Lean Finely textured beef, or the name many people have come to know it by, “pink slime” has made a lot of news headlines lately. Production facilities have closed, some schools have stopped using the product, and Hy-Vee briefly pulled the product from its shelves. But what exactly is “pink slime?” It is actually the trimmings from other cuts of beef that are processed to remove the fat content. The processing leaves the trimmings very finely textured, thus the name “pink slime.” But Denise Schwab, a beef production expert with the ISU Extension, says it actually makes the ground beef its added to healthier.
She compares it to cutting the other muscles attached to a rib-eye steak off and adding them into a ground beef mix. It actually makes the ground beef leaner.
The trimmings are usually 2/3 fat before they are processed, and when the processing is complete its a 95% lean beef product that is added to 85% lean ground beef to lower the percentage of fat. She says it’s just as tasty as conventionally processed beef, and just as safe too.
The trimmings are sprayed with a puff of ammonia to eliminate any chance of e-coli. Governor Branstad is leading a campaign for an investigation into what he calls a smear campaign against the product.