The "Pink Slime" Controversy

Everyone, it seems, has an opinion about lean finely textured beef. Editor Paul King is still on the fence, and wants to know what you think.

According to Nestle, using LFTB has several benefits. For example, it “recovers 10 to 12 [additional] pounds of edible lean beef from every animal and is said to save another 1.5 million animals from slaughter.” In her column, she went on to say that ground beef containing LFTB rarely, if ever, is found to be contaminated with E. coli.

The problem, she says, is not a health issue but a societal one: “Calling LFTB 'pink slime' presents a massive public relations problem. Human culture determines what is socially acceptable to eat. Most of us don’t eat the parts of animals our culture considers inedible. LFTB is not really slimy and it is reasonably safe and nutritious. But it violates cultural norms.”

This is not unique to current society, or even to the U.S. Every culture and every society throughout history has set down rules for social acceptability. The Jewish religion has several dietary laws, borne out of food safety issues, that non-Jews might consider quaint or outdated. But they are an indelible part of Jewish heritage.

There are foods our parents and grandparents, products of the Great Depression, would eat that many of us look at with disdain, and the same is true of foods from some “foreign” cultures.

Historians and anthropologists often remark on, and sometimes applaud, the ability of previous societies to make valuable use of parts of plants and animals that people in today’s world toss aside. Sometimes, this ability comes full circle. My father would gather the weeds we would scythe in the far reaches of our backyard and burn them. Today, a growing number of people are taking that "waste" and composting it—just as our ancestors once did. Doubtless there are old folks who look at "pink slime" and say, “what’s the problem?”

I don’t know what to make of the LFTB controversy. What should be the controlling factor, culture or cost? Have we overreacted to this issue? Have the media squelched all rational discussion by scandalizing a useful product with the pejorative “pink slime,” or have they done society a favor by exposing an offensive practice?

What do you think? We would love to hear from you. Please send your comments to me at pking@cspnet.com, or log onto our Facebook page and offer your opinion.

Keywords: 
purchasing

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

The Virginia Department of Health said it has traced a “cluster” of hepatitis A cases to frozen Egyptian strawberries used by Virginia units of a smoothie chain.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe voluntarily trashed the strawberries and switched to supplies from a different source immediately after being notified of the connection, the health department said in a statement issued Friday.

The department noted that it had traced earlier outbreaks of hepatitis A to strawberries imported from Egypt. But it warned that supplies may still be in the freezers of other foodservice operations...

Managing Your Business
business man smash computer

Foodservice directors spend a lot of time taking care of other people, whether it’s K-12 students who aren’t always eating enough at home, malnourished patients back for return visits or employees squabbling among themselves. That kind of pressure can weigh heavily—and come home from work. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America finds that 83% of men and 72% of women say stress at work carries over into their personal lives, and 50% call staff management their main culprit for workplace stress.

“Stress is very difficult in our world, and work-life balance is very much a...

Industry News & Opinion

Students at an Arkansas high school may have to take creative measures to get a meal, thanks to a school policy that prevents parents from dropping off lunches left at home.

The Catholic High School for Boys in Little Rock, Ark., last week posted a picture on Facebook of a sign that reads, “Stop. If you are dropping off your son’s forgotten lunch, books, homework, equipment, etc., please turn around and exit the building. Your son will learn to problem-solve in your absence.”

While social media opinions on the school’s rule were mixed, some commenters expressed concern that...

Industry News & Opinion

Novato Unified School District in Novato, Calif., has created a new vegetarian grab-and-go item as part of the district’s Meatless Monday initiative, marinij.com reports .

The Fiesta Rice and Bean Shaker, which is served in disposable cups, contains rice, corn, black beans, taco seasoning, corn tortilla chips and romaine lettuce topped with an optional salsa and ranch dressing. It’s also customizable, as students are able to select which ingredients they’d like to include.

The vegetarian shaker is made using produce from a nearby organic garden. Sofie Garcia, an employee in...

FSD Resources