Why "Pink Slime" is a Bunch of Hype

Like most Americans, I was dismayed when I read the first reports about "pink slime." Meat washed in ammonia? Bone and cartilage mixed in? Beyond disgusting. But I'm so glad I did a little of my own research, because I soon learned much of what was reported about "pink slime" was inaccurate - just journalistic hype.
Washed in Ammonia?

My biggest concern with "pink slime" was the meat being "washed in ammonia." If you're like me, that made you picture ground beef being soaked in a vat of household ammonia. But the truth is, what's actually used is a tiny puff of ammonium hydroxide gas. Further, that gas is naturally occurring in our atmosphere! You'll also find it in rain water, the soil, and in your own body. It also occurs naturally in many foods, including cheese, tofu, and vegetables. (Those who are distrustful of the FDA may also take comfort in knowing that nearly every nation considers ammonium hydroxide gas safe, including the European Union.)

Covering Up E.Coli?Link
Some people are really turned off by the idea that the ammonium hydroxide gas is used to kill traces of e. coli and other harmful bacteria. Yet anyone who's ever been on a farm or gone hunting knows that natural meat has a tendency to have traces of e.coli. As the famous children's book notes, everyone poops. This is why it's so vital to cook our meat well.

"Bits and Pieces"

So-called "pink slime" does not have bone and cartilage in it - contrary to some reports. In fact, a machine whirls the meat around, casting off the fat and separating it from the meat. Bits of edible meat also fall off. These are added back to the beef. This has been common practice since the 1960s, according to Snopes.

Some folks are turned off by the idea of mixing up their meat, but this has been done for centuries. It's how sausage is made. And hot dogs. And lunch meat. And pressed ham. And - since who knows when - has been a common way to use up as much edible food as possible.


So-called "pink slime" is not a filler, as some in the media have reported. Filler in ground beef would have to be something other than beef. For example, many families commonly stretch their ground beef by adding chopped herbs and celery to it. That is filler.

Other Negatives

The only real negative I could discover about "pink slime" was this: That it may contain slightly less usable protein.


Do you feel duped by the news media? I sure did. And the sad fact is, their poor reporting has lead to the loss of thousands of jobs. Perhaps even worse, they took a meat plant that happily opened itself up to the media to show how safely food was handled and turned it into a business nightmare. A nightmare that will undoubtedly make other plants far less likely to be as open about their practices. And that's something to be concerned about.


  1. I LOVE THAT YOU POSTED THIS!! I couldn't agree more and have thought that since the beginning!

  2. THANK YOU! When that all came out, I studied on it and determined (as you say) it was just hype. But, it's hard to stop a bandwagon...Mrs. H

  3. The E.coli found is a strain called E. Coli 0157:h7. This strain of E.Coli is acid and antibiotic resistant. It is not natural occuring, but a mutated strain resulting from us feeding corn to cattle, which were born to eat grass. Everything done to the meat is to reduce the cost of production initiated by the multinational corporations for reduced production cost, which leads to more profit. The only reason cattle is being fed corn is because the corn industry is heavily subsidized and the corporations can by corn even cheaper than the production rate. The farmers are essentially paid to over produce. And do you really understand the meat industry today? How things are done, do you know that the USDA has no authority to shut down meat plants even if they are repeatedly tested to have meat contaminated with salmonella or E.coli. Also, the E.coli is not only in beef, but in spinach, apple juice and other foods where is doesn't belong due to the runoffs from the large feedlots. When people become complacent, they are ignorant to even the most obvious dangers.