A pink, slimy meat product made from slaughterhouse trimmings can now legally be classified as ground beef.
Manufacturer Beef Products Inc. sued ABC News after the network repeatedly dubbed the product “pink slime” in a 2012 documentary. The lawsuit was later settled.
Since the 1990’s, so-called “pink slime” was considered a standard filler or additive to ground beef, according to New Food Economy.
Beef Product’s Inc. says on its website ground beef has always been made with beef trimmed from the whole muscle cuts, and the difference in its product is the precision that it uses to trim the meat.
In recent years, the South Dakota-based company has been making technological improvements that allow it to process more of the cow during food production — resulting in something that can be more accurately described as “ground beef,” according to the Washington Times.
The business recently presented those changes to federal regulators.
“We can take 100 percent of our lean ground beef and produce a patty out of it and do a taste panel against other commercially available ground beef,” Director of Sales Craig Letch told The Times. “We demonstrated there was no difference “
The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) agreed. And, it agreed to label the product as ground beef.
How was the decision made?
The FSIS reviews submissions from companies that are trying to get new or revised labeling decisions. As part of that process, the FSIS inspects ground beef products and tests them for pathogens.
Federal regulators reviewed a new production process from Beef Product’s Inc. and determined the resulting product was “lean finely textured beef” and could accurately be labeled as ground beef.