Chow Bella's 9 Most Dramatic Moments in the National Food (and Drink) Scene in 2012

"Pink slime" ground beef
We'll soon be saying sayonara to 2012, and as media custom would have it, we're taking a look back at the culinary news that inspired us, enraged us, made us hungry or just gave us a good laugh. In the world of food and drink (and frankly, we don't care about much else here at Chow Bella), the most dramatic national stories of the year were seldom of the heart-warming variety. In fact, to paraphrase Albert King, "If it wasn't for bad news, we wouldn't have no news at all."

See also:
-- End of the World Eats (and Drinks) at Lon's at the Hermosa and Roka Akor Dec. 21
-- 9 Best New Restaurants of 2012 in Greater Phoenix

The funniest review we've read in ages, for example, was also the meanest. But alas, vicious and hilarious so often go hand-in-hand. Here's a final peek at the stories that had us talking and tweeting in 2012.

Pink Slime.jpg
Pink slime
"Pink Slime," Outed as Ground Beef Filler, Becomes Gross-out Ingredient of the Year

When ABC News ran a series of reports last March about "pink slime," the nickname for the euphemistic acronym LFTB (lean finely textured beef), consumers were appalled by what they'd been eating in their $12 restaurant burgers. Pink slime, they discovered, had become the beef industry's favorite filler -- a highly processed beef by-product composed of cartilage, connective tissue and sinew, originally used in dog food and not considered fit for human consumption. But in 2001, our trusty USDA did a study and decided (against the advice of their own microbiologists, who asserted the additive was "salvage," not "meat") that what looked like strawberry-flavored Soft Serve or maybe a massive pink poop, treated with gaseous ammonia to kill E. Coli, salmonella and other bacteria, is perfectly safe -- not to mention a real boon for the beef industry. In the wake of public outcry about "pink slime," BPI (one of the industry's largest manufacturers) suspended production at three of its four plants for a time, fast food chains stopped using it and a few consumer-conscious grocery chains pulled the plug on its use. This past fall, BPI sued ABC and Diane Sawyer (among other reporters and foodies, including Jamie Oliver) for $1.2 billion. Meanwhile, the product oozed its way into public school systems around the country. Here's where local chefs stood on the issue and what chef Dan Moody had to say in pink slime's defense.

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