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USDA: 'Pink slime' can now be called ground beef! Waste not, want not!

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02/24/2019 02:58 PM
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USDA: 'Pink slime' can now be called ground beef! Waste not, want not!
SAN FRANCISCO (WFLA) - A finely textured beef product that critics dubbed "pink slime," can now legally be classified as ground beef, WGBH reports.

In 2012, ABC News aired an exposé that first introduced “pink slime” to the public. The report claimed "pink slime" was present in 70 percent of ground beef sold in supermarkets but was not labeled. After the report aired, a number of grocery stores stopped carrying the product. South Dakota meat producer Beef Products Inc. said they had to close three plants and lay off roughly 700 workers as a result of the report. They sued ABC News in 2012 for defamation, saying the network's coverage misled consumers. The lawsuit was settled in 2017 for $177 million, according to Quartz.

"Pink slime" is made from leftover beef trimmings that have been separated, cured and freeze-dried into blocks to be added to ground beef by processors. It's been around since 1994 and was classified as an acceptable additive or filler to ground beef. But advancements in meat processing now allow for more of the cow to be processed.

“We can take 100 percent of our lean ground beef and produce a patty out of it and do a taste panel against other commercially available ground beef,” Craig Letch, director of sales told the Washington [link to www.wkrg.com (secure)]