Remember those photos that were circling a few years ago that showed factory workers separating what looked like a giant wad of pink, bubblegum-like stuff? It’s called pink slime “or lean, finely-textured beef,”—and is a mixture of beef “trimmings” (basically what everyone else doesn’t want to use), and ammonia to keep the meat fresh. And now it’s making a comeback.
Beef Products Inc., the company who was originally accused of making pink slime, is re-opening their manufacturing plant partly due to increasing prices of beef. During an investigation in 2012, ABC found out that 70 percent of meat distributors, including grocery stores and food chains were selling these re-packaged beef trimmings. McDonald’s and other fast food companies had since come out and pledged to not use pink slime in their meat products, and only use 100 percent real beef. As a result, Beef Products Inc. sued ABC for defamation, and the case is still in courts.
The company has said that their sales are slowly climbing again after the 2012 “pink slime-pocolypse,” and says that their product is safe for human consumption. We reached out to McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s to ask if they have begun using pink slime again, but have only heard back from Burger King, who said, "As part of its global supply chain policies, Burger King does not use Boneless Lean Beef Trimmings (BLBT) or beef treated with ammonium hydroxide wash, in any Burger King restaurants. The beef patties in our hamburger and Whopper sandwiches have been and continue to be made with 100 percent ground beef inspected and approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture."
McDonald's said similarly, "McDonald’s does not use so-called pink slime, also known as lean finely textured beef, anywhere on our menu. While we are aware that some retailers are offering lean finely textured beef, we have no plans to use it.”
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Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter@JoannaFantozzi