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BLBT a.k.a. "Pink Slime"

A section to talk about cooking and other domestic things. Also where you can post your favourite recipes and tips and tricks for those tasks around the house.
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BLBT a.k.a. "Pink Slime"

Postby Nephele » Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:23 am

What filler substance looks like play dough, is sprayed with ammonia gas, once was used only in dog food, and is now found in 70% of the ground beef commonly sold in your local (U.S.) supermarket?

Read here for answer.

The meat industry is calling this "boneless lean bone trimmings" (BLBT), which obviously sounds more appealing than "pink slime."

Regardless of what you call it, I don't think I like it.

What's more, the government official who OK'ed all this has personally profited handsomely from it:

ABC News WroteColonABC News has learned the woman who made the decision to OK the mix is a former undersecretary of agriculture, Joann Smith. It was a call that led to hundred of millions of dollars for Beef Products Inc., the makers of pink slime.

When Smith stepped down from the USDA in 1993, BPI’s principal major supplier appointed her to its board of directors, where she made at least $1.2 million over 17 years.


I don't think I was that aware of all this until I read the breaking news today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is announcing that, starting this fall, schools will be able to choose whether or not they buy hamburger that contains pink slime. Then I hunted down the linked article above, which came out last week from ABC news network.

I did watch Food Inc., which I understand mentions pink slime, but I didn't remember that part from the documentary. I guess it's time to watch Food Inc. again.

Apparently, the only sure way to avoid ingesting this stuff (at least in the U.S.) is to give up ground beef entirely, or only buy ground beef that is stamped "USDA organic."

Yet another reason for me to shop at Whole Foods (a supermarket listed as not selling products containing pink slime).

-- Nephele
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Re: BLBT a.k.a. "Pink Slime"

Postby sgath92 » Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:45 am

Beef based "pink slime" has actually been BANNED in this country for years up until now [there was a story on McDonalds about that recently], though its chicken equivalent has always been ok.

As for Smith I am not surprised: We have a revolving door between big multinationals & our big regulatory bodies here. We recruit people from industry and they recruit out of the regulatory bodies. Needless to say many of our regulatory bodies are absurd.

I heard once that if every chemical that is allowed in the US to be present in water, was present at the same time at the maximum allowed amount: you would have what the FDA & EPA would allow you to call 100% water, without any actual H2O in it!
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Re: BLBT a.k.a. "Pink Slime"

Postby HopelessRomantic » Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:23 am

Eew... This makes me glad that I don't eat ground beef. After working in a warehouse grocery store for a few years... I've seen how badly most store treat their meats. I could name stores, but... that might be bad?

That's what I get for becoming interested in being a butcher. :(
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Re: BLBT a.k.a. "Pink Slime"

Postby sgath92 » Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:06 pm

What I do to get ground beef at grocery stores is pick out a slab of chuck and then ask the people behind the counter to grind it for me. Then you KNOW what your ground beef was made from because it was ground up right in front of you. Costs a little bit more though. Its also not hard to find cast iron meat grinders at antique shops to use at home.

We have been debating getting a big chest freezer to put on the balcony so that we can start using local independent butchers. If you buy a whole cow at once it is actually not bad in price but we just haven't had the space for all the meat to do it [also would save me money to have a freezer big enough to hold bulk orders of mice/rats]. Our freezer is so tiny that with a 5 gal jug of bird food, a bulk bag of fries, and a half a dozen steaks you can't even fit an ice tray in there.
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Re: BLBT a.k.a. "Pink Slime"

Postby Lachrymose » Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:11 pm

Somehow, I need to wear a pair of latex gloves and squish it through my fingers.


I might be going away for awhile..... :?
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Re: BLBT a.k.a. "Pink Slime"

Postby Nephele » Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:44 pm

Here is an update on the pink slime controversy: One of the processors for pink slime has filed for bankruptcy, due to public awareness and rejection of the ground beef filler. At least, that's what the company claims to be the reason, although the company had already been in financial trouble before the news broke.

Forbes WroteColonIn March, Enis [fresh market editor at Supermarket News] said, consumers began to shy away from ground beef, regardless of whether it contained filler ingredients or not. The filler, he explained, is lean finely textured beef — the ingredient that everyone is calling pink slime.

“Almost every major supermarket chain has ordered their suppliers to stop using the ingredient in ground meat products sold to their stores,” Enis said. “Unlike most other major meat suppliers, AFA wasn’t very diversified—no pork or chicken or steaks. Ground beef is pretty much all they do, so this was especially difficult for them.”


Read article here.

