Where Do You Stand on the "Pink Slime" Issue?

Categories: Bites & Dishes

Welcome to Chow Bella's Bites & Dishes, where Valley chefs and restaurateurs respond to a question New Times food critic Laura Hahnefeld has on her mind. Have a question you'd like to ask? E-mail laura.hahnefeld@newtimes.com. Miss a question? Go here.

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The meat industry calls it "lean, finely textured beef." The public calls it "pink slime." Whatever it is, this beef-based food additive composed of ground beef scraps and connective tissue treated with ammonia has made headlines, which led to supermarkets yanking it from their shelves and caused one of its producers to go out of business.

On Monday, Chow Bella reported that chef Dan Moody, who held a pop-up dinner at Posh and visits the Valley frequently, defended the merits of pink slime (in the broader context of feeding oneself) on his blog. He even had a bit of a spat about it with celebu-chef Tom Colicchio on Twitter this week.

So where do Valley chefs and restaurateurs stand on the subject? Here's what some of them had to say.

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Madeline Pado
Chef Matt Taylor, Noca

Being a Canadian-born cook where any meat additives and the importation of such is banned along with the use of ammonia in food products, I'm not for it -- and I can't see anyone else making a strong argument for it, as well, apart from the producers. It's basically the baking soda (used to cut another widely consumed product) of the meat industry. The scary/saddest part is that this practice has not only occurred with supermarket-grade meat, but with some of the "highest quality" producers in the country, who in turn sell it to some of the most respected restaurants in the nation. If the practice is banned outright, finding a trustworthy source for ground meat products will be harder to find.

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Michael Monti
Owner, Monti's La Casa Vieja

Certainly not anything I want coming out of my kitchen, but not a threat to the continuing existence of humanity. We are made to burn a variety of fuels.






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Lauren Bailey
Owner, Windsor/Churn, Postino Central, Postino East

This is the tip of the iceberg for what consumers should know about the food they eat and how it's processed. It's a global problem, and with each bite we have a choice. The fact that this piece of information went viral and consumers demanded clean food just proves how powerful our dollars and decisions are. We have a long way to go, but I for one was happy to see this practice leaked and for consumers to avidly reject it.

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Chef Kurt Jacobsen
Hidden Meadow Ranch

Pink slime, as in any other "overly processed" food, is not my idea of food. In a world where so much effort is put into growing healthy food, pink slime does not reach the scale of edible. Eat the fat or throw it in the trash.




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Justin Micatrotto, Co-Owner,
Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers in Arizona

People need to take personal responsibility to inform themselves on what they eat, drink, etc., instead of relying on media headlines to influence it one way or another.

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13 comments
BuckyK
BuckyK

The unfortunately named "pink slime" is what our ancestors used for sausage, head cheese and other products. So what if it has been treated to kill harmful bacteria? We all eat far worse things - sometimes even as delicacies.

Is it as good as pure ground sirloin? Probably not. It also costs less. Ground meat has always been the bits and scraps. The fat content is as listed on the package. 27% for ground beef, 20% for ground chuck. 3% to 13% for ground round (depending on what and where you by it). The rest is muscle tissue. Those muscles can come from any part of the animal's carcass, but it is all the same type of tissue as that filet mignon.

I've helped butcher animals before. There are a lot of things that are not very appetizing when you are cutting them up. They still taste good once cooked. Truthfully, we'd all likely be better off if we helped butcher our meat a few times.

