Good riddance to ‘pink slime’ filler
Come September, the controversial beef additive called “pink slime” will no longer accompany New Jersey school lunches. The decision by New Jersey’s Department of Agriculture to stop providing beef that uses the filler to school districts will result in slime-free cafeterias for students throughout the state - though several schools across the state have already removed the product from their menu.
We’re glad to see the N.J. Department of Agriculture decided to stop including such a controversial and substandard product in school lunches. But while it may seem harmless, recent criticisms of the filler have brought to light its potentially dangerous side. In any case, we see no reason to continue to risk the health and nutritional welfare of N.J. students with low-quality products.
The additive — consisting of finely ground beef scraps and mechanically removed connective tissue treated with ammonia to kill bacteria — has been used as an inexpensive filler in beef products in grocery stores, fast food restaurants and school cafeterias for decades. Yet after a series of public recoils over the past few weeks, the products reputation has been tarnished, and companies like McDonald’s have dropped the filler.
Admittedly, most of the controversy over “pink slime” probably comes down to perception. The name itself — a term which originated in an U.S. Department of Agriculture internal email — is probably largely responsible and has led many to view the filler as dangerous or harmful. But whether it’s called “lean, finely textured beef” or “pink slime,” the fact remains that it is a low-quality, nutritionally inadequate product. Such a product, we believe, has no place in public cafeterias. Transitioning to a higher-quality beef substitute may be slightly pricier, but in this case, the benefits seem to outweigh some additional costs.