Pink slime is, depending on your outlook, either something disgusting slipped into your child’s lunch or a fanatical food fright born of 21st-century media.
The scare simmered for months on blogs and among food-safety activists, kindled a flame in stories advanced by News Corp.’s iPad-focused publication The Daily and by ABC News, and spread like wildfire across Twitter this week.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, the federal government’s food-safety watchdog, on Thursday said it would allow schools to keep what it calls “lean finely textured beef” out of their lunches. The agency, however, still gives the product its stamp of approval.
“USDA continues to affirm the safety for all consumers,” the inspection agency said in a release on Thursday, “and urges customers to consult science-based information on the safety and quality of this product.”
What critics call pink slime is meat harvested with 20-year-old technology that separates fat from beef scraps. The meat is then sprayed with a sanitizing mist and mixed in with hamburger. It’s made by two companies, Beef Products Inc. and Cargill Inc.
Although labels don’t mark its presence, it’s in about 70 percent of the ground beef products sold in the United States, from the cheeseburger at the corner diner to the package of ground beef at the grocery store.
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