Even if your grocery store has joined the many that have decided to no longer carry products with pink slime filler in them, I am hearing that they are now adding fat to their ground beef to make up for the loss of filler. So, I'll still be buying the lean slabs of beef and having them grind it for me in the store, if I want ground beef at all.

-- Nephele
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Re: BLBT a.k.a. "Pink Slime"

Postby Lachrymose » Tue Apr 03, 2012 5:16 pm

Nephele WroteColon So, I'll still be buying the lean slabs of beef and having them grind it for me in the store, if I want ground beef at all.


That's the ticket....just get a steak, fry it for 2-3 minutes and then tear into it.

And remember, folks, there's no Pink Slime in the original Soylent Green! :mrgreen:

(The original product was made from plankton, before they discovered...you know.)
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Re: BLBT a.k.a. "Pink Slime"

Postby spiderlimbs » Tue Apr 03, 2012 10:27 pm

Ewww...I buy my burger patties from Whole Foods who grounds their meat in-house and makes their own patties, but I don't know for certain whether they use this filler or not. I'll have to check that out.

Just checked and they don't. :)

~spidey
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Re: BLBT a.k.a. "Pink Slime"

Postby sgath92 » Wed Apr 04, 2012 8:55 am

There's no reason for that company to go out of business. Every part of the kill should be used, and in an industrial society it is easy to find a use for it. Just because they can't put it in burgers anymore doesn't mean they can't put it in pet food, or use it to make glue, or use it as fertilizer. There is always a product for stuff like this.

Even blood, a byproduct from meat processing: is not only collected & used but it is really really expensive. They dry it and sell it as a fertilizer [I wonder how many vegetarians eat plants grown in cattle blood without ever realizing it].
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Re: BLBT a.k.a. "Pink Slime"

Postby nachtvlinder » Thu Apr 05, 2012 12:03 pm

sgath92 WroteColonThere's no reason for that company to go out of business. Every part of the kill should be used, and in an industrial society it is easy to find a use for it. Just because they can't put it in burgers anymore doesn't mean they can't put it in pet food, or use it to make glue, or use it as fertilizer. There is always a product for stuff like this.

I like the idea that you should use each and every part of an animal you kill, if you decide that you must kill that animal.

But maybe the meat should be eaten, and not be filled with other parts of the animal (or: different animals). The parts that make the filler can maybe better be processed into glue or something else. (Why meat products need to be filled is beyond me anyway, but I guess it's cheaper than using only the meat which leads to more profit if you sell the combined filler and meat as 'meat'. Having meat ground before you eyes or buying a whole cow seems like a good idea if you want to know what you're putting into your body -because: who knows what else they've been putting in food?)

sgath92 WroteColonEven blood, a byproduct from meat processing: is not only collected & used but it is really really expensive. They dry it and sell it as a fertilizer [I wonder how many vegetarians eat plants grown in cattle blood without ever realizing it].

I had never heard of this practice, but I know that my country has legal limits of animal traces and insects that are allowed to be in products. I suppose that this also holds for the FDA and food authorities in other countries.
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Re: BLBT a.k.a. "Pink Slime"

Postby FairyInBoots » Fri Apr 06, 2012 3:29 pm

sgath92 WroteColonThere's no reason for that company to go out of business. Every part of the kill should be used, and in an industrial society it is easy to find a use for it. Just because they can't put it in burgers anymore doesn't mean they can't put it in pet food, or use it to make glue, or use it as fertilizer. There is always a product for stuff like this.

Even blood, a byproduct from meat processing: is not only collected & used but it is really really expensive. They dry it and sell it as a fertilizer [I wonder how many vegetarians eat plants grown in cattle blood without ever realizing it].

Oh, indeed. Shutting down is a little extreme. There are certainly all sorts of things that can be done with it.

But to be honest? I really don't see what's so scary about BLBT. In low quantities, ammonia is non-toxic, and the human body creates more ammonia in urine than is gassed about on the portion of BLBT that finds its way into a pound of ground beef (and considering how many people drink their own wee, and the worst thing it can do is, if you're drinking it to survive extreme conditions, like say, a building caving in, it'll extend your survival by two days, tops, because at that point your own urine has become so concentrated with salts...) I dunno, knowing what I do about human biology, the mere concept of BLBT as a filler doesn't make me flinch at all. While concentrated ammonia (as in, not a diluted gaseous form) is potentially hazardous, that potential is largely reliant on what's done with it, especially what may be added to it. Pasteurised milk is more corrosive than concentrated ammonia, if you let said milk get old enough.
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Re: BLBT a.k.a. "Pink Slime"

Postby Nephele » Fri Apr 06, 2012 3:46 pm

FairyInBoots WroteColon Pasteurised milk is more corrosive than concentrated ammonia, if you let said milk get old enough.


