If you don’t believe anything can quickly change in the food industry, you might be surprised to learn a manufacturer of the ground-beef product called pink slime has filed for bankruptcy. The main cause was said to be extensive media coverage, which caused a dramatic drop in demand for the meat filler, which has been in many beef products on the market.
“Ongoing media attention has called into question the wholesomeness (of the meat) and dramatically reduced the demand for all ground beef products,” said AFA interim Chief Executive Officer Ron Allen, according to Bloomberg News. One of AFA’s competitors said it was scaling back production of the beef filler. It has been reported McDonald’s, Burger King and Taco Bell have all dropped it from their menu items.
Pink slime may still be in beef products sold at grocery stores. It has been estimated seventy percent of ground beef could contain the beef filler, which is a blend of connective tissue and muscle. One of the initial sparks of the pink slime media furor was over the USDA’s purchase of millions of pounds of the stuff for lunches at public schools.
The way it is processed has caused concern it could harbor pathogens, such as E. coli or Salmonella and other bacteria. The meat industry tries to decrease the risk of beef filler containing such microorganisms by treating it with a gas made of ammonium hydroxide. (Grist pointed out ammonium hydroxide is just one of chemicals used in meat processing, but consumers probably don’t know about.)
Pink slime has also been defended by some saying it it contains less fat than some other beef products. Iowa governor Terry Brandstad was one of the defenders: “It’s beef, but it’s leaner beef which is better for you. We take this off the market then we end up with a fatter product that’s going to cost more and is going to increase the obesity problem in this country.”
Image Credit: USDA/Public Domain