No more slimeburgers? Until recently, 70 percent of burgers in the United States contained “pink slime”, also known as ammoniated boneless lean beef trimmings, a cheap beef filling unfit for consumption until it is gassed with ammonia. Now McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and Burger King are dropping the magic additive following a campaign of withering criticism from celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. Via the Argus Leader:
McDonald’s and two other fast-food chains have stopped using an ammonia-treated burger ingredient that meat industry critics deride as “pink slime.” The product remains widely used as beef filling in burger meat, including in school meals.
The beef is processed by Beef Products Inc. in Iowa and in three other states. One of the company’s chief innovations is to cleanse the beef of E. coli bacteria and other dangerous microbes by treating it with ammonium hydroxide.
“Basically, we’re taking a product that would be sold at the cheapest form for dogs, and after this process we can give it to humans,” food activist Jamie Oliver said in a segment of his ABC television show, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, that aired last spring.
BPI, which once boasted of having its product in 70 percent of the hamburgers sold in the country, has lost 25 percent of its business. McDonald’s has been joined by Taco Bell and Burger King in discontinuing use of the product, and the company is worried other chains and retailers will follow them.