Twenty years ago it would only have been used for dog-food. Since the 1990s it’s been in 70% of all processed beef products on the store shelf. ‘Pink Slime’ is the one that leaped off the production belt of secrecy and out into the limelight of public knowledge, thanks in no small part to TV chef, Jamie Oliver, who ‘outed’ ‘Pink Slime’ on a 2011 TV show.
What disgusted consumers the most was Oliver sloshing household bleach all over the stuff.
They’d probably be even more horrified if they realized ammonia is used extensively in the meat industry. How do they think those ‘oven-ready’ chickens remain un-putrified until they finally reach the supermarket shelves?
The answer is they’re stored in huge caverns filled with ammonia gas. Back in the mid-seventies, while training with the British RSPCA, I visited a poultry processing and storage plant. It was one of the largest in the country. I won’t mention the company’s name, but can assure you the processing was definitely not as ‘bootiful’ as the owner described his product on television. British readers will, no doubt, remember the relevant advertisement.
‘Pink slime’ is supposedly safe. It meets federal food safety standards. It’s only fault is it’s bloody disgusting.
Desperate to save their profits, the meat industry is fighting back with a new slogan: “Dude – it’s beef”. Wow! They’ve also called on failed Republican presidential nominee, Rick Perry, for assistance. He happily sampled the product and appeared to enjoy it.
The meat marketing companies knew it was disgusting, so they came up with the name, ‘Lean Finely Textured Beef’. That makes it sound quite appealing, and while it isn’t a lie, there can be no doubt of the obvious deception to the consumer.
It may be perfectly acceptable to describe a tin of ‘Lassie’ as ‘lean, meaty, chunks in a rich, taste-laden, gravy’ when the reality is a load of offal processed into lumps of gristle, but dogs aren’t too bothered what they eat so long as it tastes okay.
To treat human consumers as though they are no better than animals is an extreme insult, and a certain marketing disaster once the ‘pink slime’ hits the fan.
It’s sad that 850 employees have to lose their jobs because yet another food marketing scandal has come to light. Some folk appear to blame Jamie Oliver, or the media, but it’s not their fault.
No, the blame lies fairly and squarely on the shoulders of the meat processing industry. Deception will out, eventually.
We’re not their pets, we’re their customers, and it’s time they remembered that.