Pink Slime Maker to Suspend Operations at Some Plants

Beef Products, Inc. 'The Pink Slime Maker'

Beef Products, Inc. 'The Pink Slime Maker'

The ‘pink slime’ maker hung up operations at all Monday, but one plant where the beef ingredient is made; acknowledging recent public uproar, over the product has cost the company business.

The director of food quality and assurance for Beef Products Inc., Craig Letch, refused to talk about financial details but said that business has taken a ‘considerable’ hit after social media exploded with worry over the ammonia-treated filler and an online petition seeking its ouster from schools drew hundreds of thousands of supporters.

It is decided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that school districts may stop using the ‘pink slime’, and some retail chains have pulled products containing it from their shelves. Federal regulators believe that the product, which has been used for years and is known in the industry as ‘lean, finely textured beef,’ meets food safety standards.

Amarillo, Garden City and Waterloo are among those plants where pink slime maker will suspend operations

The ‘pink slime’ Beef Products will hang up operations at plants in Amarillo, Texas; Garden City, Kan.; and Waterloo, Iowa, Letch said. So, do you think will this affect businesses? In fact, about 200 employees at each of the three plants will get full salary and benefits for 60 days during the suspension. The company’s plant at its Dakota Dunes, S.D., and headquarters will continue operations.

The pink slime maker, meanwhile, will develop a strategy for rebuilding business and addressing what Letch called misconceptions about the beef the company makes.

The lower cost ingredient is made from fatty bits of meat left over from other cuts. The bits are heated and spun to remove most of the fat. The lean mix then is compressed into blocks for use in ground meat. The product is exposed to ammonium hydroxide gas to kill bacteria, such as E. coli and salmonella.

New website beefisbeef.com will help dispel myths about pink slime

The company last week took out a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal defending its product. It also launched a new website, beefisbeef.com, which Letch says will help dispel myths about pink slime — a term coined by a federal microbiologist grossed out by it and now widely used by critics and food activists.

Barry Carpenter, chief executive officer of the National Meat Association, said in a statement, “At a time when so many Americans struggle to put a healthy, nutritious meal on their family’s dinner table, the unfounded mischaracterization of Lean Finely Textured Beef as ‘pink slime’ is unconscionable. I am sure the public is not aware of how widespread and potentially devastating the consequences of allowing public misperception to trump sound nutritional science are”.

Marion Nestle, a professor at New York University’s Department of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health said, “If this is acceptable to people, it essentially means it’s OK to eat the kind of stuff we put into pet food. Culturally we don’t eat byproducts of human food production. It’s not in our culture. Other cultures do. We don’t”.

There is no accurate number on how often the ammonia-treated product is used and it does not have to be labeled as an ingredient. Past estimates have ranged as high as 70 percent. Beef Products’ plant in Amarillo produced about 200,000 pounds a day, while the Kansas and Iowa plants each produced about 350,000 pounds a day.

 

Dhwani Shah

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