Baltimore schools: no “pink slime” on menu


Mmmm. Ammonia-treated beef trimmings, a.k.a. “lean finely-textured beef,” a.k.a. “pink slime.”

Photo by: Beef Products Inc. via AP

Baltimore public school students are not getting slimed, we’ve discovered.

Celeb-chef Jamie Oliver has been continuing his campaign to horrify America by pointing out the disgusting stuff its citizens consume. The latest – an ammonia-treated beef byproduct dubbed “pink slime” that is used as a filler in hamburgers.

Under pressure by a petition campaign and a meat industry public relations nightmare, the U.S. Department of Agriculture decided last week to let schools choose products without it. McDonald’s has vowed to stop using the product, and so have various school systems.

The 110,000-student district where former Baltimore school lunch czar Tony Geraci now works, Memphis, hasn’t used the product at least since he arrived in October, he told the Associated Press.

AP quoted Geraci, executive director of child nutrition for Memphis schools stating what seems like, the obvious: that the stuff is “horrible.” (Though of course, there’s a National Meat Association that says it’s safe and many of us have, no doubt, unknowingly eaten buckets of the stuff in our lifetimes.)

“Any time you buy something that is chunked, chopped or formed, you run the risk of problems with product integrity,” Geraci said. “We buy whole-muscle stuff. We buy whole pork shoulders. We buy whole turkeys.”

What About Baltimore?

Here’s what city schools spokeswoman Edie House-Foster told us:

“I have checked with the head of food services. Mr. [Antonio] Womack  [Director, Food and Nutrition Services] informs me that the vendors who supply us report that they do not use finely textured beef or ammonium hydroxide [a.k.a., pink slime] in our ground beef products.”

So that’s where the matter stands.

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  • Marc

    “AP quoted Geraci, executive director of child nutrition for Memphis
    schools stating what seems like, the obvious: that the stuff is

    LOL, I bet most parents with a choice would force-feed their kids pink slime before sending them to the Memphis public schools. Same goes for the BCPSS: I’m guessing that pink slime would rank very, very low on the looong list of problems afflicting the dysfunctional school system. And compared to the limited stock of junk food available in the decrepit corner stores (which is what many poor kids seem to subsist on), I’m guessing that pink slime might even be a dietary improvement.

    Ammonium hydroxide is one of the most common food additives out there. I’m not arguing that it’s any good, but compared to all the other processed crap we shovel into our pie-holes every day, I’m guessing that pink slime is rather mundane. Hell, I bet the average hot dog is more dangerous – you don’t see school systems banning those!

  • dan

    that’s one of the reason i don’t let my kids hv their lunch in school cafeteria, no disrespect. we prefer home cooked meal. Next week, me and my wife will have an in-class Healthy International Food lunch donated by parents and several restaurants in Mt. Washington area. 

  • Unellu

    When Chef Jamie Oliver hated Pink Slime and Schools woke up to the TRUTH about “Pink Slime

    From the series “Living in these United States”
    A Poem addressing Baltimore’s unfortunate public school students

    Do you eat potato chips, corn chips,
    cookies, candies, pies?
    Do you eat heavily salted,
    oil oozing, giant
    french fries?
    Do you gobble up
    Lo Mein and fried rice?
    But your stomach twists
    And screams in pain
    with pretty “pink slime”?
    Do you eat cheesy pizza,
    extra pepperoni
    and hot pepper on the side?
    Do you guzzle Mountain Dew,
    corrosive coke,
    smoke dope and waste your time?
    But “Pink Slime” You think
    is a crime,
    “Pink Slime” you can’t abide?
    Your mama never cooks at home,
    Your papa comes and goes,
    Chicken tenders, Buffalo wings,
    Nothing on your plate that’s green,
    Do you raid the fridge at night,
    Looking for your favorite dream?
    Slabs of chocolate, slices of cheese,
    Ice cream with gobs
    of cookies and cream?
    But “Pink Slime” is the biggest
    nightmare of all,
    “Pink Slime”
    It’s worse than alcohol,
    and whatever else
    you may be sneaking?

    Because Jamie Oliver needs a cause,
    “Pink Slime” is enemy number one,
    It must vanquished at any cost,
    It’s in every meat that’s chunked and chopped,
    It must be nabbed, it must be tossed,
    School bureaucrats now on the march,
    Prepare to put “Pink Slime” to torch,
    They sing an anthem to good meals,
    They crusade and carry on with zeal–
    to justify their salaries,
    The meat lobby then in quick response
    sings its witty ditty back,
    It says “Pink Slime” is safe to eat,
    Buying the stuff in bulk in sacks.



  • Roger

    Nobody should buy any meat from a chain grocery store.  Buy where they grind and cut in house.

  • Dexter
  • Daniel E

    Thanks for finding out. The safest option it seems to be just go vegan or eat meat sparingly. All these diseases, contaminants, questionable processing, and health effects make me glad I gave up meat for Lent.

  • Baltimoreplaces

    Can we please end all agricultural subsidies!  People are not meant to eat this stuff.  This cheap food is really not as inexpensive as we think…  Obesity, diabetes, lack of energy, skyrocketing health care costs, environmental damage etc…  This, like oil, if we put a true cost on it, it would be many times higher.  Small local farmers can not compete.  It is insane, we have malnuruished obese people. 

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