General

'Pink slime' vanquished from U.S. McDonald's burgers

"Fattty beef trimmings" and other animal byproducts will no longer be used by the chain

Walk into an American McDonald’s restaurant, and you’re going to have to deal with the burbling shame associated with eating greasy fast food and guzzling back pop in our age of health food fanaticism. But at least now, thanks largely to celebrity chef Jamie Oliver—the Naked Chef your mom has been raving about—you won’t have to worry about ingesting chemical soaked “pink slime.”

Don’t know what “pink slime” is? It’s what Oliver and other good food advocates like Food Safety News call the slurry of “fattty beef trimmings” and other animal byproducts that are mashed up for use in pet foods and, until recently, McDonald’s hamburgers. Because the “trimmings” are prone to go bad and spawn horrific bacteria like e. coli, the pink slime meat is paired with ammonia hydroxide, a chemical preservative typically found in household cleaning products.

Apparently, people have known about this for some time. In a 2002 email to colleagues, U.S. Department of Agriculture microbiologist Gerald Zirnstein said: “I do not consider the stuff to be ground beef, and I consider allowing it in ground beef to be a form of fraudulent labeling.”

The “pink slime” is made for American fast food chains by a company called Beef Products, Ltd. They didn’t have to label it as an ingredient because the chemical is considered a processing agent. In light of the bad press, Beef Products had a bad year, with sales dropping 25 per cent. And alongside McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Burger King also pulled the “pink slime” from their beef products recently.

But Canadians need not worry—at least when devouring their Big Macs. The Canadian branch of the fast food chain gets its beef from Cargill, which told the National Post their burgers are nothing but salt, pepper and beef.

Food Safety News

New York Times

National Post

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