Putting Education Reform To The Test

Explaining How “Pink Slime” Became The Latest School Lunch Controversy

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What's in that burger your child is eating at school?

So-called “pink slime” has joined ketchup-as-a-vegetable, peanut allergies and chocolate milk as the school lunch controversy of the moment.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Thursday that schools will have the choice of whether to purchase ground beef that contains the filler product critics have called “pink slime.”

The filler is beef trimmings from which the fat has been rendered and then pressed into blocks. The blocks are treated with ammonium hydroxide gas to kill bacteria and other food-borne pathogens.

Critics worry that the process may not prevent children eating the meat from getting food poisoning. A New York Times investigation found that dozens of cases of salmonella-contaminated filler and a handful of E. coli cases.

The company that sells the beef filler, South Dakota-based Beef Products Inc., says the filler is safe. The filler makes ground beef cheaper and uses meat that would otherwise be wasted.

The USDA was planning to purchase 7 million pounds of the filler for use in school lunches.

And for fun, here’s The Week‘s slideshow of the top 10 school lunch controversies.

Is this a concern or more lunch hysteria? Do you feel comfortable if schools use the meat in hamburgers served to children?


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