Vast Majority Of Schools Involved In National Lunch Program Don’t Want Pink Slime In Their Beef

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]


Edit Your Comment

  1. deathbecomesme says:

    The “pink slime” is probably one of the healthier items on school menus.

    • evilpete says:

      Sadly I agree..

    • Blueskylaw says:

      In high school, we had this pink homemade salad dressing that we put on EVERYTHING (hamburgers, fries, hot dogs, salad, etc.) – it was that good. It had no name but we just called it the pink stuff and ladled it onto our food with wild abandon.

  2. crispyduck13 says:

    “it would offer schools the choice of beef free of the filler for the first time”
    “…but buys it from vendors who must meet meet the specification that ground beef can include no more than 15% of the stuff.”

    So which is it, 0% or less than 15%? Normally I don’t jump all over the author about grammar and such, but this is almost unreadable.

    “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.”


    • Southern says:

      I have no idea what “The USDA doesn’t buy lean the product” is supposed to mean. :(

      “vendors who must meet meet the specification”. Just in case MBQ sees this and wants to fix it.

    • Hartwig says:

      Even if a state opts in to having the “Pink Slime” added to their beef the USDA limits the vendors to only allow it up to 15%. The states which choose not to have it in their beef get 0%.

  3. maxamus2 says:

    I love our country. No one cares nor even researches anything but the moment MSM makes it headlines everywhere, everyone loves to jump on the bandwagon.

  4. Southern says:

    Call me crazy, but I just don’t understand all this commotion about “Pink Slime”.. From what I’ve read, it’s actually SAFER than the ground beef itself, because it’s treated with ammonia to kill any E.Coli or other harmful bacteria.. and regular ground beef is NOT.

    Seems the beef itself would be more dangerous than the (so called) “Slime”?

    • who? says:

      There are lots of things that are “safe to eat” that I still don’t want to eat. Crayons and Elmer’s Glue are safe to eat, too, but I wouldn’t want to eat them, either.

      • HomerSimpson says:

        You’ll EAT your soylent green and YOU’LL LIKE IT, DAMMIT!

      • Southern says:

        Glue is glue, though.. “Slime” is still 100% from the cow (fat, sinew, beef scraps, etc.)

        I think people are just too hung up on the name.

        But then I’m a transplanted country guy that grew up on things like hog head cheese (actually made from parts from a hogs head) and boudin.. Never could stand chitlins though.

        • dush says:

          Fat and sinew provide healthy nutrients for those growing children.
          They should grind in the tail and hoofs too.

        • JohnDeere says:

          amonia is not 100% beef.

          • Southern says:

            The ammonia used is a (food safe) gas, not a liquid though. It’s not really an “ingredient”.. Besides, your own body produces way more ammonia on its own.

            Besides, it might surprise you how many of the foods that you eat every day are treated with ammonia..

            Bread (including Wonder Bread).
            Cheese (including Velveeta).
            Chips Ahoy cookies.
            Chef Boyardee Mini Ravioli

            In fact, The World Health Organization has listed hundreds of food types that may be processed using ammonium hydroxide. These include dairy products, confections, fruits and vegetables, baked goods, breakfast cereals, eggs, fish, beverages such as sports drinks and beer, and meats.

            I really think it’s just the nomenclature “Slime” that gives people the willies.

    • waitetr says:

      I’d rather take my chance with eColi than ammonia treated meat. I can kill eColi by cooking it but I can’t guarantee I’m not ingesting ammonia that has bound itself to the meat during this process. The only reason it is treated with ammonia is because of the process in which it is made creates a perfect environment for eColi and other pathogens to flourish.

      Additionally you can further reduce your exposure to eColi by eating grass fed beef. Grass fed beef has been shown to carry significantly less eColi than it’s feedlot brethren.

    • Mark702 says:

      Its about not getting what you expected to pay for. If I sell you a car over the internet, and when it’s delivered, it’s a huge scrap metal box of a car that’s been through a crusher, you’d be pissed off right?

      You’d feel like you got ripped off. But you still got 100% of the car promised didn’t you? I even included the scraps and broken glass in a bag included in the trunk, so you still got the car you asked for, everything is just fine the right?

      • Southern says:

        Apples/Oranges. As long as there was full disclosure and I knew what I was buying, then yes.

        Many car ads disclose “Not running, for parts only”, or some such nomenclature.

