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Social Media Opposition to “Pink Slime” Filler Product in School Lunches Results in Menu Change

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A social media campaign expressing outrage at the use of a ground beef filler product termed “pink slime” by its detractors has resulted in changes to the content of some lunches involved in the national school lunch program.

The ammonia-treated product which is used in order to stretch the quantity of lean ground beef in the school lunches has actually been on the market for years.

According to regulations, it does not need to be included on a list of ingredients. However, a petition circulated through social media has highlighted the issue of providing wholesome food to school children. More than 225,000 signatures against the use of “pink slime” has resulted in school districts being given the choice whether or not to use it.

The ground beef filler is made from fatty pieces of meat that remain from other leaner cuts. The low-cost product is heated and spun in order to remove most of the fat. It is then compressed into blocks that are used in ground beef. The product is exposed to a puff of ammonium hydroxide gas to kill bacteria.

Once existing contracts have been satisfied, schools involved in the national school lunch program will be given the choice of either using 95 percent lean beef patties (including the product) or serving the kids less lean bulk ground beef.

Many people who signed the petition against “pink slime” believe this isn’t going far enough, and would like to see the product banned from all school lunches. Some are finding it difficult to trust the Agriculture Department’s claim that the ground beef filler is okay, since the hamburger chain MacDonald’s has stopped using it.

However, industry experts stress that the product is safe, and believe that the issue has more to do with people’s perception of the product. It is estimated that “pink slime” can be found in at least half of all the ground beef available in the US.

Source: Global News