McDonald’s, Burger King and Taco Bell have all announced that they are discontinuing the use of ammonium hydroxide, otherwise known as pink slime, in their beef.
Congratulations to Shannan Nelson, who created a Care2 petition demanding that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stop the use of pink slime in the U.S.A., and garnered over 10,000 signatures! The FDA apparently doesn’t care, but at least the big three fast-food giants are paying attention.
As I wrote here last year, pink slime is made from the fatty sweepings from the slaughterhouse floor, which are notoriously rife with pathogens like E. coli 0157 and antibiotic-resistant salmonella. Once swept up, the scraps are sent through a series of machines, which grinds them into a paste, separates out the fat, and laces the substance with a mixture of water and ammonia (ammonium hydroxide) to kill those pathogens.
Some Ammonium Hydroxide With Your Burger?
Sounds tasty, right?
Even worse, the USDA allows this ammonia-treated meat to enter the marketplace with no labeling requirement on the packaging to inform the consumer that the meat they are about to buy contains ammonia.
Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver can also claim the end of pink slime as one more victory in his food revolution.
Jamie Oliver Applauds
From National Post:
The Naked Chef had publicly denounced the use of the additive on his show, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. He questioned how the U.S. Food and Drug Administration could allow the compound to be used in foods.
On one episode of his show, Mr. Oliver said that beef producers take beef “trimmings” that would normally go to dog food and wash it with the compound until it is fit for human consumption.
“Imagine how happy an accountant is, you just turned dog food into what can potentially be your kids’ food,” he said on the episode.
Beef Products Inc. produces the beef for McDonald’s USA. On its website, the company said that ammonium hydroxide naturally occurs in most foods. The company claims that the use of it in processing beef results in a reduction in bacteria such as e-coli.
But Mr. Oliver campaigned against its use and argued that the U.S. Department of Agriculture should at least force the company to put the compound on the list of ingredients. He further claimed it can be found in 70% of beef in the United States.
McDonald’s Canada Uses Only Pure Beef
Karin Campbell, spokeswoman for McDonald’s Canada, said the additive had not been used in the burgers in Canada. According to Campbell, McDonald’s beef in Canada comes from Cargill beef producers, a different company from the one used in the United States. She said the only ingredients used in their burgers was 100% beef, salt and pepper.
Congratulations to Shannan Nelson, and thank you to all the Care2 members who signed her petition. Here’s to some healthier eating options!
Photo Credit: Vanessa Pike-Russell
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