School districts across the country are snubbing the beef product known and loathed by many as “pink slime,” says the U.S Department of Agriculture. The USDA notes that the vast majority of states participating in its National School Lunch Program are ordering ground beef that doesn’t have the filler called “lean finely textured beef” by those who make it.
The Detroit Free Press says only Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota opted in to order ground beef that might contain the product.
The stuff has been used for decades and federal regulators say it’s safe to eat, but that didn’t stop a whirlwind of controversy over it earlier this year when we all started paying attention to its nickname, pink slime, and the process by which the meat is treated with ammonia to kill bacteria.
That controversy prompted the USDA to announce in March that it would offer schools the choice of beef free of the filler for the first time, for the 2012-2013 school year. At the same time, the USDA still maintains that lean finely textured beef is safe, affordable and nutritious.
The USDA doesn’t buy lean the product and send it to schools directly, but buys it from vendors who must meet meet the specification that ground beef can include no more than 15% of the stuff.
Previously in pink slime news: BPI To Permanently Shut Down Three Of Four Pink Slime Plants
Most U.S. school districts reject ‘pink slime’ for lunch programs [Detroit Free Press]