Beef Products Inc (most utilitarian name ever, I think), maker of the “pink slime” beef product, are throttling back production and closing three of their four plants. The Dakota Dunes, S.D.-based company said Monday it is suspending operations at plants in Texas, Kansas and Iowa.
The beef product is made from fatty bits of otherwise unusable cuts of meat. The bits are heated and spun to remove most of the fat, and the lean mix then is compressed into blocks and exposed to ammonium hydroxide gas to kill bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella. I don’t know about you but I know when I think about what’s missing from my meat, ammonium hydroxide gas is the first thing that springs to mind. The result is a product that’s been used for years and meets all federal food safety standards. It is as much as 97 percent lean. Yum – beef product. Critics call the product an unappetizing example of industrialized food production and dub it “pink slime.”
This pink goo recently came to light and after the fallout McDonald’s has stopped using the product and the FDA says schools may opt out of using the heavily processed beef.
The company has acknowledged that recent public uproar has cost the company much of its business. Operations have also been reduced at the South Sioux City plant, and company officials said more than 650 people are affected by the shutdowns.