The decision made by McDonald's, Burger King, and Taco Bell to stop using ammonia-treated meat has not phased the USDA one bit—the department plans to buy 7 million pounds of the so-called "pink slime" in the coming months for the nation's school lunch program. The infamous Lean Beef Trimmings, made by Beef Products Inc. [BPI], are treated with ammonia hydroxide, which the company adds to kill salmonella and E. coli. The otherwise inedible scrap meat is then blended into ground beef and hamburger patties and served to children. Everybody knows they need five pounds of slime a day to grow up into healthy American adults.
"We originally called it soylent pink,” microbiologist Carl Custer, who worked at the Food Safety Inspection Service for 35 years, tells The Daily. "We looked at the product and we objected to it because it used connective tissues instead of muscle. It was simply not nutritionally equivalent [to ground beef]. My main objection was that it was not meat."
The Daily has been all over this pink slime, and today's article notes that in the late '90s the USDA overruled microbiologists' objections to the substance and deemed it safe. "The word in the office was that undersecretary JoAnn Smith pushed it through, and that was that,” Custer tells The Daily, which reports that before joining the USDA, Smith "had deep ties with the beef industry," serving as president of both the Florida Cattlemen’s Association and the of the National Cattlemen’s Association. But obviously there's no conflict of interest there, because Soylent Pink isn't really meat, it's [SPOILER ALERT]: