Jennifer Weddig is a registered dietitian with a PhD in food science and human nutrition. She has also taught nutrition and weight management courses for more than 11 years at Metropolitan State College of Denver. 9NEWS wanted Jennifer to shed some light and her expertise on the topic.
"It's actually known as lean finely-textured beef. So, what it is is when a steak is cut or when another piece of meat is cut, they are the leftover pieces which are mostly fat and tiny bits of meat. They are pushed off onto the slaughter house floor, and those are the pieces that are collected, heated and then ground. So heating takes most of the fat off these pieces, and then the little pieces of meat that are taken off are then ground and are put into our ground beef as an additive," Weddig said.
What a lot of people are angry about is because they can't understand why they would be adding the ingredient.
"They do it to stretch the ground beef and to make ground beef less expensive and so one of the issues is, is that it's not labeled. So, when you go to the grocery store and you look at your ground beef, it doesn't say '85 percent ground beef, 15 percent lean finely textured beef,' or 'pink slime' or whatever we going to call it, it doesn't say that. I think that is the issue for the consumer. It's the truth in labeling," Weddig said.
She says that although it is not labeled, it should not be harmful to the human body.
"The USDA says it is not dangerous. Once they have treated it with ammonia, it has killed off most of the pathogenic bacteria; however, before it was mixed into ground beef, they found 48 cases of salmonella and three cases of E. coli," Weddig said. "Because it's a higher risk meat, there are more issues with it. Treating it with should kill off the pathogens but it's a pretty high-risk product."
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