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Mar 16, 2012 01:23 PM

Is there "Pink Slime" allowed in Kosher Chopped meat?

I haven't been able to find a thread on this question the subject of which (pink slime) is lighting up the boards and has gained national attention.........have I missed this discussion? Or have we not had one?

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  1. No. There are no Kosher certified processors who use this process. It's still just a tempest in a teapot. For a culture responsible for introducing ptcha and gribenes to the culinary world, who are we to call the kettle black?

    5 Replies
    1. re: ferret

      Ptcha? Think Aspic...and for Gribenes, chicherones...we didn't introduce these delicacies (I love both). Just like stuffed pasta, many cultures have their own version

      1. re: DebbyT

        And both are much more appealing than the pink slime.

      2. re: ferret

        ..and as far as I know neither ptcha and gribenes require an ammonia wash to make them safe for human consumption.....but thanks for your response!

        1. re: ChowFun_derek

          It's not an "ammonia wash" and it's also not "unsafe for human consumption." It may well be from parts of the animal that aren't considered kosher, but for the rest of the world there's really nothing unfoodworthy about it.

          In most of our Eastern European ancestor's days they were likely just as scrupulous about using every scrap of a slaughtered animal that they could, offal included. So sensationalistic naming aside, pink slime may sound like some mad scientist's concoction but it's not really worthy of headlines or alarm.

          1. re: ferret

            I must agree. "pink slime" is nothing more than lean meat, created from fatty meat by liquifying the fat at 100 F, then centrifuging. The problem is that 100 F is a great temperature for bacterial growth, so any derelict surface bacteria (and only surface bacteria would be potential pathogens with the time and temperature profile necessitated by the process) is killed- the meat is fumigated with ammonium hydroxide, which almost immediately reacts so that it is not present in the finished product. It's true that those fatty pieces used to be used for dog food, but that doesn't in any way mean they are only fit for dog food, just that in the past, there was no eceonomical way of ridding the meat of the fat- until now. Frankly, it's a great, inexpensive protein source, and I for one would be pleased if it were available kosher.

      3. For those still interested in the ammonia spraying process used in "pink slime" here is a link to the ABC TV story.

        14 Replies
        1. re: ChowFun_derek


          I do not think that the Kosher meats would use that....yuk!

          I will ask the butcher that I use in Monsey

          1. re: laura10952

            Not only are you naive, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with the meat called "pink slime" except this common name. The only reason it's not used in kosher meat is that there is no kosher source. Lean, fine-textured beef is something that people would seek out. Pink Slime is not.

            1. re: ganeden

              What is desirable to you about a processed lean fine-textured beef product? To me it sounds like it would have no flavor and a terrible texture, like a bad skinless hot dog.

              1. re: barryg

                ...and here is what your fellow "Chowhounders" are saying about it!!!


                1. re: zsero

                  No rational reason to expect a product labeled as ground beef to contain 100% ground beef? If the beef contains a low quality filler, it should be labeled. Of all consumers, I'd expect those who keep Kosher to be especially sensitive to truth in labeling.

                  1. re: barryg

                    This stuff *is* 100% ground beef. What else do you imagine is in it besides that? The label is completely accurate and honest, and there is no reason whatsoever why it should specify by what method the meat was extracted, any more than it specifies the precise cut the meat came from.

                    1. re: zsero

                      What is ground beef anyway? Most people would not recognize the "slime" as ground beef; rather, it is more like a processed meat product. Kraft singles are cheese in a broad sense, but quite different from naturally aged cheese, and the label states as much: "pasteurized process cheese product." The "slime" to me is more like an ammonizied process beef product."

                      The nomenclature is important so that consumers have some level of trust that what they are buying is what the label says.

                      Here is part of the USDA definition of "ground beef" as of 2005:
                      "May not contain added fat. Maximum total fat 30 percent. Cheek meat is permitted up to 25 percent and must be declared in the ingredients statement."


                      So cheeks must be labeled, but the processed protein "slime" does not. Why? Do you think producers should be able to grind up any part of the cow and call it "ground beef?" Consumers have a certain expectation of that term and it's not the literal one.

                      The reaction is emotional but I think it is partially a response to the recognition that we are losing control over what we eat. The USDA is supposed to protect us but they are in bed with the producers who want to pull a fast one on consumers.

                      1. re: barryg

                        What is ground beef? It is tiny particles of beef. And that is exactly what this "pink slime" is. Ground beef *is* a processed meat product. Grinding is a process.

