Pink Slime: The Truth About Processed Meats

By Betty Murray

“Pink slime,” has found its way to the forefront of discussion about the health of American foods, especially foods served in school cafeterias. Pink slime is low-fat filler used in processed meats. But what exactly is pink slime made of, and should you be concerned?

Pink slime is lean, finely-textured beef. It is a mixture of connective tissue, trimmings and scrap meats. Ammonium hydroxide is applied to the processed meat product to sterilize against E. coli and Salmonella. The product is then blended into hamburger, hot dogs and other meat products.

Meat contains protein, an essential nutrient. Pink slime, however, contains as much as two and a half times more insoluble protein compared to soluble proteins. There is little nutritional value to insoluble proteins found in tendons, ligaments and cartilage tissues because insoluble protein is more difficult to digest than soluble protein. On the positive side, lean, finely-textured beef (also called LFTB) contains less fat than soluble protein found in ordinary ground chuck.

It isn’t only school lunches and chicken nuggets that contain pink slime. It is found in nearly every processed meat product, including ground beef. The USDA allows a maximum of 15 percent of LFTB in any processed meat product. The kicker is that it does not have to be labeled.

What’s the alternative?
Processed meats contain chemicals and additives that are not healthy for your body. Instead of feeding yourself and your family products that aren’t good for you, consider the alternatives.
Avoiding meat altogether may be the only way you can be certain you aren’t getting pink slime or other additives, antibiotics and hormones in your meat. However, if you just can’t do without meat, organic, grass-fed, local meat is the best and healthiest option for you and your family.
Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.

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