They Serve WHAT in School Lunches?
As kids we used to joke about what they put in the school cafeteria food – it didn’t always look appetizing, and I was ALWAYS thankful for my own packed lunch made lovingly by my grandma. But after reading what is really put into the meat that schools are serving, I am completely disgusted!
Apparently “Pink Slime”, or ammonia-treated meat, is being purchased by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the nation’s school lunch program, according to The Daily. Actually, calling this meat might be a little too nice since it is officially labeled “lean beef trimmings,” and according to microbiologist Gerald Zirnstein consists of “grinding together connective tissue and beef scraps normally destined for dog food and rendering” and then treating it with ammonia hydroxide to kill pathogens such as E coli and salmonella. This product is then added to traditional ground beef and hamburger patties.
Another microbiologist, Custer, who worked over 35 years in the Food Safety Inspection Service said “We looked at the product and we objected to it because it used connective tissues instead of muscle. It was simply not nutritionally equivalent [to ground beef]. My main objection was that it was not meat.”
Reportedly 7 million pounds of this ammonia-treated meal will be purchased for school lunches.
So instead of figuring out how to eliminate pathogens from ground beef, we are adding an unsafe chemical to our burgers and then feeding it to our children?
Despite the claims of health safety by adding ammonia, The New York Times reported in 2009 that dozens of tests found both E. coli and salmonella in beef intended to be served in school lunches. Luckily, that meat was not served, but there are plenty of other dangers in consuming ammonium hydroxide. Not only is it used as a household cleaner and fertilizer, it can also be turned into ammonium nitrate, which is used in homemade bombs.
Even fast food giants, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and Burger King, have recently reported that they are no longer serving the pink slime in their meat. This change may be related to Jamie Oliver and his “Food Revolution” to change food in America, although the issue of ammonia-treated meat was also portrayed in the movie Food, Inc in 2008. No matter what the reason for the change, it is one that should have happened a long time ago and I don’t understand why the USDA is still allowing this.
I’ll tell you one thing; my children will NOT be eating school food. It may take extra time, but I will be packing their school lunch each day to ensure that they are getting nutritious, chemical-free food. How do you feel about the purchase of this meat for school lunches? Do your kids eat the food served at school?
The school lunch conversation continues...