The American Meat Institute (AMI) has defended boneless lean beef trimmings (BLBT) as wholesome and nutritious, criticizing media reports that have described the product as ‘pink slime’.
BLBT has come in for vociferous criticism since former US Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientist Gerald Zirnstein told ABC News last week that 70% of ground beef sold in grocery stores contains ‘pink slime’ – and that he refuses to buy it.
AMI president J. Patrick Boyle said:“Boneless lean beef trimmings (BLBT) is a safe, wholesome and nutritious form of beef that is made by separating lean beef from fat….Some recent media reports created a troubling and inaccurate picture, particularly in their use of the colloquial term 'pink slime.' …In reality, the BLBT production process simply removes fat and makes the remaining beef more lean and suited to a variety of beef products that satisfy consumers’ desire for leaner foods.”
In addition, Boyle said that BLBT is a sustainable product, because it recovers meat that would otherwise not be used, and defended the use of ammonia hydroxide gas to kill E. coli, as a “commonly used” process to destroy bacteria in many foods.
“Producing BLBT ensures that lean, nutritious, safe beef is not wasted in a world where red meat protein supplies are decreasing while global demand is increasing as population and income increases,”he said.