Anfuehrer/FlickrGround beef (pictured here) purchased by the USDA for its national school lunch program may contain "pink slime," or lean finely textured beef.
Tomato, tomahto. Pink slime, lean finely textured beef. Whatever you call it, one thing is clear: Many consumers say they don't want it.
Yesterday, following growing public disgust, the primary producer of the textured meat, Beef Products Inc., said it is suspending operations at three of the four plants that make the product. Its announcement came after fast food and supermarket chains dropped the product, even as federal regulators and the meat industry affirm its safety.
Schools, too, have been quick to distance themselves from the cotton candy-colored controversy after revelations that the U.S. Department of Agriculture buys the product, commonly used in ground beef, for its national school lunch program.
"We use 100% all natural ground beef with no fillers, additives or soy isolates including mechanically separated parts of beef," the Los Angeles Unified School District said this month on its food services division website.