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Tell USDA to STOP Using Pink Slime in School Food!

Tell USDA to STOP Using Pink Slime in School Food!

Tell USDA to STOP Using Pink Slime in School Food!

On March 5, 2012, the online publication The Daily reported that the U.S. Department of Agriculture was making available to school districts ground beef containing, collectively, 7 million pounds of so-called “pink slime” (or lean, finely textured beef – “LFTB”) for use in school meals.


On March 6th, I started a petition asking USDA to stop the use of LFTB in ground beef destined for school food. A mere nine days into the petition (when we’d reached over 200,000 signatures), USDA announced that starting in the fall of 2012 it will offer school districts a choice of beef either with LFTB or without the filler.

Thereafter, many school districts around the country, including New York City public schools, the nation’s largest district, indicated they would take advantage of this option.

Some school districts have expressed concern, however, that due to cost and logistical reasons, they can’t take advantage of USDA’s choice. USDA has promised to offers schools more guidance later this year, after its vendor meeting. But meanwhile, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree of Maine garnered the support of 41 House representatives in asking that USDA simply discontinue the use of any beef with LFTB in schools, the original goal of the petition. Senators Robert Menendez (NJ) and Kristen Gillibrand (NY) have also sent letters to USDA in support of that goal.

You can continue to express your opposition to the use of LFTB in school food by, a website generously created and hosted by Jamie Oliver and the Food Revolution, with the endorsement of Moms Rising; Healthy Child, Healthy World; Center for Ecoliteracy; Cook For America; and Food Day.

Check out my blog post for more information

While the petition is now closed, please visit, a website generously created and hosted by Jamie Oliver in support of this issue.  You can also contact your Congressional representatives and ask them to support The Requiring Easy and Accurate Labeling of Beef Act (REAL Beef Act), introduced by Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, which would require any beef containing ‘finely textured ground beef’ to have a label at the final point of sale.

Pink slime” is the term used for a mixture of beef scraps and connective tissue (formerly used only for pet food and rendering) that is treated with ammonia hydroxide to remove pathogens like salmonella and E coli. These so-called “Lean Beef Trimmings,” are produced by Beef Products, Inc.





Two former government microbiologists claim that, for political reasons, pink slime was approved for human consumption by USDA over serious safety concerns.  ( and industry records obtained by The New York Times in 2009 showed that “in testing for the school lunch program, E. coli and salmonella pathogens have been found dozens of times in Beef Products meat, challenging claims by the company and the U.S.D.A. about the effectiveness of the treatment. Since 2005, E. coli has been found 3 times and salmonella 48 times, including back-to-back incidents in August in which two 27,000-pound batches were found to be contaminated. The meat was caught before reaching lunch-rooms trays.”Even apart from safety concerns, it is simply wrong to feed our childrenconnective tissues and beef scraps that were, in the past, destined for use in pet food and rendering and were not considered fit for human consumption.Due to public outcry, fast food giants like McDonald’s and Burger King have stopped using pink slime in their food.  But the federal government continues to allow its use in school food and has just authorized the purchase of ground beef which collectively contains an additional 7 million pounds of pink slime for consumption by our nation‘s children.Tell the USDA to STOPthe use of ground beef containing pink slime in the National School Lunch Program![You can follow the progress of this petition, including the latest media coverage and more information on pink slime, on my daily blog — The Lunch Tray (]



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