Saturday, April 14, 2012

White Slime, Advanced Meat Recovery, etc.

"advanced meat recovery"
By Lena Groeger at ProPublica: "Lean finely textured beef," aka "pink slime," sparked an uproar when the USDA bought 7 million pounds of the stuff for school lunches. But burger filler isn't the only way that meat packers maximize production. Mechanically Separated Meat ("white slime"): is a "paste-like and batter-like meat product" made by mechanically removing meat from animal bones. Carcasses are forced through "a sieve or similar device under high pressure to separate bone from the edible tissue." The remaining fragments (the USDA limits how many bits of bone are acceptable) are ground up into a paste and added to other processed meats. Manufacturers must always label "mechanically separated" pork, chicken or turkey on the ingredients list. According to the American Meat Institute, the product is no longer typically used in chicken nuggets (McDonald's has repeatedly claimed that its chicken nuggets only contain chicken breast meat). Mechanically separated beef was prohibited for use as human food in 2004 due to concerns that spinal tissue (potentially carrying mad cow disease) could get mixed into the meat. Mechanically separated poultry and pork are still allowed. Advanced Meat Recovery: Pieces of meat that have been scraped, shaved, or pressed off the bone by special machinery. Without grinding, crushing or pulverizing the bone itself, a machine removes edible tissue from beef and pork bones. If the resulting bits have more than 150 mg of calcium per 100 grams (indicating the presence of bones) they must be labeled "mechanically separated" meat. Otherwise it is labeled the same way as any other meat - such as "beef" or "ground pork." The USDA requires that the spinal cord be removed before processing the neck bones and backbones, so that pieces of the chord do not get mixed into the meat." Sources: USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, The American Meat Institute.