Don’t worry, Lawrence parents, your child isn’t being fed pink slime. Well, at least they aren’t eating it at school.
Across the country, parents and consumers have raised concerns about a filler used in ground beef that is treated with ammonium hydroxide.
The meat industry refers to it as lean finely textured beef, an ingredient made from the leftover, fatty pieces of meat. As part of the process to reduce the fat content of those pieces, the filler is exposed to ammonium hydroxide to kill harmful bacteria.
Food safety advocates have dubbed the filler “pink slime.”
The additive is approved by the USDA, which maintains the product is safe. But on March 15, after the issue of “pink slime” exploded on in the news and social media, the USDA announced that schools would be allowed to choose if the ground beef they buy has been treated with ammonia.
In response to the USDA’s decision, Paula Murrish, the division director for food services and purchasing for the Lawrence school district, informed principals that the district doesn’t purchase products with the ammonia-treated ingredient.
The district’s food vendor, Advance Pierre Foods, which is based in Cincinnati, notified its customers in February that they had “made the decision not to purchase ammonia treated beef for use in our school products.”
J.T.M. Food Group, another Ohio-based company, also sent a letter about that time to school customers to confirm that they don’t use ammonium hydroxide in any of their processes and don not purchase material with ammonium hydroxide.