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‘Majority’ confident about ‘pink slime’ despite petition support – American Meat Institute

4 commentsBy Mark Astley , 15-Mar-2012

The majority of American consumers are confident in the safety  and quality of meat products containing lean finely textured beef - otherwise known as ‘pink slime’ - a US meat processing trade body has claimed.

The American Meat Institute (AMI) told FoodQualityNews.com that the “large majority” of consumers are comfortable with the use of ‘pink slime’ in meat products, despite more than 200,000 people in the US signing an online petition to ban the meat filler in schools in just over a week.

The Tell USDA to Stop Using Pink Slime in School Fund petition, which has called for a full ban on the use of ‘pink slime’ in school-destined meat products, cited the claims of two former-USDA scientists that the meat filler was approved for use for political reasons despite there being safety concerns.

Reports from the US have since suggested that the USDA is set to give schools the option of serving meat products not containing ‘pink slime’.

Majority are confident

“We don’t like to see consumers concerned about the safety or quality of a product, but there are a lot of consumers out there, not just the 200,000 who are vocally against it. The large majority are confident in the US supply,” said AMI senior vice president of public affairs Janet Riley.

“I can fully appreciate that 200,000 signatures on a petition is a lot, but there are 350m consumers in the US.”

“There are food safety experts, consumer groups, figures from the meat industry who are all in support of the use of lean beef trimming in meat products.”

Those that have come to the defence of ‘pink slime’ include former US Secretary of Agriculture John Block, respected food safety consultant Dave Theno and leading US food safety attorney Bill Marler.

“In the US, it is a consumer right to petition against a product. But this petition is not based on the full facts,” said Riley.

“Gross misunderstanding”

Beef Products Inc. (BPI), one of the world’s largest producers of lean beef trimming, said earlier this week that concerns surrounding the product boiled down to a “gross misunderstanding” fuelled by media speculation – a statement AMI hs backed.

“These are not scraps of meat off the floor, it is not dog food - just meat that we couldn’t previously remove with a knife. This is an edible meat. People used to struggle to separate the meat from fat by hand, so now it is done by a machine,” she added.

“I don’t know why the media and consumers keep on focusing on the claims of two ex-USDA scientists, when we have a federal agency such as the USDA standing by this product.”

“First of all, it shouldn’t be referred to as ‘pink slime’. That is part of the problem. What we need to do is better communicate the true facts to consumers.”

“The accurate label is beef. It’s just lean, finely textured beef; not ‘pink slime’.”

4 comments (Comments are now closed)

Where's the BEEF... or the TRUTH?

Saying that the people have confidence in the food supply, is a vacuous hollow comment without the proof. Where is the survey? The petition? Where are those 350,000,00 - 200,00 consumers comments.
When 200,000 speak that infers that there are a whole lot more who think the same way but have not been near a petition to exercise their 'voice'. Even the media have understood that when a small handful write to offer their objection to an advertiser of their ads...they are pulled...not game playing....no marketing spin...usually an apology as well.

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Posted by Natch Nurture
30 March 2012 | 05h53

Who supports this besides the groups that produce it?

I'm seeing consumers petition against it, and I'm seeing its producers support it. Where are the supporters who aren't making money off it?
It would be helpful to know how much money we save on a pound of hamburger that's made with the stuff added, vs. a pound that's 100% conventional meat.

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Posted by J Yaffe
20 March 2012 | 14h10

Where's the Truth?

In any discussion truth is the best argument. Pink slime may not be the best term but saying that the majority of consumers are "confident"? about pink slime is even more ridiculous. The last line of the article comes closest when it says "we need to so a better job of communicating the true facts" Thats the equivalent of saying on Dec 8th 1941 "we should have seen that one coming"
I'm confused about what this stuff is and no one has enlightened me. Beef trimmings spun through centrifuges and cleaned up with some sort of ammonia? Yum Yum let me at that!
But if it is the meat inside the fat trimming I take off the steaks at home I understand that.
I have a different take on the bacteria thing as well. It is very important in mass food production but withing four hours of birth we are a living bacteria farm growing it by the zillions.Most people's kitchens would not stand up to the FDA regulations. And all that is ok better than ok it's good for us. We need to learn to live and adapt to bacteria.In the 1500's people wallowed in this stuff and lived. We have to put some sense back into this area.
Finally as Americans the richest country on the planet we eat out on the cheapest food available.If you think that for $1 you are getting the best beef in your hamburger, then economics was not your best subject at school. Let's start campaigning for better quality food in restaurants, with better grading and country of origin being shown. I think consumers want to be told what they are getting and then make intelligent choices. Thatr can do nothing but good for the meat industry.You know what you have now, try doing something different and maybe the margins will go up as well.

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Posted by Andrew Jordan
19 March 2012 | 18h09

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