Looks good – tastes good for meat eaters. But how much of that meat patty is pink slime?
Ever wonder what makes the meat patties used in hamburgers in fast food eateries like McDonalds and Burger King seem so fresh? The secret is not really how much meat glue is used, or whether the meat patty used is actually 50 percent or more n-hexane based soy protein. The real issue has been the use of a meat quality enhancer, or a product known scientifically as ammonium hydroxide which turns fatty beef residue into a mixture that has been non-affectionately called “pink slime”.
Even the sound of Pink slime sounds yucky, especially when it is composed of fatty meat residues from cows and composed of a non-safe chemical, ammonia. When mixed with water, according to the NIH, it becomes ammonium hydroxide – a deadly poison that can release ammonia gas into the air and ammonia into the body.
Pink slime has been used for years as an important ingredient for hamburger patties in such American fast food chains as the two previously mentioned, as well as the popular Mexican fast food chain Taco Bell. Supposedly, the use of ammonium hydroxide has been effective for killing large quantities of e-coli Salmonella contamination which is a common problem when using meat scraps to create meat patties.
The problem became such an issue a few years back that a USDA microbiologist, Gerald Zirnstein, called the processed beef “pink slime” in a 2002 e-mail message to colleagues and said, “I do not consider the stuff to be ground beef, and I consider allowing it in ground beef to be a form of fraudulent labeling.”
This problem came to a head when it was revealed in 2008 that 5.5 million pounds of ammonia treated beef had been used in the US School Lunch Program. As a result concerned public health advocates have succeeded in having pink slime eliminated from meat being served in McDonald’s, Burger King and Taco Bell in the USA.
Not strawberry ice cream or saltwater taffy but beef, fat and ammonium hydroxide – yuck!
Whether pink slime is now being used in fast food establishments here in the Middle East is a matter yet to be revealed; especially in Israel where fast food restaurants are common.
Surely, the use of an ingredient that has been labeled as an actual poison may be even more dangerous to public health than using ceramic “non stick” cookware to cook your food as exposed in the TV program Kolbotek.
A Kolbotek type of investigation might be launched against Israeli fast food chains to determine whether pink slime is a major ingredient of hamburger patties.
Similar investigations might be advisable in other countries like those in the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Lebanon when fast foods are now becoming immensely popular. The main question now is how cooperative will the restaurant chains be in allowing this to be done?
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