‘Pink slime’ reports are troubling and inaccurate, says AMI

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The American Meat Institute (AMI) has defended boneless lean beef trimmings (BLBT) as wholesome and nutritious, criticizing media reports that have described the product as ‘pink slime’.

BLBT has come in for vociferous criticism since former US Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientist Gerald Zirnstein told ABC News last week that 70% of ground beef sold in grocery stores contains ‘pink slime’ – and that he refuses to buy it.

AMI president J. Patrick Boyle said:“Boneless lean beef trimmings (BLBT) is a safe, wholesome and nutritious form of beef that is made by separating lean beef from fat….Some recent media reports created a troubling and inaccurate picture, particularly in their use of the colloquial term 'pink slime.'  …In reality, the BLBT production process simply removes fat and makes the remaining beef more lean and suited to a variety of beef products that satisfy consumers’ desire for leaner foods.”

In addition, Boyle said that BLBT is a sustainable product, because it recovers meat that would otherwise not be used, and defended the use of ammonia hydroxide gas to kill E. coli, as a “commonly used” process to destroy bacteria in many foods.

“Producing BLBT ensures that lean, nutritious, safe beef is not wasted in a world where red meat protein supplies are decreasing while global demand is increasing as population and income increases,”he said.

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Will Bettina Siegel be held responsible for her petition?

Posted by Colleen,

Pink Slime is a Complete Myth whipped into a social media slander frenzy by Bettina Siegel the blogger of “The Lunch Tray”. Will be interesting to follow who will be held responsible for spreading the lies and creating this historical social media chaos.
Top 8 Myths of “Pink Slime”
The media has been spreading a lot of myths about what “pink slime” is. The image spreading on the internet is not beef. Read more about the top 8 myths of pink slime below.
Myth 1:
Boneless lean beef trimmings look like pink slime.
The photo many media have used to represent pink slime is not boneless lean beef trimmings.
Boneless lean beef trimmings actually looks like hamburger. Because it is…100 percent lean beef…lean hamburger. (The pink stuff that looks like pink ice cream is actually processed chicken made by another company and has absolutely nothing to do with Lean Finely Textured Beef.) This is a total media hype scare and websites like The Lunch Tray…did not do their homework and created a social media frenzy. Research it for yourself.
Myth 2:
“Boneless lean beef trimmings” or “lean finely textured beef” which have recently been called “pink slime,” are just “fillers” and not beef at all.
As their real names suggest, boneless lean beef trimmings are 100% USDA inspected beef. Imagine trimming fat from a roast or steak. There’s always some meat that is trimmed with the fat. It is this meat, trimmed from the fat, which becomes boneless lean beef trimmings. When you compare the nutrition analysis of this lean beef with 90% lean/10% fat ground beef, they are virtually identical. That’s because boneless lean beef trim is beef – period.
Myth 3:
Ground beef produced with boneless lean beef trimmings is less nutritious than other ground beef.
A side-by-side comparison of nutrition labels for 90% lean/10% fat ground beef demonstrates this lean beef has substantially identical nutritional value as 90% lean ground beef. Lean ground beef is low in fat and is a good or excellent source of 10 essential nutrients, including protein, iron, zinc and B vitamins.
Myth 4:
Boneless lean beef trimmings are produced from inedible meat.
Boneless lean beef trimmings are 100% edible meat. These trimmings are simply the lean beef removed from the meat and fat that is trimmed away when beef is cut into steaks and roasts. The meat in these trimming is nearly impossible to separate with a knife so, historically, this product only could be used in cooked beef products when the fat was cooked and separated for tallow. But now there is a process that separates the fat from the fresh lean beef, and it is this fresh lean beef that can be used in ground meat foods like hamburger and sausages. No process exists that could somehow make an inedible meat edible.
Myth 5:
Dangerous chemicals are added to boneless lean beef trimmings.
This is a reference to ammonium hydroxide, essentially ammonia and water, both naturally occurring compounds that have been used to make foods safe since 1974, when the Food and Drug Administration declared it GRAS or Generally Recognized as Safe, the highest safety attribution the agency assigns to compounds. Boneless lean beef trimmings receive a puff of ammonia to eliminate bacteria safely and effectively. When combined with moisture naturally in beef, ammonium hydroxide is formed, which is a naturally occurring compound found in many foods, in our own bodies and the environment. Food safety experts and scientists agree it is an effective way to ensure safer ground beef.
Myth 6:
Food safety advocates are concerned about the safety of boneless lean beef trimmings.
Scientists, advocates and plaintiff’s lawyers, who in many cases are critical of the beef industry, have all stepped forward to praise Beef Products Inc. and its efforts at food safety.
Myth 7:
Because ammonium hydroxide is an ingredient, ground beef containing boneless lean beef trimmings should be labeled.
Ammonium hydroxide is not an ingredient added to the product – rather, the product receives a puff of ammonia to eliminate bacteria safely and effectively. When combined with moisture naturally in beef, ammonium hydroxide is formed, which is a naturally occurring compound found in many foods including baked goods, cheese, chocolate, and puddings, in our own bodies and the environment. It is used in the production of each of these foods as a processing aid and not an ingredient, so not “on the label” of those foods either. It is safe and has been approved by FDA since 1974 and specifically approved for its food safety benefits in beef processing since 2001
Myth 8:
Lean finely textured beef (LFTB) is “filler” for ground beef.
Many in the media have begun to describe Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB) as “filler” for ground beef. This is factually inaccurate. Meat fillers include cereals, legumes, vegetable, roots and tubers, and may not be used in anything carrying the term “ground beef” due to its standard of identity. On the other hand, LFTB is an end product made from boneless lean beef trimming, the very same beef that is processed into roasts and steaks for retailers and restaurants. These trimmings are simply small pieces of beef with fat attached.
The boneless lean beef trimmings become “finely textured” using high-technology food processing equipment that resembles a large, high-speed mixing bowl, in which they are warmed to help separate away the fat so that only the beef remains. The result is a high-quality beef product and is at least 90 percent lean.
LFTB is blended into ground beef, which is required by law to be made exclusively from beef. It has not been labeled as a separate ingredient because it is 100 percent beef. It is not an additive or filler. In fact, to label it as anything but beef would raise truth-in-labeling questions.

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if it's so great, then report LFTB on the label

Posted by Michelle,

It's fine if this person wishes to defend either the healthfulness of his product and the safety of the ammonia-bath it gets. If he's that confident, then put it on the label as an ingredient. Let consumers decide if they are comfortable eating this ingredient.

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More information would be useful.

Posted by Richard David Feinman,

AMI should provide more information for consumers and researchers like myself: feinman@mac.com

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