Let’s talk about meat. By now I am pretty sure most of the world connected to the internet has heard of the “pink slime” scandal. Pink slime is a byproduct of meat processing that usually gets thrown away or put in animal food. Factories make pink slime out of all the scraps: tendons, trimmings, stomach linings, and otherwise unusable bits. Pink slime is used as a ground beef filler and is thought to be in at least 70% of all ground beef. The USDA (against the warnings of its own scientists) approves the use of pink slime in school food, even though it is treated with ammonia to kill E. coli and Salmonella. I repeat, pink slime is being put into school lunches, this stuff is being fed to America’s kids and my peers and the USDA isn’t doing anything about it. Even McDonald’s, Burger King, and Taco Bell -companies not exactly known for healthy food- refuse to use this byproduct in their recipes.
This is gross and just plain wrong. Also, the USDA doesn’t require packaged meat to have any indication of its filler content, so it can be very difficult for customers to tell what they are getting.
Now, I am a vegetarian, so meat in general is pretty unappetizing to me. But for those who like meat, there are plenty of farms that provide healthy, pink slime free meat. Not only that, but their animals are raised in great conditions and lead happy lives. Some good sources in the Charlotte area are Grateful Growers (check out the pictures of their piggies!) and Baucom’s Best (100% grassfed beef). Both of these farms sell their products at the Matthews Community Farmers’ Market, which also has fresh produce and other handmade goods.
Another helpful resource is a link to a Change.org petition. This petition letter asks USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to ban the use of pink slime in school food. You can add your name to the petition at http://www.change.org/petitions/tell-usda-to-stop-using-pink-slime-in-school-food.