                        "Must not contain added fat". Check. On the contrary, this "pink slime" is low-fat. I don't know why the restriction on cheek meat, but the "slime" isn't made from cheeks, so check.

                        Should producers be able to grind up any part of the cow and call it "ground beef?" Absolutely. That's what it IS.

                        "Consumers have a certain expectation of that term and it's not the literal one." Since when? You're making that up. Consumers have no such *reasonable* expectation. Unreasonable consumers can expect anything they like, but producers have no obligation to cater to their random whims.

                        "The USDA is supposed to protect us but they are in bed with the producers who want to pull a fast one on consumers." What on earth are you talking about? Why do you imagine the USDA should "protect" you from perfectly good meat, just because some *political activist* gave it an unappetising nickname?

                        1. re: zsero

                          The point is, the USDA regulates many details of nomenclature, e.g., the beef cheeks. "Ground beef" also cannot contain organs. How about the 30% fat requirement? Why can't producers grind up a 50/50 mixture of beef?

                          The reason is that "ground beef" means something to consumers, and it's not random. If I walked into a butcher shop and asked the butcher to grind me some meat, I would not expect him to make it 50% fat, and I would not expect him to extend the pound with ammonized finely chopped beef protein. I think most people feel the same way.

                          Do you think the USDA should get out of the labeling business? Should two packages of identically labeled "ground beef" be sold next to each other, one consisting of ground beef cheeks and the other of ground chuck?

                          1. re: barryg

                            As an aside, beef cheeks have appeared on may fine dining restaurant menus over the years, so it's hardly a waste product.

                        2. re: barryg

                          Barryg, cheeks, like tongue, are full of collagen and have an entirely different character when cooked, because the collagen remains hard unless subjected either to "low and slow" or long braising. Thus the limitation on cheek meat. Tongue, on the other hand, is considered offal, and therefore is not used. This lean, fine textured meat, on the other hand, has none of those characteristics, preserving instead the character of the product to which it is added, ground beef. I would suppose that a package labeled "Freshly Ground 100% Beef" would not be allowed the use of this material, or perhaps would have the amounts regulated (no more than 5% or 10%, which is analogous to how wine is labeled (varietal is at least 75%, vintage is at least 95%, etc.)

                    2. re: zsero

                      Hate to crude but
                      Would you eat snot?
                      It is the same thing to me and others
                      also it does not follow the food chain that we all learnt in elementary school forget college

                      1. re: laura10952

                        Mucus is very good at what it does. Why would I eat it when my whole gastrointestinal tract is coated with it? But in fact, I , and even you probably do, according to Wikipedia "Nasal and airway mucus is produced continuously, with most of it swallowed unconsciously, even when it is dried." But I would eat lots of protein, and that is what the lean fine-textured beef is. Protein without the fat. Protein that is 100% real meat. Protein that makes money for its producers because they take a product that used to be considered waste only because nobody could recover the protein until they came up with a very simple process, then they produce something useful. I'll give you a clue, I eat tofu too, though it is the coagulated protein of the soybean, something that used to be considered animal fodder in the Western cultures. Some people eat surimi, coagulated and extruded fish protein. I admit I draw the line at lutefisk. My, how squeamish the world has become. But then again, people seem to have become emotional rather than rational. Next thing you know, people will refuse to eat canned tuna because who knows what's really in there?

                        Then, there is your statement about the food chain. Since when is eating cow parts not part of the food chain? It's called "meat"!

                        1. re: laura10952

                          This is a patently ridiculous example. The fact that you personally equate a product to "snot" reflects your emotional response, but it's also irrational. As for your "food chain" comment, that really doesn't make sense. People pay top dollar for aged steaks on the bone, there are countless rib restaurants in the US and people happily "dig in" and eat all these because we have become programmed to think of them as delicious foodstuffs. What makes them more desirable than the "pink slime?" And what do you think happens when certain popular cuts of meat are removed from the bone? Is the part remaining on the bone filled with cooties?

              2. Folks, most of this thread is just rehashing as 'is it or isn't it gross' debate that really has no Kosher angle to it, so we'd ask you to take that discussion to the main thread: Further posts about that here will be removed.

                If you know for certain whether specific Kosher meat suppliers do or do not use pink slime in their products, that's great information that some of your fellow hounds will find interesting, and you're welcome to post it here.

                1 Reply
                1. re: The Chowhound Team

                  Was the MIX chopped chicken/beef sold for $2.99 a lb thursday night at the KRM pink slime?????