        • Conformist138 says:

          Which is exactly the problem. There has never been disclosure about this stuff. It took everyone knowing about it for a demand for change to occur. It’s not fair to say “Well, we’ve been giving it to you secretly for years and you lived, so you clearly must be fine with it”

          There are all kinds of scary things on ingredients labels, so it seems suspicious that producers have resisted the idea of requiring LFTB being identified on labels.

          • Southern says:

            There are so many products out there though that are *exactly* the same thing, and you don’t see people raising (too much) of a fuss about them..

            Oscar Mayer Turkey Bologna contains “Mechanically separated Turkey”. Same thing.

            Spam contains “Mechanically separated Chicken”. Same thing.

            Same with Hot Dogs (even the “ALL BEEF”) ones. Even regular bologna (ALL BEEF, or Chicken, or Turkey, or whatever)..

            I think it’s more the Pink “SLIME” name that makes people go “EWWwwwwwWwww”.

            I mean who wants to eat *anything* with the word “Slime” in it’s (so called) “Name”?

            But “Mechanically Separated” sounds better. Even though it’s the exact. same. thing.

            • kmiles says:

              I’ve known since I was a kid that Spam and bologna and hotdogs are the icky bits of the cuts that no one wants. I’ve never been told until recently that my ground beef also contains those icky bits of cuts that no one wants. That’s the whole point – it was never disclosed that this is what they were doing and to what extent until now.

              • Southern says:

                That’s beside the point though, isn’t it?

                Yes, you know it’s there – so do I.. but schools still serve them. People still eat them.. They just don’t seem to have the stigma attached to them that “Pink Slime” does.

                Perhaps if someone were to coin the phrase “Pig Slime”, then people would probably be as up in arms about those products as they are about the beef one..

                • OutPastPluto says:

                  Plenty of people choose to avoid “mechanically separated chicken” and the nitrates that are added to keep that stuff from killing you.

                  SPAM has such a bad reputation that it’s universally used as an insult.

                • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

                  Not all people eat them. Even when I ate meat, I only bought meat from a place that butchers their own. I never ate bologna, hot dogs, or Spam. I know a lot of people who don’t either. They don’t want to be eating pink slime either. When you buy ground round, you expect ground round. Not ground round plus the yucky bits that are so bad that they won’t even let you know the product has it in there.

                  I am terribly sorry that you don’t like that people don’t want the stuff, but people have a right to buy what they want and not buy things they don’t want whether you agree with the premise or not. I could just not buy it becasue I don’t like the letter p in pink slime and that’s totally none of your business.

            • OutPastPluto says:

              SPAM is not ground beef. Neither is it ground turkey or pork.

              Also, it is actually labeled on the package.

              When I buy a can of potted meat product, I know exactly what I am getting.

              No. LYING about what is in the product is not OK. It’s also not OK to pretend that something is other than what it actually is.

              THIS is kind of attitude is precisely the kind of stupid nonsense that makes me think that only primals should be shipped to local markets. Let the local butcher cut it or grind it up. It’s the only way to keep corporations from running amok. Too many people are either totally apathetic or willing to actually defend their nonsense.

            • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

              I don’t eat any of that stuff, b/c it’s garbage. But, then again, I don’t eat any meat.

    • OutPastPluto says:

      This is just sad.

      We’re talking about a type of meat that has to be eaten mostly raw in order to be palatable and you’re talking about E Coli. E Coli should not be anywhere in this discussion.

      If you are expecting E Coli then you are doing something wrong. Sane food production practices need to be put in place rather than engaging in harsher remedies to cover up obviously dangerous practices.

      This stuff is a “filler” because no one would eat it otherwise: you included.

  5. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    I’m not 100% opposed to “pink slime”, but I want to see it clearly labeled on the package. If I’m paying $3.99 or more per pound, and it says 100% ground beef, I want to know if it’s made with actual ground up beef muscle or if it has processed added stuff in it.

    As an aside, I went to Sav-A-Lot a few months back, and they had a sign up for premade frozen hamburgers for $1.99/lb. Ingredients were beef, beef hearts, soy filler, etc. I didn’t buy them.

    • Southern says:

      Beef hearts are fine, but the soy filler is a non-beef product.. I’d have passed on that one too.

  6. Blueskylaw says:

    But the beef industry calls it lean finely textured beef, which
    sounds so healthy, unlike that nasty gas ammoniated pink slime.

  7. remusrm says:

    I guess someone does think of the children:-)

  8. Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

    Clueless soccer moms across the nation are rejoicing as they drive their kids to McDonald’s in their Escalades.