Despite recent reports of with the meat served for lunch, the San Marino Unified School District states that the “pink slime” is currently not being served at SMUSD.
What is being described as “pink slime” is actually lean finely textured beef (LFTB). According to the Wall Street Journal:
The additive, known in the industry as lean finely textured beef, is made from scraps remaining after cattle are butchered into cuts such as steaks and roasts. Processors remove the fat from trimmings, and in some cases treat the meat for bacteria with ammonium hydroxide. The product is then mixed with ground beef, often making it leaner, according to the company.
“The items I serve did not contain the ‘pink slime’—my items were not affected by it and I have the letter from the processor to verify that,” said Carolle Thompson, the SMUSD Director of Food Services.
These letters precede the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s March 15 announcement that schools could decide to not purchase “pink slime” in the National School Lunch Program. The earliest letter to SMUSD dates back to February 6. In the letter, AdvancePierre Foods states:
Even though the process of using ammonia hydroxide to manufacture LFTB beef is approved by the USDA and has been proven to be wholesome and safe, AdvancePierre Foods made the decision not to purchase ammonia treated beef for use in our school products.
However, letters from AdvancePierre Foods and Don Lee Farms state that the raw material that is sent to both for further processing is purchased by the USDA and is not required to have a label stating that it contains LFTB. Therefore, the processors that provide meat to the different schools have no way of knowing if the commodity meat purchased by the USDA and sent to them contains LFTB. Both processors state that the USDA is the highest authority to inquire about meat purchased by the USDA.
Intergrated Food Service also states that “[they] do not introduce Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB)…or any other ammonium hydroxide treated beef trimmings in the production of any of [their] processed beef items.”
J.T.M. explains it “does not use ammonium hydroxide in [their] process and [they] do not purchase material from any suppliers [that do].” M.C.I. Foods specifically said that it “does not purchase ground beef produced by Beef Packers, Inc.”
Thompson explained that because the reports on the “pink slime” do not affect the meat she serves, SMUSD will not be changing the meat provided during lunch.
And if the “pink slime” frenzy has left a proverbial bad taste in your child’s mouth, vegetarian options are always available through SMUSD.
Letters from the meat processors are attached.
Are you concerned about your kids eating meat from the school cafeteria? Share your thoughts in the comments below.