Pink slime is a food product that’s been around for years. It cuts the cost and fat content of ground beef. It doesn’t change the nutritional value. It’s also safe. But that information isn’t getting out underneath the hysterical headlines.
ABC News and The Daily never would have ignited such a frenzy if they had not called the stuff “pink slime.” The accurate name is “lean finely trimmed beef,” which is sometimes treated with ammonia to ensure safety. But calling it LFTB doesn’t terrify you, so the media stuck with pink slime.
Wegmans, in announcing it’s pulling LFTB, referred to the “sensationalism” surrounding the product. Wegmans doesn’t even sell beef treated with ammonia, just the so-called “filler.” The company insists the product is safe, but it’s bowing to customer pressure.
Everyone’s upset cow scraps treated with ammonia are used in ground beef. I’ve probably eaten pink slime for many years. I’m still here! I’m glad my food is treated with chemicals to get rid of bacteria. I don’t buy organic for that reason. I’ve never, ever had a stomach ailment in my life.
I would have been just fine not knowing anything about pink slime. I also don’t want to know what’s in my hot dogs or chicken nuggets. I don’t want to know how many preservatives are in the cereal I ate for breakfast or how many bug bits were in the canned soup I had for lunch.
But since I’m a reporter and advocate for transparency, I agree with pink slime fighters that we need to hold the government accountable for what’s in our food. The dude who coined the term pink slime wasn’t even concerned it was bad stuff – he just thought it needed to be disclosed.
The problem I have with the pink slime debate is that it’s a manufactured issue designed to get ratings and web clicks. The amount of news coverage devoted to pink slime should be reserved for products that actually will kill me or when the United States goes to war.
I highly doubt the pink slime frenzy will transfer to other food products. Can you see mass hysteria over ammonia in our donuts? (Those are chemically-treated, too.) A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Pink slime by any other name wouldn’t have caused a ripple.