There was some short-lived hope—at least on my part—that that the pink slime saga might be fading away by now.
Not only does the story continue to arouse activists to new heights of rhetorical rebuttal against those who would defend the use of lean beef protein, but now the outrage has done what many pundits have suggested was impossible: unite both left and right wing partisans in solidarity to condemn the ingredient that, no matter what happens, is finished as a legitimate ingredient in USDA-approved meat products.
Despite a Johnny-come-lately campaign by several Midwest governors to stand tall and try to explain both the economic and nutritional benefits of recovering beef protein for use in ground beef processing, the power—indeed, the fascination—with the very name “pink slime” has proven to be irresistible as fuel to fire up a talk show segment or to anchor a blog post devoted to the controversy.
Part of the problem is the weak-kneed response of USDA officials to the sudden outcry over what boils down to the product’s horrible nickname and less-than palatable imagery.
For example: Listen to what Kevin Concannon, USDA undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer sciences, told Radio Iowa last week:
“At the end of the day, lean finely textured beef is safe, leaner than the average beef that comes through the beef supply and it is less costly,” he said. “But we recognize it is a choice between using lean textured beef or another, less lean ground beef, and that is something we will have this coming school year.”
Wow, way to sell it, Kev.
In disgust we trust
The official non-response from our regulatory agencies was bad enough, but as you’d expect, left-leaning commentators really piled on. Consider how the progressive media typically handled the story, specifically The Young Turks talk show with Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian:
“Pink slime is disgusting. It’s an attempt by the meat industry to increase profits and find a way to use the meat that’s left behind: tendons, meat that’s stuck on bones, eyeballs, muscle tissue—all the parts that we used to toss out.You put all these parts into [a machine], it grinds it up and then you use this paste in bologna or hot dogs.
“We always knew that what was in a hot dog was disgusting, but even knowing that they put tendons and eyeballs in it, maybe that doesn’t gross you out. But what they do to make this ‘matter’ taste good is disgusting. First of all, it’s crawling with bacteria, so they wash it with ammonia. And the ammonia tastes really, really bad, so they use artificial flavoring. And since it’s a weird pink color, they have to use artificial dye.”