Some hormones, chemicals, and non-meat matter are considered acceptable components in the meat products that the US produces, while other nations take a more stringent stance on what they consider permissible for human consumption. The European Union has permanently banned U.S. hormone-treated beef, believing it to be a health threat.
News site Hot Air reports that the the US government has purchased 7 million pounds of “pink slime” to be served as a component of lunches for US school children.
The term pink slime was coined by microbiologist Gerald Zirnstein. It refers to a ground-up blend of beef scraps, connective tissue, and other trimmings that has been treated with ammonium hydroxide to kill foodborne pathogens like salmonella and E. coli. The resulting product has a shocking pink appearance and a mouth feel described as more like Jell-O than hamburger. (For a more in-depth look at how pink slime is made, check out this segment from celebrity-chef-turned-buddinsky Jamie Oliverâ€™s Food Revolution, though suffice it to say the stuff is so gross that McDonaldâ€™s and Burger King swore off using it in January.)
When the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is willing to serve food mixed with pink slime particulate while the fast food joints reject the stuff, that should tell you something about how much the USDA values ensuring that the food US citizens consume is of the highest quality.
Texas beef producers sued Oprah Winfrey for disparaging their product after she aired a program in which representatives from National Cattlemen’s Beef Association lost a debate with a vegetarian activist. Oprah was eventually forced to apologize to the meat industry and allowed representatives from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association back onto her show to make their arguments for the safety of their product; no opposing view points were allowed on that particular show, where the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association was allowed to speak unopposed by any pesky activists.
Citizens of Taiwan are now protesting the US governments attempts to export to their country meat that contains ractopamine, a growth compound fed to cattle and pigs in the US, which is banned by Taiwan, the European Union and China. In lieu of an outright ban, the US wants Taiwan to set maximum residual levels for the amount of ractopamine that can be found in beef products. If the Taiwanese refuse to comply with the wishes of the US and lift the ban, the US has stated that it will refuse to sign any new trade agreements with the nation and will refuse its entry into a newly created US-led free trade organization.
If you are what you eat, then what does it mean when American citizens are consuming hormones and chemicals that citizens in other nations are willing to protest in the streets to avoid eating?