On Monday the Beef (by)products company AFA Foods announced that they were filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. For those of you not familiar with the King of Prussia, Pa. based AFA company, they are the manufacturer of the ground beef filler affectionately known as Pink Slime.

But what is Pink Slime? Well it all depends who you ask. One version has it as lean finely textured beef (LFTB), this sounds very harmless. It is just ground beef that has been through the grinder a bit more than usual and when added back into regular ground beef that will act as a natural binding agent. Well that is what it sounds like to me anyway.

However that first definition does not quite fit the facts. Wikipedia has this yummy sounding version:

It consists of finely ground beef scraps and connective tissue which have been mechanically removed from the fat. The recovered material is processed, heated, and treated with ammonia gas or citric acid to kill E. coli, salmonella, and other bacteria. It is finely ground, compressed into blocks and flash frozen for use in as a filler in beef products.

It goes on to explain:

The additive itself cannot legally be sold directly to consumers and is instead used as a filler that can constitute up to 15% of ground beef without additional labeling,

This of course begs the question, if Pink Slime is so good, why can’t we the consumer buy it directly?

The Chicago Trib had this article on the subject.

What I find delightful is that a Google search on the term Pink Slime has the (paid for) number one search result suggesting that the absolute best site is www.beefisbeef.com. This ‘helpful’ site starts with ‘Get The Facts On Lean Beef Trimmings’. The catchy phrase ‘Beef Is Beef’ is right out of the Corn Refiners Association ‘Sugar Is Sugar’. I think someone had a little too much Pink Slime at the three Martini lunch.

A spokesman for AFA offered these words of wisdom about their current financial woes:

the controversy over the ammonia-treated meat filler has dramatically reduced demand for all ground beef products.

No kidding! Who the hell wants ammonia in their food? It is fine in commercial cleaning products, but not so good as a table condiment. “Honey can you pass the salt, pepper and ammonia”, or “Honey these burgers are delicious, what did you do”, “Oh, well nothing special, other than give them a quick spray with the Windex”

Obviously I feel sorry for the people that find their jobs in jeopardy at AFA They did nothing wrong, but the king pins of the company deserve everything that they get.

Food and health author Mannie Barling had this to say:

Exposing pink slime was like knocking Humpy Dumpty off the wall.  All the industries men and all of the politicians cannot put Humpty Dumpty or Pink Slime products back together again. The public now knows the truth about the chemicals in pink slime and they will never accept this dangerous chemical filler again..

Pink Slime alas is just the tip of the food additive iceberg. The food industry has a unique ability of ‘repurposing’ stuff. Remember the egg recall? Half a billion eggs were recalled because of contamination. But, they were not destroyed. They were deemed unsafe for use at home, but big food managed to get an FDA pass to use them in baked goods! Go Figure!

I am sure that all that lovely stockpiled frozen Pink Slime will find a new home. Maybe with a new catchy phrase ‘You Won’t Believe Its Not Butter Beef’.

Simon Barrett

Mannie Barling and Ashley F. Brooks are the authors of the award winning books – Arthritis, Inflammation, Gout, Crohn’s, IBD and IBS (Books and Authors 2010 Best Books in the Health, Diet & Reference Categories); Mannie’s Diet and Enzyme Formula (Blogger News Net 2010 Best Health And Nutrition Book Award winner); It’s Not Your Fault; and The Food Revolution Papers  –  all available at HowToEliminatePain.com, Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and other booksellers around the world.

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