Schools can now choose whether to serve "pink slime" beef

There's some good news for parents who were concerned about the appearance of "pink slime" beef in their kid's school lunches after the U.S. Department of Agriculture bought 7 million pounds of this so-called meat to be distributed into school lunches.

After outrage was sparked online last week, the Agriculture Department has changed their minds and is now giving schools the option to opt out when it comes to including the ammonia-treated lean ground beef trimmings in their lunch menus.

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Starting next fall, the department is saying that school systems will get the choice of beef patties made with the lean finely textured filler commonly referred to as "pink slime" or the less lean bulk ground beef without it. Their wording is something to be concerned about, though. The way they described the two choices seems to imply that schools either have to choose between the "pink slime" containing beef patties with less fat or go for the ground beef that isn't as lean.

So is this the school lunch choices that are proposed by the Agriculture Department? You either let your kids eat meat treated with ammonia or they have to eat meat with a lot more fat? It seems to me that they're either trying to pressure schools into choosing the leaner meat substitute option or go against healthy eating guidelines and choose fattier beef.

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That's not to mention that the "pink slime" filler is very low in cost. So does that mean that the other, ammonia-free ground beef is also going to be more expensive for schools?

I have several teacher friends that work in impoverished schools in the Bronx in New York City. I wonder what their schools, who don't have money to even buy books for their teachers do when it comes to the "pink slime" debate. Either way, what originally seemed like a great way to deal with the "pink slime" meat vs. ammonia-free beef debate in schools is now looking like a lose-lose situation. I hope that the Agriculture Department can come up with a better solution than that.  

What do you think of schools getting the choice to opt out of "pink slime" beef in their lunch menus? Do you think that schools will be able to afford potentially more expensive and fattier (but ammonia-free) ground beef?

Image via AP