After a long battle between the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and Beef Products Inc., the product formally referred to by many as pink slime can now be labeled as ground beef.
Pink slime refers to the trim left over when cattle are sliced into steaks. A slaughterhouse will then send those trimmings to be processed into ground beef. Because ground beef has a fat limit which states it can contain no more than 30 percent fat, processing facilities run the trimmings through a system.
That system involves heating the trimmings to about 100 degrees F. They are then put through a centrifuge to separate the fat tissue from the muscle tissue, which is then sterilized with ammonia, resulting in a product formerly known as lean finely textured beef or LFTB. Now, though, it is classified as ground beef, which means companies can use it as filler in the ground beef they sell to you and they don’t have to specify that on the label.
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