It's connective tissue, rectal tissue and spinal scraps-- and it's making its way into your ground beef. The notoriously unappealing substance known as 'pink slime' has outraged beef consumers and has given vegetarians another reason to scoff at hamburgers.
Beef is cut and priced based on which part of the cow it is sliced from. Any part not used for these cuts are, until recently, sent to a factory to assume its rightful purpose as dog food. But why is it now threatening to make its way into our lunches? While sending these cow parts to the dog food factory may sound cruel, the stomachs of these furry consumers are much better than ours at digesting pink slime. They are equipped with powerful stomach acids and appendices to digest potentially harmful natural additives. Even if our stomachs can handle the pink slime, do we want to eat it?
Experts have now found a way to make these meat scraps, often infected with diseases such as E. coli and salmonella, 'fit' for human consumption. First, this slimy and horrendous meat is put in a centrifuge to separate the tiny chunks of meat from the fat. Next it is added to a solution consisting of water and ammonia to kill the bacteria. Pink slime is transformed into a meaty substance that looks good enough to eat. But is it?
A certain level of ammonia will not harm humans, but ammonia in large doses can lead to the development of hepatitis, cirrhosis and many other health problems. Although the World Health Organization has approved the process of producing pink slime, the amount of ammonia in meat products varies.
Pink slime is estimated to be present in as many as 70 per cent of ground beef products in the United States. Pink slime is an inexpensive filler-- because it costs less, fast food chains in the U.S. have been using it as a way to increase profit. While pink slime is not used in Canada, it is important to keep the disgusting substance out of Canadians' mouths.
Pink slime, however, is not the only thing Canadian carnivores have to worry about. Recently the Canadian Food Inspection Agency proposed a change to the meat inspection rules that would allow animals to arrive dead to processing factories. Critics have been wary about the potential of spreading disease from dead animals to perfectly healthy ones. So where will the line of food quality and safety be drawn?
Prior to eating a taco, you shouldn't be stuck wondering how old the meat you are consuming really is, or what part of the cow it comes from. If the gross factor is not enough to turn you off, the health risks should. This meat is simply not fit for human consumption. Allowing animals killed before they reach the processing plant and pink slime in meat products is simply just another way of putting quantity before quality and mass production before consumer needs.