The beef product dubbed “pink slime” is on its way back into more school cafeterias this year, Politico reports.
The product, known by the industry as “lean finely textured beef,” hit the spotlight in 2012. Food politics writer Michele Simon wrote at the time:
“Through the weeks of media coverage we learned that pink slime,” wrote Civil Eats‘ Paula Crossfield, “is a regular ingredient in the hamburgers used in school lunches and in 70 percent of the ground beef sold in supermarkets.”
In the midst of the scandal, wrote nutritionist Andy Bellatti,
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Plummeting sales after the news coverage prompted Beef Products Inc. to file a defamation lawsuit targeting, among other, ABC News, anchor Diane Sawyer and ABC correspondent Jim Avila.
On Monday, however, Bill Tomson and Helena Bottemiller Evich reported in Politico an uptick in sales of “pink slime” for school meals:
Despite the “ick” factor of the product, Simon has pointed out that “pink slime is just one of many problems with industrialized meat,” while Crossfield noted that the controversy “has exposed how food safety falls inevitably through the cracks in a country where over 9 billion animals are being slaughtered per year and budgets for the departments that oversee these processes are being slashed.”
Tomson and Bottemiller Evich report using the “lean beef trimmings” brings the cost of ground beef down 3 percent, and “that as schools across the country grapple with tight budgets, some are changing their minds and accepting the lower-price alternative product that brings down the price of the food they serve.”