Reporting Stephanie Stahl
By Stephanie Stahl
It’s estimated that 50 to 70 percent of ground beef contains what’s become known as pink slime, ammonia used to kill bacteria. It’s been on the market for years. Federal health officials say it’s safe and used in millions of school lunches.
An online petition quickly gathered more than 220,000 signatures calling for the USDA to stop serving pink slime to students.
“There is no question I think that this petition has caught fire because I think all consumers are really unhappy that this stuff is in beef,” said Bettina Siegel, who started the petition.
The USDA, calling the meat in question lean, finely textured beef, says schools can now choose not to buy it.
“I think it’s great. I think we should have a choice,” said Carla Fynan, the clinical nutrition manager at Cooper University Hospital. She says the ammonia-treated beef is technically safe. She has a bigger issue with the low grade quality of the meat that’s made from scraps.
“I would probably say that it’s not a wholesome product, but it’s a safe product,” said Carla.
And there’s no labeling, no way to tell if the ground beef you’re buying or eating contains pink slime, unless you ask or buy organic.
We checked with Acme, they do sell the treated ground beef, but also carry untreated meat. No matter where you shop, you can ask employees in the meat department.
Also, the Philadelphia School District, which also serves the meat in their high schools, says it hasn’t taken a position on the issue yet.