John D. McWhirter, DVM
John D. McWhirter, DVM

You know, the longer I think about what you chefs have stated, the madder I get.  Many of you are very high on yourselves and I appreciate that you want to be seen serving the highest quality meals.  Quality does not equate with wholesomeness or safety.  A choice or prime cut of beef is better quality than a cut of select--but it is not any safer.  If you are a chef of any quality, you should be able to wonderfully plate a meal made with lesser quality commodities which has the look of higher quality ingredients.  If I were ordering a pricey hamburger from any of you, I expect it to be made from on-the-spot, hand ground sirloin or even better cuts.  If I am ordering from a fast food chain and paying much less, I would expect the hamburger to be from "pre-processed" lower cost cuts of beef containing LFTB.  Jacobson, do you serve sausage at your over-priced bed and breakfast?  Ever had a dog and a beer at a ball game?  Step down here and live like most other people.  Bailey, LFTB is clean.  If trimmings hit the floor they are swept into a container clearly marked "Inedible".  This and other information has been made public for years.  Thank you Monti, agriculture here in the US has the herculean task of feeding billions for as least money as possible.  Taylor, go back and check up on your physiology.  Ammonia and ammonium hydrozide are parts of our LIVING metabolism--more than what gets puffed into a container of LFTB.  Also used to sterilize many other cooking ingredients. Porter, Thank You.  Your comments tell us that you truely ARE a wonderful chef.  Schneider, do you have a kill floor outside your back door?  Meat, by definition, IS dead. Even if you stun a living animal and directly cut twitching muscle from it, you still have dead meat.  LTFB is frozen just about as soon after slaughter as any other beef commodity.  Osborn, Angus Beef Assoc. has made great accomplishments with its guidelines and marketing.  But did you know that the next CAB steak you grill/serve may not have come from a 100% animal?  Heck, it might not have any black on it's hide, but if there is "paper" proof that there are Angus genetics, then he qualifies for the CAB program--where is the "truth" there?  Walsh, I do not see LFTB as a problem--it serves a purpose--maybe not yours.  We do not have to feed and slaughter as many cattle, a family can buy greater than 90% lean hamburger and therefore less fat that is ran down the drain.  A package of ground beef with LFTB will oxidize and turn brown as well.  Some people wish to spend more money on the food they eat and many people can barely afford to feed their children.  It takes a lot of gall for most of you to sit up there and try to dictate to the rest of the population what they should and should not eat.  Show us your skills and prepare for the rest of us a meal that is to die for, and instead of using top of the line quality ingredients, use less expensive ingredients.  That is what will tell me if you are a chef worth your salt!

John McWhirter,DVM
John McWhirter,DVM

lean fine trimmed beef is exactly what it says it is......beef.  It is finer than regular ground beef, but it is beef-it could be chuck or sirloin..........or it could be strip steak, t-bone or filet minion.  It is beef that technology has allowed us to utilize what we used to waste.  As for the amonia gas, each cell in your body contains more than is used to sterilize this meat product

Food-o-rama
Food-o-rama

All pink slime should be consumed by the flaccid fool. Any leftovers should go to the baboon. They deserve this.

Hector Jaime Acuna
Hector Jaime Acuna

I just saw an ad for a 49¢ burrito and another for 99¢ cheeseburger. Just exactly what do customers think they're getting for that price? Paying a CEO's salary, investor dividends, marketing, and packaging is included in that price and you think you're getting ground up grade-A steaks? I have no sympathy for anyone who feels duped in that particular scenario. 

Dave Muckey
Dave Muckey

Those that respect the law and love sausage should watch neither being made.  Mark Twain

freedom of eats
freedom of eats

Just label the products properly without influence from lobbyists and let the public decide what they want to eat.  If you knowingly want to eat pink slime or GMOs than that is your right, just don't mislabel products to sneak it into my food supply to make a little more profit.  

Dan Moody
Dan Moody

Ha. "Spat"

We actually had a fairly cordial conversation that went to email.

ExpertShot
ExpertShot

GMOs pose a FAR GREATER threat to our food system than Pink Slime (it's the same thing that's in beef hotdogs and you're not complaining about those you dolts). 

For those of you computer search challenged individuals out there - I've left you with an encyclopedia entry on the subject.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G...

Get a grip people!

any body
any body

error  I meant filtered wine

any body
any body

The food industry should be more honest with the consumer so we won't be surprised or shocked when we hear the news. Ingredients should be listed as is such as natural red dye (cochineal insects) some unfiltered wine contains (fish bladders) Animal stomach in some cheese, Lye in some dark pretzels, Lime in tortillas (not citrus) pork (the gelatin)  in Peeps. 

Azvtx
Azvtx

Certainly understandable that chefs don't want to use this product, but expensive restaurants aren't the intended audience. Instead, the product allows for complete use of the animal for a lower cost option. As much as one may say "yuck" at the thought of this, there aren't any reported instances of health issues from consuming it. Moreover, the US has used this ammonia compound to eliminate e. Coli for nearly 30 years and, again, there are no reported illnesses/injuries. We've now driven two companies into bankruptcy, with concomitant job losses, so that those of us who don't worry about struggling to meet monthly food budgets and who almost invariably would never eat this product can feel good about ourselves. Nicely played.

Dan Moody
Dan Moody

I'm sad there isn't a "love" button here. You, sir, are correct. Thank you for this comment.

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