be able to enjoy America’s favorite protein without feeling scared, worried or guilty about it.