McDonalds Tries To Scrub History of ‘Pink Slime’ Use, Grossing Consumers Out In the Process

General Interest, Health, Health Care


It’s only been two years since McDonald’s announced that it would discontinue the use of the controversial “pink slime” meat product known as “boneless lean beef trimmings” in its burgers. But now the corporation is acting as though they never used this at all, and that they are astonished that anyone would associate their products with the ammonia-filled goo.

The use of “pink slime” in McDonald’s product was brought to the attention of the public with the help of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. Oliver’s “Food Revolution” show featured an episode on “pink slime” which highlighted McDonald’s use of the product. To date, McDonald’s has never sued Oliver for providing false information about their products, in spite of their attempts to make the pink slime association disappear from the menu. This is very telling in and of itself.

“Pink slime” is banned for human consumption in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, but not in the United States, where they are legal for consumption. The “beef trimmings” are treated with ammonium hydroxide in order to kill off bacteria such as E. coli, but critics cite this is potentially harmful for human consumption.

Beef Products Incorporated supplies the beef for McDonalds. They acknowledge that they did in fact product “pink slime” burgers for the McDonald’s corporation, though they deny that their change in policy was due to Oliver’s show. Instead, they say, they made the decision on their own to kill of the use of the ammonium hydroxide treated burgers.

But now, with a couple of years distances from the change over, McDonald’s is acting like they are completely shocked that anyone would associate their products with “pink slime.”

McDonald’s issued a statement back in 2011 year, admitting that they made a switch, writing “at McDonald’s, the quality and safety of the food we serve our customers is  a top priority,” the company wrote. “At the beginning of 2011, we made a decision to discontinue the use of ammonia-treated beef in our hamburgers.  This product has been out of our supply chain since August of last year. This decision was a result of our efforts to align our global standards for how we source beef around the world.”

But a more recent video, released online via McDonald’s Canadian operations, responds to a photo that went viral, of what is called “mechanically separated chicken,” also being dubbed “pink goop” due to its similarities with “pink slime.” It  resembles strawberry soft-serve ice cream much more than chicken meat.

Oliver had associated the “pink goop” with chicken nugget production, and at some point this became associated with McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets. Whether or not that was the case, McDonald’s released a statement, indignantly acting like the corporation was above ever using such products – which they had in the past admitted to using.

“A photo circulating online does not show how we make Chicken McNuggets or, frankly, any item on our menu,” they wrote in a statement. “Our Chicken McNuggets are made using USDA inspected boneless white breast meat chicken. We do not use the process known as mechanically separated chicken, nor do our Chicken McNuggets ever at any point, look like this photo.”

McDonald’s released a video showing their Chicken McNugget production, a process shaping the chicken mix into four distinct nugget shapes (Boot, Ball, Bow-Tie, Bell), showing a close-ups of meat being ground up and huge bowls of mushy meat mix that resembles tuna fish. Gawker noted: “The process is not ‘pink slime’ gross, but it’s still sort of disgusting.”

Technomic’s Tristano notes that “I think there’s a heightened interest among Canadian consumers versus American consumers in terms of transparency and knowing where your food comes from,” but there is  “a risk is that you might turn them off from buying the product” if you actually show this process, even while it is more of a “pink tuna” process than a “pink goop” one.

(Article by Moreh B.D.K)


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