As many times as we’ve heard someone rattle off, “Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun,” we’ve never once heard anyone request a side of pink slime. Ick. Many years back, it hit the press that many fast food burgers contained an ingredient known as “pink slime.” Now as much as we may wish for this to be some obscure Nickelodeon reference, the slime is not the gooey green stuff from our TV childhoods, but rather, a beef-based food additive created from discarded beef cuts treatedwith ammonium hydroxide. If that’s the sort of thing we’re putting into our stomachs, it’s going to take a lot more than one apple a day to keep the doctor away.
Until recently, it was a little known fact that U.S. health officials cleared ammonia over 40 years ago, and it has been used in the production of many foods since then, including cheese and ground beef. Pink slime, formerly referred to as“lean finely textured beef,” is used as a filler for ground beef and is treated with ammonia to help remove pathogens such as salmonella and E. coli. We wouldn’t sip ammonia from the container, and we certainly don’t want to be chowing down on it at dinnertime. Nevermind the fact that these beef “trimmings” were initially sold as a low-value waste product used in pet food.
Our advice? Opt for another item on the menu, or choose a restaurant that doesn’t cater to the pink slime additive. Also keep an eye out for grass-fed, hormone-free beef. Organic is key. Naturally fed cows are happy cows, which make for happier humans in turn. If you’d rather steer clear of beef patties in their entirety, order the grilled chicken or try a vegetarian option. Both are healthy alternatives, and your body will forever thank you for holding on the that slimy pink stuff.
While restaurants such as McDonald’s, Burger King, and Taco Bell claim to no longer use pink slime in their food supplies, we compiled a list of some healthier options that have never taken the pink slime route, whether you’re looking for burgers, sandwiches, or a bit of Mexican fare.