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Cybercondria: “Pink Slime”

Posted Mar 24 2012 1:03pm

The photo that's got people buzzing.

Pictured above is what the media has come to know as “pink slime”. What it really is, is mechanically separated chicken used to make fast food chicken nuggets and patties as well as the chicken you may find in the freezer isle of your grocery store. To simplify even more, its a whole chicken (eyes, bones guts, and all that good stuff) pressed through a mechanical strainer and blended with ammonia to kill any bacteria and dyed pink.

Mechanically separated meat (MSM) is used in cheaper meat products that need to retain their “meat like” features as well as a long shelf-life. McDonalds has recently been attacked for their suspected use of MSM in their popular chicken nuggets but have been using all white meat chicken since 2003.

The USDA has released a statement about the safety of MSM, stating that it is safe to consume without restriction but must be labeled in commercially sold products. 

“Mechanically separated meat is a paste-like and batter-like meat product produced by forcing bones, with attached edible meat, under high pressure through a sieve or similar device to separate the bone from the edible meat tissue. In 1982, a final rule published by FSIS on mechanically separated meat said it was safe and established a standard of identity for the food product. Some restrictions were made on how much can be used and the type of products in which it can be used. These restrictions were based on concerns for limited intake of certain components in MSM, like calcium.” 

However, due to the concern of the spread of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (Mad Cow Disease) the sale of MSM derived beef products was banned by the USAD in 2004.

Jamie Oliver recorded the following video for his show Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution in attempts to educate children on MSM as well as raise awareness nationwide. The video has since gone viral and has been viewed over 1 million times.

It was this video and documentaries like Supersize Me and Food Inc. that began sparking a flame of worry in the eyes of parents and health professionals alike and causing people to jump at almost any story attacking McDonalds and its fast food counterparts.  Here is where I must urge you to be careful about what you are reading, things are usually not so black and white.

These days it is very easy to forget that although the internet contains a wealth of valid information, it contains just as much junk. Instead of being filled with scientific facts, it is often covered with ideas, opinions and misconceptions. Reading the original article that brought me to the pink slime finding and choosing to do no other research could have caused quite a scare. While the article may have contained some truth, the real facts found I found on the USDA’s website lead me to believe that some of it must have been fabricated.

Humility is a good place to start when reading these articles, especially when it’s followed by research. It does take more time to sit, think and research a story but will certainly save you some humiliation when the facts come out.

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