What is pink slime?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
Pink slime is semiliquefied scrap meat or trimmings. To ensure this slurry, which the food industry calls "lean, finely textured beef," isn't loaded with nasty bacteria, it's treated with ammonium hydroxide (the same cleaning agent in window cleaner). The spritz of gas is "generally recognized as safe" (a phrase also known as GRAS) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but the National Institutes of Health has a Web page on ammonium hydroxide poisoning. Go figure.

Pink slime was developed as an addition to pet food, but about 70% of ground beef sold in the U.S. at one time had it mixed in. Luckily, public outrage was enough to get most American grocery stores to stop that practice (at least temporarily). McDonald's, Burger King, and Taco Bell have stopped using the filler, as have many public school systems.

Continue Learning about Food Production & Health

"Flame Retardants" in Your Gatorade: Hazard, or Hype?
"Flame Retardants" in Your Gatorade: Hazard, or Hype?
We have a long history of doing questionable things to vegetable oils—and putting them in odd places in the food supply. The best-known and deservedl...
Read More
Why is milk pasteurized?
Margaret FloydMargaret Floyd
Milk pasteurization is necessary and mandated appropriately when it comes to industrial dairy pr...
More Answers
What can I do to protect my family from the effects of food dyes?
Alan Greene, MDAlan Greene, MD
The best way to protect your family from the effects of artificial food dyes is to avoid buying any ...
More Answers
Is Your Restaurant Organic?
Is Your Restaurant Organic?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.