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.

I recently returned from a cruise to the Bahamas aboard the Norwegian Jewel. One of the downsides of the cruise was that the Jewel is a Nickelodeon-themed ship. This, combined with the trip’s proximity to spring break for some school districts, meant there were lots of kids on this ship, and plenty of talk about kids getting “slimed.”

As the parent of grown children, I don’t have a lot of experience with Nickelodeon or its “slime.” Apparently kids love getting this green gook dumped all over them and their parents, for the most part are fine with it too. Whatever tickles your fancy, I guess.

Back in the office, and throughout the foodservice industry, much of the conversation—both before I left and since I’ve returned—has been about another kind of “slime,” otherwise known as lean finely textured beef or LFTB. This “slime” is pink, and most parents don’t want their children anywhere near it.

LFTB consists of the final bits of useful byproduct from cow carcasses. The mixture is heated, whirled in a centrifuge to extract the fat and treated with ammonium hydroxide gas to kill harmful bacteria. LTFB is added to ground beef as a filler, both to reduce cost and—ironically—to make the beef healthier by making the beef safer to eat and reducing the fat content.

Marion Nestle, the highly respected New York University professor who has authored several books and myriad articles on food safety and nutrition, recently made “pink slime” the topic of her "Food Matters" column in the San Francisco Chronicle. Her take? LFTB solves a couple of problems but creates a public relations nightmare.

Keywords: 
purchasing

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

The University of New Mexico’s proposed on-campus taproom has officially been approved by the school’s Board of Regents.

Construction on the $650,000 student union taproom will begin this summer and is expected to finish in August when students return to campus. The school’s food vendor, Chartwells, and UNM’s Dining & Food Services department will split the cost of the taproom evenly.

Designed by students in the school’s architecture department, the space will feature a rotating selection of beer and wine, and will also welcome guest brewers. Chartwells will be...

Ideas and Innovation
cafeteria

Three years ago, Colonial School District in New Castle, Del., started a pilot supper program at its high school. The goal: To make sure the district’s students, 57% of whom are on free or reduced-priced meals, would not be hungry when school is done for the day.

Since its inception, the program has expanded to 12 schools and now provides afterschool meals to children participating in YMCA activities. And it's just one of many such programs popping up in districts throughout the country, as operators add supper to the list of daily meals they provide for students.

Building...
Ideas and Innovation
hydroponics

We put our hydroponic gardens in a spot where students can watch them grow, but at the same time it’s safe from being tampered with. At one of our elementary schools, the gardens are in the kitchen, but there’s a window where students can look in as they walk down the hallway. Some even stop to count how many cucumbers they see.

Ideas and Innovation
food snap

We started a 50-member vegan team in response to students expressing the need for more vegan options. Between our monthly meetings, students are asked to take photos of foods they eat in and out of the dining halls to give us a true picture of the kinds of things they like and the kinds of foods that cause disappointment. This exercise has sparked a lot of conversation and given us more insight into what we could do better.

FSD Resources