The U.S. Department of Agriculture is continuing to buy the awful substance known as pink slime.
What is pink slime, you ask? Meat trimmings, connective tissue (and who-knows-what-else?) combined with ammonia steam and congealed into a filler product, to be added to ground beef to ward off pathogens. Mmmm-mmm, sounds a little like something I would never want to eat.
Yes, it would be laughable if it wasn't so serious.
This substance was the subject of a tough report in the New York Times by Michael Moss. Originally published in December, 2009 as 'Food Safety – Food Poisoning' (and updated in December, 2010). From that article:
The nickname emerged, Moss reports, from an internal 2002 email by a USDA microbiologist, who declared he found the practice of labeling the stuff as ground beef to be "fraudulent." But the real scandal uncovered by Moss was that "Lean Finely Textured Beef"—the USDA's preferred phrase for you-know-what—wasn't performing as advertised.
You might remember this is the junk (what's a stronger word? crap? poison?) that even McDonald's stopped using. Yet, here's the USDA buying an estimated 7 million pounds of the stuff.
Why? For the National School Lunch Program.
LUNCHES FOR SCHOOL KIDS!
Yes, the USDA picks up where McDonald's left off.
As reported in The Daily:
The USDA, which plans to buy 7 million pounds of Lean Beef Trimmings from BPI in the coming months for the national school lunch program, said in a statement that all of its ground beef purchases “meet the highest standard for food safety.” USDA officials also noted that the sole role of the food inspection service is to determine the overall safety of the nation’s food supply, not to make judgments on a product’s relative merits.
Wouldn't it be good to know how this decision was made? Who in the bowels of the USDA approved this purchase?
It's enough to make me crave the carrot sticks and PB&J sandwiches packed by my mom.
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