Following USDA’s announcement that it would permit school food programs to purchase beef not containing Lean Finely Textured Beef, a nation-wide dialogue erupted. Except the term Lean Finely Textured Beef has been replace with the term Pink Slime. In an effort to support the only manufacturer still producing the product, four state leaders have visited Beef Products, headquartered in Dakota Dunes, South Dakota.
On Monday the company said it is suspending operations at plants in Texas, Kansas and Iowa where it makes the low-cost beef ingredient from fatty bits of meat left over from other cuts.
The bits are heated and spun to remove most of the fat, and the lean mix then is compressed into blocks and exposed to ammonium hydroxide gas to kill bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella. The result is a product, which has been used for years and meets federal food safety standards, that is as much as 97 percent lean beef. Critics call the product an unappetizing example of industrialized food production and dub it “pink slime.”