Why are schools feeding kids the "pink slime" meat rejected by McDonalds?

What happens to "pink slime" meat after it is rejected by fast food joints like McDonalds, Taco Bell and Burger King? Apparently, it gets bought by the tons for the nation's school lunch program instead. The same program that recently said that school lunches have to have more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.   

According to The Daily and Huffington Post, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is purchasing 7 million pounds of this so-called "meat" for school lunches. The "pink slime" itself is officially called "learn beef trimmings" consisting of ground-up beef scraps, cow connective tissues and other beef trimmings. How is the government actually feeding this to kids in our school cafeterias?


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My first introduction to the term "pink slime" was in watching Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. He is an outspoken celebrity chef crusading for healthier school lunches. My only question is: Why does he even have to go to such lengths?

Carl Custer, a microbiologist who worked at the Food Safety Inspection Service for 35 years, explains why he doesn't consider it real meal:

We originally called it soylent pink. 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.

Other scientists explain that these beef trimmings are treated with ammonia to get rid of salmonella and E. coli but, besides the fact that testing showed that dozens of school still contain these harmful bacteria, are we seriously okay with feeding our kids barely beef laced with ammonia?

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If we really want our kids to be healthier and our school lunches to improve, we need to start telling the Department of Agriculture that this is NOT acceptable food for the children. And in the meantime, maybe pack a brown bag lunch.

What do you think about school lunches including this "pink slime" meat that wasn't even good enough for fast food joints?

Image via Wikimedia