Tell the USDA: Don't buy pink slime for school lunches

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"So-called pink slime — ammonia-treated, Lean Beef Trimmings — is a dangerous product that is unfit to be served to kids. Please stop buying this product for school lunches."
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Ammonia-treated beef scraps don't belong in school lunches.

Dear Friend,

The USDA is planning to buy seven million pounds of so-called pink slime for school lunches in the coming months.1

The beef-like product is created by grinding together connective tissue and beef scraps normally used in dog food, and is treated with ammonia hydroxide to kill salmonella and E. coli.

It is "not meat" according to a 35-year veteran USDA microbiologist, and was recently rejected by the likes of McDonalds, Taco Bell and Burger King2so it's pretty disturbing that the USDA continues putting this stuff in school lunches.

Tell the USDA: Stop putting pink slime "Lean Beef Trimmings" in kids' school lunches. Click here to automatically sign the petition.

In an all too familiar story, despite concerns raised by USDA inspectors and minimal safety inspections, the USDA approval of Beef Products Incorporated's "Lean Beef Trimmings" was pushed through by USDA undersecretary JoAnne Smith, a George H. W. Bush appointee and former president of the National Cattleman's Association.

The USDA allows beef products like hamburgers to contain up to 15% of the ammonia-treated, meat-ish stuff, but inadequate labeling requirements prevent parents from knowing if it's included in the meat being served at their kids' school.

Tell the USDA: Don't buy any more pink slime for school lunches. Click here to automatically sign the petition.

Aside from the lack of nutritional value, pink slime raises a number of health and safety concerns. The New York Times exposed in 2009 that despite being treated with ammonia, three E. coli contaminations and four dozen salmonella contaminations occurred between 2005 and 2009, during which time school lunch officials three times temporarily banned hamburger makers from using pink slime from one facility in Kansas.3

Ammonium hydroxide is itself of course harmful to eat, and can potentially turn into ammonium nitrate, a common ingredient in homemade explosives.

Kids need nutritious food to be able to learn in school, and many of the tens of millions of kids who rely on school lunches come from low-income families where they are less likely to get a healthy diet. While pink slime is a nutritionally inferior and potentially risky product, the school lunch program saves only three cents more per pound of ground beef by continuing to put this filler in kids' hamburgers.4

Over the past few months, numerous fast-food chains have rejected the product and say they no longer use it. School lunch officials should clearly follow suit.

Click below to automatically sign the petition to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and Audrey Rowe, USDA Food and Nutrition Service Administrator:

Thank you for fighting for safe food in school lunches.

Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

1. "Partners in 'slime': Feds keep buying ammonia-treated ground beef for school lunches," The Daily, 3/5/12
2. "Pink Slime For School Lunch: Government Buying 7 Million Pounds Of Ammonia-Treated Meat For Meals," Huffington Post, 3/5/12
3. "Safety of Beef Processing Method Is Questioned," New York Times, 12/30/09
4. "Pink Slime, Ammonium Hydroxide Fast Food Ground Beef Additive, Dropped By McDonald's Et Al.," Huffington Post, 1/27/12


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