McDonald’s scraps “pink slime” from burgers

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In the midst of a new ad campaign depicting high-quality ingredients and portraying McDonald’s suppliers as beef and produce connoisseurs, the fast food giant has quietly announced that they will cease to use spare beef trimmings treated with ammonium hydroxide.  Also known as “pink slime.”

The meat has been used as an additive in their patties and comes from the fatty parts of the cow most likely to harbor pathogens like salmonella and E.coli.  In order to make the meat available for human consumption it must be rinsed in a small amount of ammonia that mixes with the moisture in the meat to form ammonium hydroxide.  The compound makes the trimmings safe to eat.

“Pink slime” was approved by the Department of Agriculture in 2007 in an attempt to protect American meat from an outbreak of E.coli in Europe.  At the time it was also exempt from mandated increased testing for most ground beef based off the reasoning that the ammonia compound would kill any dangerous bacteria. However, the meat did not receive full support from everyone at the U.S.D.A.

Microbiologist Geral Zirnstein said in The Daily Mail, “I do not consider the stuff to be ground beef and I consider allowing it in ground beef to be a form of fraudulent labeling.” Reiterating the same level of disgust “pink slime” was most recently brought into the spotlight by British chef Jamie Oliver.  On an episode of his TV show, Food Revolution, the chef explained to families that the beef would normally go into dog food, but is rinsed in a compound normally found in household cleaners until it is suitable for humans.  Chef Oliver wasn’t the first to put the meat on blast.  The New York Times published an investigation on the product in 2009 in an article called “Safety of Beef Processing Method is Questioned” and the trimmings were a part of the documentary criticizing the food industry, Food Inc, in 2010.

As a result of the probing done by The New York Times and other sources there are reasons to believe that the product is less safe than meat of a higher grade that does not undergo the ammonium hydroxide treatment.  It has also been determined that using the scraps of meat that create “pink slime” only save about three cents per pound of ground beef.

In light of these findings and public disgust it is not surprising that McDonald’s has elected to remove it from the menu.  The company claims that the decision to drop the product did not stem from Jamie Oliver’s show. Reportedly they have stated that they stopped using the product months ago and discussed dropping it as far back as a year ago.

Todd Bacon, the Senior Director of Quality Systems for McDonald’s USA, said in an email that “the decision to discontinue its use was not related to any particular event, but rather a result of our efforts to align our standards for beef around the world.” Regardless of the reasoning McDonald’s regulars should be rejoicing in the fact that they are no longer consuming the highly unappetizing “pink slime” additive.


  1. GL

    February 1, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    Seriously, I’ve had an awful mystery illness for over 20 years. I’m not necessarily saying this Pink Slime is responsible however, this is really making me think. McDonald’s just admitted and removed the Pink Slime, but what other companies have been and will continue to do the same or similar things? Reasonably they say these “cleansers” are safe at small levels. How many products like this do we expose ourselves to every single day? True, it seems that ammonium hydroxide (which McDonald’s uses – or used) is a naturally occurring substance found in foods however, additional levels may not be safe especially if people don’t even eat McDonald’s and it’s happening in other places and in other ways, IT ALL ADDS UP! Plus, everyone is different. This may be a bad analogy but some people can drink a case of beer and barely feel it, another takes a few sips and they’re puking all night long.

    Additionally, there’s another point to this story besides the Pink Slime that we should not forget and that is WHY and WHAT the Pink Slime is/was being used on….it is/was being used on meat that is NOT meant for human consumption in the FIRST PLACE. So in other words, McDonald’s (and who knows who else) was basically taking food out of the garbage, hosing it down, and feeding it to us as if we are PIGS in TROUGH. Of course they make it look pretty because they shape it and put in a bun with some PROCESSED cheese and ketchup. Here’s another question, what kind of beef are they using now and how are they processing it now that the Pink Slime is gone?

    You know what though people, I got even worse news for you, it’s our own fault because we allow companies like McDonald’s and politicians that approve it to do ridiculous stuff like this. We give them the total and complete power. Don’t protest by sitting in streets, hit them where it hurts – in their wallets! Send a message to these companies AND THE POLITICIANS who support them that this lifestyle is no longer acceptable, the ANSWER IS SIMPLE DO NOT BUY THEIR PRODUCTS OR THEIR BULLS**T. If you go to McDonald’s tomorrow with your kids and feed the family a few happy meals and some poison because it’s cheap, tastes pretty good, and the kids are driving you nuts for the toys, remember that it’s your own choice. Go to the supermarket instead, it’s a little less convenient but likely cheaper, healthier, tastier (everything’s better when cooked with love, you should know that), spend an extra dollar for some silly toy at the register for your kid if you have to, AND IT WILL SEND A MESSAGE, a very loud message and none of us, except me, will have to yell.

    I for one am sick and tired of being sick and tired and while I already stopped eating at McDonald’s because I realized I became violently ill every time I did. I can definitively say now that I will NEVER eat McDonald’s again (not even a french fry, which I happen to love the taste of) and neither will my family no matter what they do just on sheer principle that they fed me and my family poison. AND I’m going to find out who else is doing this and which people in government are supporting it. Maybe you should do the same or at least start to be more aware of what you’re buying, especially when it comes to food. Like I said I’ve been mysteriously ill for over 20 years and maybe something is finally starting to make sense.

    Sick And Tired


  2. Sick and Tired II

    February 2, 2012 at 3:52 am

    McDonald’s has been using “pink slime” since 2007, it says so in the report. If you’ve been sick for 20 years, it’s only been the pink slime for the last 5.

  3. nikkky

    February 2, 2012 at 8:05 am

    yeah uh fastfood is bad

  4. tom

    February 2, 2012 at 8:06 am


  5. hey idiots

    February 2, 2012 at 8:08 am

    dont eat mcdonalds if you dont want to get sick

  6. Anonymous

    February 2, 2012 at 8:46 am

    just cook real burgers with real meat so i can eat real good.

  7. Anonymous II

    February 2, 2012 at 9:34 am

    eat a vegetable! …and not one in a can!

  8. MMGood

    February 2, 2012 at 2:00 pm


  9. Anonymous

    February 2, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    If it bothers you, eat at home. Not fair to condem McDonald’s for what every single vendor of ground meat is probably selling. At least they admitted they used it for 5 years and have stopped. I have been eating at McDonald’s for over 50 years and I’m just fine.

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