Consumers have right to know facts about pink slime
During the past month, consumers and media outlets have expressed outrage over a beef additive found in many products that resembles a pink slime in its manufacturing process.
The product, called lean finely textured beef (LFTB), is composed of carcass trimmings that have been warmed, centrifuged for fat removal and treated with ammonium hydroxide gas to destroy pathogens such as E. coli, according to The Atlantic. Then, the product is compressed into blocks and put in freezers prior to being used.
Though the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) deems LFTB safe for human consumption, the public as a whole has rightfully been disgusted by the facts behind their daily meals. Consumers should be allowed to dictate what products they put in their bodies, and attempts to keep the product in the food industry without public knowledge should be stopped.
The uproar surrounding LFTB can be attributed to both its ammonium hydroxide ingredient and cultural values.
Though E. coli cases have decreased substantially because of the ammonium treatments since LFTBs introduction in school lunches, according to MSNBC, ammonium hydroxide is still a chemical found in fertilizers and household cleaners, and can release flammable vapors. When mixed with certain acids it can become ammonium nitrate, a common ingredient in homemade bombs. Even more disturbing is that the presence of LFTB in food products is not listed on nutritional labels, making it almost impossible for consumers to detect.
LFTB does have economical benefits, as it uses otherwise unusable parts of the cow. According to the Associated Press, one estimate suggests that it is used in about 50 percent of the countrys ground beef and burgers.
Some politicians, such as Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, have toured Beef Products LFTB plant to promote the safety of the product and agree that the industry has been a victim of a smear campaign, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. However, these political arguments are futile. According to the AP, Branstad has been given $150,000 over the past two years from individuals tied to Beef Products Inc.
Because consumers are now questioning LFTBs nutritional content, manufacturer AFA Foods has experienced a drop in demand. McDonalds, Wal-mart and other companies have decided to drop LFTB or give their customers a choice, and AFA Foods is now filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Ultimately, consumers are going to decide the fate of LFTB. As a nation that values free market principles, this is a solid example of the effects of supply and demand a process that wont be deterred by politicians touring manufacturing plants.
There are too many processed foods cherished in American food culture that pose potential health hazards. Education is a key element in exposing how our food is made and relying solely on government regulation is not enough to ensure full consumer consciousness.
Amanda Butler is a junior majoring in sociology and womens studies.
Get Top Stories Delivered Weekly
More usforacle News Articles
Recent usforacle News Articles
Discuss This Article
MOST POPULAR USFORACLE
GET TOP STORIES DELIVERED WEEKLY
FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER
LATEST USFORACLE NEWS
FROM AROUND THE WEB
- Help Find the Best Cancer Treatments for Kids
- Are You Eating Enough Vegetables a Day?
- Encryption Technology for Your Privacy
- Get to Know Sarcoidosis: A Complex, Misunderstood Disease
- What Is Million?
- Sugar Gliders, Pangolins & Foxes, Oh My! New Novel...
- Mom Knows Best: Even When Buying a Mother's Day Gift
- What the H? Rhum Finally Arrives to the Cocktail Party
- Study Finds Boomers Are Sinking Their Teeth Into Looking...
- Think Your Data is Safe? Think Again
COLLEGE PRESS RELEASES
- Course Hero Launches New Android App to Help Students Study Anywhere
- Ready for summer? Your next move can save you money, on self storage.
- GSK to Host "Rowing & Cycling Challenge" on World Meningitis Day
- Read the groundbreaking new book from Jeff Selingo, THERE IS LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
- ONE YOUNG WORLD'S ENVIRONMENT SUMMIT: THE ULTIMATE GRADUATION GIFT