Food Activists "Slime" Perfectly Healthy Beef Costing Taxpayers in the Process

03/12/2015 11:45

by David Almasi


New York, NY/Washington, D.C. -  School districts around the country are now deciding whether to continue using a type of ground meat, pejoratively labeled 'pink slime' by food activists, that has been used safely for years. If school administrators abandon the science by buying into the "pink slime" hype, they'll not only be setting a bad example for their students, they'll be wasting taxpayer dollars, says the National Center for Public Policy Research.

In charges outlined in an op-ed in a 2012 New York Post, the National Center for Public Policy Research's Jeff Stier writes, "Let's be clear: The meat product known as 'lean finely textured beef' does look gross. But so does just about every meat product - ever seen how they make pastrami? And this stuff is perfectly safe, and almost certainly healthier than its likely replacement."

In the piece, Stier explains that the "US Department of Agriculture goes to great lengths to ensure that the national school lunch program serves appropriate food to America's kids. And its scientists have been unambiguous: This meat product is perfectly fine."

Yet, according to the New York City-based Stier, the country's largest school district, New York City's, is already ignoring the USDA's safety assurances and banning the meat by no later than September.

However, says Stier, "That's not fast enough for Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, who's grandstanding for an immediate ban. He calls it 'garbage, as if there's actually something wrong with it, other than the gross 'pink slime' moniker."

Ironically, this type of meat is exactly what food activists should want more of, explains Stier: "It wasn't so long ago that food activists claimed they wanted our food to be more 'sustainable.' Yet this stuff is an innovative model of sustainable agriculture: It's made with a process that safely and efficiently uses parts of the animal that were either discarded, or used for lower-value uses, such as animal food. And since the fat is melted out of the meat before it's mixed into other ground beef, 'pink slime' actually yields lower-fat meals."

And despite all the hoopla, meat with so-called "pink slime" mixed in doesn't taste bad, says Stier. "It's been used for years not only by schools, but by leading fast-food outlets and major supermarket chains. If it didn't taste good, kids would have voted with their stomachs long ago," Stier writes in the Post.

So "why waste scarce dollars to switch to more expensive, higher-fat" meat that isn't any safer?" asks Stier.

The answer, explains Stier, after quoting a number of activists pushing the scare, is that 'These people only want us eating grass-fed free-range cattle, if we eat any meat at all. Scott Stringer may be able to afford that diet, but it's pathetic for politicians to kowtow to dishonest elitists."

Jeff Stier’s most recent piece for the New York Post, a March 20, 2012 story revealing that New York City food shelters have been turning away free food donations on the order of the New York Mayor’s office, received nationwide press attention, including repeated appearances by Stier on CNN (here and here) and CNBC. Links to these clips and other media coverage can be found at the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Stier archive.

Stier, a senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research, is an expert on how the nanny state is undermining the credibility of the public health community. Among his many articles: "The Happy Meal Ban Flops" for National Review Online, "Obama Healthcare: Government, Heal Thyself," for the Los Angeles Times and "Regulating Junk Food Advertising" for