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Separating Pink Slime fact from fiction
BEAUMONT - by Lindsey Kovacevich - Most of us eat ground beef without giving it a second thought.
Now, because of two words-pink slime-many of us are thinking twice. Even though the Food and Drug Administration says the meat filler isn't dangerous to your health, some retailers like Jack's Pack-It are choosing to avoid it.
Meat turned into ground beef. Do you really know what's in it?
"Some of the retailers use pre-ground meat and it comes in a tube," said John Blanda, co-owner of Jack's Pak-It. "It's USDA approved. They grind the meats. You can put fillers in there. It may be something like beef hearts."
"It's sold in the industry in little tubes, pink tubes," said Mary Ellen Vivrett, Clinical Nutrition Manager for Baptist hospitals.
That's where the name pink slime comes from. It's gaining a lot of attention.
"You have the retailers that use the tubed ground meat," said Blanda. "They do it as a time saver."
Blanda says Jack's Pack-It doesn't use pink slime in its meats.
He says there's a problem when butchers use fillers.
"The beef hearts, they won't last as long as the chuck," said Blanda. "The separation occurs when the temperature varies and if it's in the case a little longer."
Jack's Pak-It uses what the owner calls a shoulder clod and no fillers.
"Price-wise, I don't see why anyone does it anymore. What you save in price you have to pay labor for someone to grind it. Might as well grind one single piece of meat."
But the USDA says if you do eat meat with pink slime, it's perfectly safe.
"We would have had some complications or notice of it at an earlier time," said Vivrett.
She says there always seems to be a new scare or fad in the food world.
"I think if we would concentrate on our healthy lifestyle and how we're eating and the food we are choosing. Concentrating on that instead."
Quick fixes. Scares like pink slime. They'll always come and go.
Experts say the focus should remain on incorporating healthier foods in your diet.
A meat processing plant in California has filed for bankruptcy because of nationwide criticism over pink slime.
If you want meat without pink slime, Jacks Pak-It is an option. Or ask your local store if it uses tubed ground beef. That's the kind that has pink slime.