Lorna Barrett Biography & Facts
Pink slime (also known as lean finely textured beef or LFTB, finely textured beef, or boneless lean beef trimmings or BLBT) is a meat by-product used as a food additive to ground beef and beef-based processed meats, as a filler, or to reduce the overall fat content of ground beef. As part of the production process, heat and centrifuges remove the fat from the meat in beef trimmings. The resulting paste, without the fat, is exposed to ammonia gas or citric acid to kill bacteria. In 2001, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved the product for limited human consumption. The product, when prepared using ammonia gas, is banned for human consumption in the European Union and Canada.In March 2012, an ABC News series about "pink slime" included claims that approximately 70% of ground beef sold in US supermarkets contained the additive at that time. Some companies and organizations stopped offering ground beef with the product. "Pink slime" was claimed by some originally to have been used as pet food and cooking oil and later approved for public consumption, but this was disputed in April 2012, by both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) administrator responsible for approving the product and Beef Products, Inc. (BPI), the largest US producer of the additive. In September 2012, BPI filed a defamation lawsuit against ABC for false claims about the product. By 2017 BPI was seeking $1.9 billion in damages. On June 28, 2017, ABC announced that it had settled the suit. Terms of the settlement were at least $177 million (US). Counsel for BPI believes this to be the largest amount ever paid in a media defamation case in the United States.The product is regulated in different manners in various regions. In the US, the product is allowed to be used in ground beef, and it can be used in other meat products such as beef-based processed meats. The use of ammonia as an anti-microbial agent is approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and is included on the FDA's list of GRAS (generally recognized as safe) procedures, and is used in similar applications for numerous other food products, including puddings and baked goods. The product is not allowed in Canada due to the presence of ammonia, and is banned for human consumption in the European Union. Some consumer advocacy groups have promoted the elimination of the product or for mandatory disclosure of additives in beef, while others have expressed concerns about plant closures that occurred after the product received significant news media coverage.
In December 2018, lean finely textured beef was reclassified as "ground beef" by The Food Safety And Inspection Service of the United States Department Of Agriculture.
Production and content
Finely textured meat is produced by heating boneless beef trimmings (the last traces of skeletal muscle meat, scraped, shaved, or pressed from the bone) to 107–109 °F (42–43 °C), removing the melted fat by centrifugal force using a centrifuge, and flash freezing the remaining product to 15 °F (−9 °C) in 90 seconds in a roller press freezer. The roller press freezer is a type of freezer that was invented in 1971 by BPI CEO Eldon Roth that can "freeze packages of meat in two minutes" and began to be used at Beef Products Inc. in 1981. The lean finely textured beef is added to ground beef as a filler or to reduce the overall fat content of ground beef. In March 2012 about 70% of ground beef sold in US supermarkets contained the product. It is also used as a filler in hot dogs produced in the United States.The recovered beef material is extruded through long tubes that are thinner than a pencil, during which time at the Beef Products, Inc. (BPI) processing plant, the meat is exposed to gaseous ammonia. At Cargill Meat Solutions, citric acid is used to kill bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella. Gaseous ammonia in contact with the water in the meat produces ammonium hydroxide. The ammonia sharply increases the pH and damages microscopic organisms, the freezing causes ice crystals to form and puncture the organisms' weakened cell walls, and the mechanical stress destroys the organisms altogether. The product is finely ground, compressed into pellets or blocks, flash frozen and then shipped for use as an additive.Most of the finely textured beef is produced and sold by BPI, Cargill and Tyson Foods.
As of March 2012 there was no labeling of the product, and only a USDA Organic label would have indicated that beef contained no "pink slime". Per BPI, the finished product is 94% to 97% lean beef (with a fat content of 3% to 6%) has a nutritional value comparable to 90% lean ground beef, is very high in protein, low in fat, and contains iron, zinc and B vitamins. U.S. beef that contains up to 15% of the product can be labeled as "ground beef". Up to 2005, filler could make up to 25% of ground meat. In an Associated Press review, food editor and cookbook author J. M. Hirsh compared the taste of two burgers: one containing LFTB and one traditional hamburger. He described the LFTB-containing burgers as smelling the same, but being less juicy and with not as much flavor.In 2002, a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) microbiologist stated that the product contained connective tissue and that he did not consider it to be ground beef and that it was "not nutritionally equivalent" to ground beef. Rick Jochum, a spokesperson for BPI, stated in 2012 that BPI's product does not contain cow intestines or connective tissue such as tendons.
In 1990, the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) approved the use of the technology for manufacturing finely textured meat. At the time of its approval, the FSIS called the remaining product "meat", although one FSIS microbiologist dissented, arguing it contained both muscle and connective tissue.In 1994, in response to public health concerns over pathogenic E. coli in beef, the founder of BPI, Eldon Roth, began work on the "pH Enhancement System", which disinfects meat using injected anhydrous ammonia in gaseous form, rapid freezing to 28 °F (−2 °C), and mechanical stress.In 2001, the FSIS approved the gaseous disinfection system as an intermediate step before the roller press freezer, and approved the disinfected product for human consumption, as an additive. The FSIS agreed with BPI's suggestion that ammonia was a "processing agent" which did not need to be listed on labels as an ingredient. FSIS microbiologists Carl Custer and Gerald Zirnstein stated that they argued against the product's approval for human consumption, saying that it was not "meat" but actually "salvage", and that the USDA should seek independent verification of its safety, but they were overruled. In 2003, BPI commissioned a study of the effectiveness and safety of the disinfection process; the Iowa State University researchers found no safety concern in the product or in ground beef containing it.The term "pink slime", a reference to th.... Discover the Lorna Barrett popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Lorna Barrett books.