Coooool. But what's even cooler about old milk is that, if you were a "Newcomer" (a.k.a. "melon-head"), you could get drunk on the stuff.

As for whether or not BLBT is "scary"... I think it's mainly dishonest.

Supermarkets advertising "fresh" ground beef in their meat departments aren't really selling what they claim to sell, because there is no way that the ammonia-dowsed BLBT (that arrives at the supermarket in pink brick form and is added to the ground beef as filler) can honestly be called "fresh."

Consumers should have a right to know what's in the food they're being sold, and consumers certainly shouldn't be told something is "fresh" when, in fact, it contains filler ingredients like BLBT a.k.a. "pink slime."

-- Nephele
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Re: BLBT a.k.a. "Pink Slime"

Postby FairyInBoots » Fri Apr 06, 2012 4:46 pm

Nephele WroteColon
FairyInBoots WroteColon Pasteurised milk is more corrosive than concentrated ammonia, if you let said milk get old enough.


Coooool. But what's even cooler about old milk is that, if you were a "Newcomer" (a.k.a. "melon-head"), you could get drunk on the stuff.

As for whether or not BLBT is "scary"... I think it's mainly dishonest.

Supermarkets advertising "fresh" ground beef in their meat departments aren't really selling what they claim to sell, because there is no way that the ammonia-dowsed BLBT (that arrives at the supermarket in pink brick form and is added to the ground beef as filler) can honestly be called "fresh."

Consumers should have a right to know what's in the food they're being sold, and consumers certainly shouldn't be told something is "fresh" when, in fact, it contains filler ingredients like BLBT a.k.a. "pink slime."

-- Nephele

Dishonest? Sure, I won't argue that, or the right of the consumer to know what's in their food. Those are all fair arguments.

I just don't think there's any real grounds to call it disgusting, which is what I see most people claiming (not necessarily here, but all over), yet it's clearly among the least toxic and otherwise "scary" things a one can (and often do) put into one's own body. Hell, driving is more potentially hazardous to one's health than ingesting trace amounts of ammonia diluted in water vapours spritzed over a block of bone-scrapings and mixed into ground meat at a maximum 12% filler rate per pound.

I think too much of a stress is put on the fact that the scrapings are disinfected with ammonia, to be frank --you can inhale more ammonia gas cleaning out a cat box than you can ingest from BLBT filler, and we don't see people angered by the fact that the Human Society doesn't tell people how much chemicals are wee'd out by the cat one just adopted. Ammonia, usually in the form of urine --distilled from said or even just straight-up wee-- has been used as a medicinal disinfectant for centuries. The ancient Egyptans made toothpaste out of it and would collect it from public toilets. Ancient people weren't stupid; if even that much ammonia from human urine was toxic, it would have been discovered quickly and the practise would have stopped --and by volume, that's far more ammonia than what treats each pound of BLBT. It's easily arguable that discovering the disinfectant properties of ammonia, especially in urine, have been an aid to human civilisation. In small quantities, it's non-toxic and it's a valid practise to use it as a disinfectant.

Do people have a right to know what disinfectants, even in the tracest amounts, might have touched their meat? Of course, but people also have the right to be educated about how safe a substance really is, and at what quantities a potentially toxic substance may become toxic --and I guarantee that many people would actually be surprised at how much that has to be in many cases. Just because you can buy it in the Household Cleaners section doesn't necessarily make it toxic, in spite of the fact that Americans have been conditioned, for at least the last 125years, to believe that to be so.
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Re: BLBT a.k.a. "Pink Slime"

Postby Nephele » Fri Apr 06, 2012 5:02 pm

It may be harmless, but it sure as hell isn't appetizing.

-- Nephele
Who isn't inclined to drink cat piss, either, thank you very much. :P
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Re: BLBT a.k.a. "Pink Slime"

Postby FairyInBoots » Sat Apr 07, 2012 5:39 am

Oh, don't get me wrong; I absolutely believe that this is a profit-increase measure and the fact that it passed with no real notice under Bush II: Electric Boogaloo's reign should broadcast the fact that it's sneaky, pro-corporate bullcrap. Sure, it's harmless, but it's still a move to defraud the public by peddling meat that has a significant minority of meat by-product filler for a comparable price to what it was sold at prior to the approval of using said filler.

While I expect by-product if I'm buying a can of Potted Meat Food Product (not that I would, I'm afraid of, but entertained by this product's existence), I don't expect it in a pound of ground chuck, no matter how harmless.
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