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Pink Slime: Same Old Story, Now With Beef

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Ten Years Later, Conventional Meat Producers Are Using the Same Tricks


Honestly, my first reaction to this story was confusion. I came back from vacation to read that carcasses were being thrown into a big centrifuge to collect the extra scraps of meat and connective tissue. The resulting gunk gets sprayed down with ammonia gas to kill the germs, and then slipped into sub-par, processed meat as cheap filler.

That’s funny, I thought. Google News shouldn’t be giving me stories this old  . . . It says the story is from 2012, but I know for a fact the McNuggets thing was settled ages ago.

Oh! This time it’s about beef. That explains it.

Those who have been following food news for a while now may remember that years ago, back when we still weren’t comfortable saying twenty-something to describe the year, the news first revealed what mechanically separated meat is made of. Although several kinds of meat go through this process, it was chicken that got the full brunt of the media’s attention, especially Chicken McNuggets, which were an easy target and familiar brand name to latch onto. In 2003, McDonald’s ”voluntarily” decided to start making its McNuggets out of actual white breast meat, instead of mechanically separated chicken meat which went through almost the exact same process as pink slime. That’s right, the original scandal was so bad, not even McDonald’s wanted to be associated with it. But that was almost ten years ago. What’s changed since then? What have we learned over the last decade?

Well, I guess Finely Textured Lean Beef Trimmings sounds a bit nicer than mechanically separated meat, so kudos, PR people. But first prize still goes to pink slime, a food additive name that won’t slip your mind without a fight. I’ll say this for the media, they really know how to coin a phrase.

We’ve learned that change is hard, and expensive, and given the choice between completely overhauling their techniques to create the higher quality product their customers expect and, er, not,  the meat industry will generally choose not. Instead, their policy seems to be to make a few small, appeasing steps, taking the offending product off a few shelves at a time, making some vague defenses and promises, and hoping that eventually the public will either give up, assume the problem is solved for good, or forget about it.

We’ve learned that most consumers will in fact give up and forget. The exact same picture that “shocked” and “outraged” people in the early 2000′s is shocking and outraging people all over again, and odds are that it probably will again in the year 2031.

Unless we take a firm stand. If we don’t do something to show that we take our food seriously, like investing in the superior ethics and quality of organics, the meat industry won’t ever learn. History will continue to repeat itself.

Topline Foods does not and has never offered products containing pink slime, meat glue or any other unnatural and distasteful ingredients! Shop online with confidence!

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