Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Your Children May Never Eat School Lunches Again

March 5, 2012 The Daily has a really unpleasant article about how the government is buying seven million pounds of a meat byproduct called "pink slime" (or perhaps, "soylent pink") for distribution to schools for school lunch programs.  The scientists who first studied it for FDA strongly recommended against it, but there were business interests who wanted to sell dog food grade meat treated with ammonia (hence the color) to feed to our kids.  For all Michelle Obama's concern with healthy eating for the children, it does not seem to extend to shutting off the money going to a Tyson Foods division.

5 comments:

Epsilon Given said...

It's not just a school lunch issue. Why, on why, do so many of us believe that the USDA and the FDA are necessary to make our food and drugs safe, when there's evidence like this that demonstrate quite the opposite?

(The last time I felt this sick was when I learned, from the book "Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal", that the USDA approved, and even encouraged, the feeding of chicken manure to cows.)

pngai said...

Did you see the video where a group of school kids are shown how chicken nuggets are made?

They all said "gross".

Then they were offered some cooked chicken nuggets and all readily accepted.

Sigivald said...

It's perfectly safe (contra Epsilon, nothing in that article was evidence of a lack of safety).

That they lead with that hack Jamie Oliver over at TheDaily shows that they're bad at critical thinking - and that they're aiming for a scare piece.

I see nothing there about FDA scientists recommending against it - I see a guy from the Food Safety Inspection Service saying "it's not nutritionally equivalent to meat" because of the connective tissue. (Which might be true, but is not remotely a safety issue.)

The switch from "the FSIS guy says it's not the same, and another guy says it's not Ground Beef" (also true) to "Despite [that], the USDA ruled that [it was] safe" is incredibly cheap sleight of hand.

"Despite" a non-safety concern they ruled it safe? I cannot possibly imagine why.

I recall reading other articles raving about the safety of that product precisely because it's industrially processed; there's a lot less exposure to bacteria than when grinding up meat in a traditional processing plant.

I'd rather, if we must have compulsory schools with bottom-budget meals, have that than ground beef. (At least until the luddites will let us irradiate food to a significant extent.)

It'll get you fewer sick kids because someone cross-contaminated with e. coli.

(I realize that Mr. Zirnstein has an aesthetic objection to it, but as presented there is not the slightest evidence of any harm, real or potential.

And all the wailing about "ammonia" is similarly ludicrous - pure scare tactics. The amounts involved are so slight as to make it a talking point aimed at aesthetic revulsion - not science.

And Zirnstein's last complaint, that "it's more like Jell-O than hamburger" and "taken a processed product ... and added it to ground beef" are equally non-safety and purely foodie-aesthetic complaints.

(One wonders if he realizes that ground beef itself is "processed", or that "processed" is, in food-hippie use - which is the use he's adopting - a pure term of abuse, without scientific meaning or consistent application.

He certainly has the inconsistency part down...)

"Science is the truth, and pink slime at this point in time is a fraudulent lie"?

When you have to use namecalling ["pink slime"] in your invocation of Science as Proving You Right, you're not doing science anymore.

David said...

It's much tastier than gray slime, I find.

Windy Wilson said...

David -- or Blue-green slime? ;)

I wonder if the ammonia is cooked out like the ammonium carbonate used in baking?