|Congresswoman Chellie Pingree asks feds to ban 'pink slime' in school lunches|
Says students deserve better than beef product that contains ammonia
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree called on the Obama Administration to ban a processed beef product called "pink slime" from school lunches immediately.
"There is only one word for this product: gross," Pingree said. "It's a highly processed substance that is made from beef scraps, spun in a centrifuge and treated with ammonia. McDonald's and Burger King won't serve it in their restaurants and it doesn't belong in school cafeterias either."
Recently the U. S. Department of Agriculture authorized the purchase of 7 million pounds of the substance, called 'finely textured lean beef trimmings' by the beef industry, to be used in school lunches. A recent news report described the process for manufacturing the product this way:
Made by grinding together connective tissue and beef scraps normally destined for dog food and rendering, (the product) is then treated with ammonia hydroxide, a process that kills pathogens such as salmonella and E. coli.
The resulting pinkish substance is later blended into traditional ground beef and hamburger patties.
"The beef industry sent my office an email the other day describing pink slime as 'wholesome and nutritious' and said the process for manufacturing it is 'similar to separating milk from cream.' I don't think a highly processed slurry of meat scraps mixed with ammonia is what most families would think of as 'wholesome and nutritious,'" Pingree said.
In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today, Pingree urged the government to immediately end the use of the product in school lunches.
"It's wrong to feed children a slurry that was formerly only used for dog food. I hope you will do everything in your power to eliminate it from school lunch programsaround the country," Pingree wrote.