Opinions
Sean Willett/the Gauntlet

Editorial: Pink slime is gross

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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.

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Comments

Seventy percent of US hamburger contains up to 25% per pound of \"pink slime\" which consists of the slaughterhouse floor wastes treated with ammonia and water to kill E. coli and Salmonella bacteria.

The problem is, ammonia does NOT inactivate mad cow prions which may be part of the ankle-deep muck of blood, fats, tissue and scraps on the floor:

Slaughterhouses are required to remove \"SRM\" - specified risk materials- the parts of a cow with the highest concentrations of prions. SRM include the skull, brain,ganglia, eyes, tonsils, spinal cord and small intestine. Power tools, including chain saws, are used to cut up the carcasses.. It is unavoidable that potentially prion infected wastes from high risk tissues end up on the blood-soaked slaughterhouse floors - to be incorporated into the pink slime. See pink slime video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByxaIr2Cs-Y

Alzheimer\'s is a prion disease - 6 million US victims Dr. Claudio Soto, Univ/Texas .http://www.alzheimers-prions.com/pdf/CLAUDIO-SOTO-CONFIRMS-AD-IS-PRION-DISEASE-OCT-2011.pdf and www.alzheimers-prions.com/ .

Pink slime is a likely pathway to deliver infectious prions to an unsuspecting public, including school children at risk for autism which is approaching epidemic proportions.. The Prion Institute in Alberta, Canada, is studying Autism as a prion disease

http://www.prioninstitute.ca/forms/WEBSITE%20AR.pdf


Helane Shields, Alton, NH hshields@tds.net

Please hire a sub who at least remembers high school biology, or stop scaring with uninformed FUD.

> Any part not used for these cuts are, until recently, sent to a factory to assume its rightful purpose as dog food.

Which is required to be more nutritionally complete and safer than food for human consumption, due to domesticated animals\' lack of substantial choice in their diets.

> But why is it now threatening to make its way into our lunches?

[Citation needed]

> the stomachs of these furry consumers are much better than ours at digesting food.

This comparison makes no sense. An organism\'s stomach is adapted to digest foodstuffs available to it in the long term. Human and dog stomachs are adapted to different kinds of foods because humans and canines have historically eaten different kinds of things.

> They are equipped with powerful stomach acids

... as are human stomachs

> and appendices to digest potentially harmful natural additives.

What\'s a \"natural additive\"?

> Even if our stomachs can handle the pink slime,

Do you recall the widespread outbreaks of pink-slime indigestion deaths during 1988 when millions died?

> often infected with diseases such as E. coli and salmonella

Those are organisms, not diseases, but they can cause illness.

> but ammonia in large doses can lead to the development of hepatitis, cirrhosis and many other health problems.

One could add unsafe amounts of ammonia to any organic began whatever whatever to render it unsafe. This does not support an argument against pink slime.

> Although the World Health Organization has approved the process of producing pink slime, the amount of ammonia in meat products varies.

Yes, as does any industrial process. This does not support an argument against pink slime.

> While pink slime is not used in Canada, it is important to keep the disgusting substance out of Canadians\' mouths.

So, 3/4 of this piece is not an active concern for students or Canadians, but it was worthwhile to recap the most superficial arguments for and against MSM anyway, without adding anything to the discussion. And this was a decision approved by /all/ your critically thinking editors? Got it.

> 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?

Why do you not provide any insight into how students or Canadians answer this question? Thankfully, there was an insightful cross-border debate about this just before Twitter caught on to the pink slime issue: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/the-hot-button/meat-producers-blast-plan-to-ban-more-ecoli-strains/article2264654/

> If the gross factor is not enough to turn you off, the health risks should.

[Citation needed].

> Allowing animals killed before they reach the processing plant and pink slime in meat products

I see what you did there.

> is simply just another way of putting quantity before quality and mass production before consumer needs.

So, CFIA proposes to change regulations about animals that cannot be brought safely to the slaughterhouse due to injury or aggressiveness, in order to increase profits?

Please ensure that your new sub understands the basics of logic and argumentation, as well.

The safety/consumer information cause you argue is a virtuous one, but you\'ve argued it exceedingly poorly.