Pink slime has been in the newspaper lately. A company called Beef Products, Inc. sued ABC News for a series of exposés that the TV station ran on “pink slime.” The lawsuit was settled out of court.

What is pink slime and where is it used? The technical term for pink slime is “lean, finely textured beef.” That is the industry term. It is a multibillion-dollar business. But it just may be killing us.

Pink slime is made from the trimmings of the cow which were previously unlawful to feed to humans. It was only used for pet food. Then a gentleman named Eldon Roth figured out a way of making it less harmful. He treated these beef trimmings with ammonia (that is right, ammonia… that is not a typo). Worse, the ground beef is then treated with carbon monoxide to keep a nice pinkish-red shade while it is on the shelf.

In any case, once Eldon Roth figured out how to kill the deadly bacteria that were part of these beef trimmings, he was able to create his product: “lean, finely textured beef” and convinced not only fast food chains but also schools to include this ingredient in their hamburgers in order to add a low cost component as a “filler.”

When Beef Products, Inc. submitted its process and product to the USDA for permission to sell it, a USDA microbiologist named Gerald Zirnstein called the processed beef “pink slime” in a 2002 email message to colleagues and said, “I don’t consider this stuff to be ground beef and I consider allowing it in ground beef to be a form of fraudulent labeling. It’s pink. It’s pasty. And it’s slimy looking. I call it ‘pink slime.’ ”

Yet despite this analysis from one of its own staff microbiologists, the USDA has gone on to approve pink slime to be included in our food supply. Many fast food chains use various amounts of it in their burgers, ranging anywhere from 30% – 75%. It is also included in the children’s lunches in school.

You simply cannot make this stuff up. This is what our government allows to be included in our food supply without any special labeling or notification. To allow us to eat previously disallowed beef trimmings because it has been treated with ammonia and then carbon monoxide is not about food safety. It’s about putting corporate profits ahead of the general welfare.

Paul Profeta

Paul Profeta


Paul V. Profeta co-founded Profeta Farms with his wife, certified Integrative Nutrition Coach, Joanne Malino and organic farmer John Place. After graduating from Harvard College and Harvard Business School, Paul created a very successful real estate investment company. Concomitantly, he taught and published at Harvard Business School, created the Real Estate Investment Department at Columbia Business School, and most recently endowed the Chaired Professorship of Real Estate at Rutgers Business School resulting in the creation of the Rutgers Center for Real Estate. As a successful athlete in high school and college, Profeta was always interested in health, nutrition, and alternative medicine. Eventually, he decided that America has to change the way it feeds itself. Industrialized food processors shipping food across the country creating a large carbon footprint and offering “food products” with known contaminants and questionable ingredients was not the answer. He has created Profeta Farms, LLC as a template for the way America should feed itself… local, sustainable, certified organic farms featuring integrity and transparency, using the environment in a sustainable and responsible fashion while treating animals humanely so that local shoppers can “know their farmer” and personally check on the farmers methods and ingredients.


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