USDA Whistleblower Gerald Zirnstein: 70% of US Supermarket Ground Beef Contains Ammonia-Treated ‘Pink Slime’
A former United States Department of Agriculture scientist is warning American consumers that 70% of ground beef sold in the nation’s supermarkets contains ammonia-treated ‘pink slime.’
ABC News reports that Gerald Zirnstein, the USDA scientist turned whistleblower, originally coined the term ‘pink slime’ in reference to what the government and beef industry call “lean beef trimmings.” That’s a euphemistic name to describe the concoction of connective tissue and scraps treated with ammonia and other nasty chemicals usually reserved for dog food and rendering that the government has approved for human consumption. ‘Pink Slime’ is manufactured by Beef Products Inc. (BPI), based in South Dakota.
In fact, as Moral Low Ground reported on Tuesday, the USDA is purchasing seven million pounds of ‘pink slime’ to be served in hamburger and other meat products in the federal school lunch program.
“It’s not fresh ground beef,” Zirnstein told ABC News. “It’s a cheap substitute being added in.”
“They’ve taken a processed product, without labeling it, and added it to raw ground beef,” the scientist told The Daily. “Science is the truth, and pink slime at this point in time is a fraudulent lie.”
‘Pink Slime’ gained national notoriety due to celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution TV program, on which the host attempts to reform school lunch programs to reduce childhood obesity.
Fast-food companies such as McDonald’s, Burger King and Taco Bell have stopped using ‘pink slime’ in their food. But apparently the government believes the stuff is just fine to serve to millions of American school children.
“I have a 2-year-old son,” Zirnstein told The Daily. “And you better believe I don’t want him eating pink slime when he starts going to school.”
How did the questionable product end up such an ubiquitous presence in our nation’s schools and supermarkets? According to The Daily, JoAnn Smith, the former undersecretary of agriculture appointed by President George H.W. Bush in 1989, is accused of pushing the product. Before being appointed to her government position, Smith was the president of both the Florida and National Cattlemen’s Associations. The government’s approval of pink slime led to a windfall of hundreds of millions of dollars for BPI.
Moreover, after stepping down from her government job in 1993, Smith was appointed to BPI’s board of directors, where she was paid at least $1.2 million over the following years.
“Scientists in D.C. were pressured to approve this stuff with minimal safety approval,” Zirnstein claims.