Schools Can Opt Out of 'Pink Slime,' USDA Says

An annoucement today will reveal schools can choose whether to buy the controversial LFTB

Parents in fear of the controversial "pink slime" may be able to breathe a sigh of relief. In an announcement anticipated today, the USDA says schools can choose whether to buy the lean finely textured beef for school meals.

Under the proposed change, schools can choose to buy either 95 percent lean beef patties made with "pink slime," or fattier beef without the filler, says the Washington Post. (Because of existing contracts, however, the change won't kick in immediately.) An anonymous source from the USDA says though the department believes the ammonia treatment is safe, it wanted to be transparent and provide schools with the choice.

It's a win for beef filler critics, whose campaign to ban the ammonia-treated meat scraps from schools has picked up speed in the last week. An online petition on, started by blogger Bettina Siegel, had more than 225,000 signatures as of Thursday morning. Plus, Google searches for "pink slime" have increased dramatically.

Why the sudden rally to arms? Siegel said the issue of children's school lunches became the cause for concern. She said, "This idea that children are passively sitting in a lunch room eating what the government sees fit to feed them and McDonald’s has chosen not to use it, but the government is still feeding it to them ... That really got my ire." (McDonald's stopped using the filler last year, but only recently announced its decision.)