Friday, April 20, 2012

The truth about "pink slime"

Lean, finely-textured beef (LFTB) is the proper term for the beef product that has been referred to as "pink slime" in the media. It is beef, 100% beef, but in a finely textured version, sort of like baby food.

Making ground chevon
Not all beef can become a steak or roast. When meat cuts are trimmed to remove excess fat, some lean is also removed, resulting in beef trim that has a higher percentage of fat. It would take too much time with a knife to separate this product manually, so it is mechanically separated. During the process, a puff of ammonium hydroxide gas is applied to the beef.

The ammonium hydroxide increases the pH of the meat and creates an environment that does not allow pathogens to survive. Since the ammonium hydroxide evaporates, it is not considered a food additive. Ammonium hydroxide is used in the processing of many food products.

About 10 to 12 pounds of 94-97% lean beef is recovered from each carcass using this process. It is blended with other ground beef at a rate of not more than 15%. LFTB can be added to ground beef with a higher fat content to produce a leaner end product.

Editor's note:  the only thing consumer boycotts of this product will do is drive up already escalating food costs and take away more private sector jobs. Removing LFTB from ground beef will not make it safer.

Read article from MSU Extension

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