"Pink slime" is the term used for a mixture of fatty meat scrap and connective tissue (formerly used only for pet food and rendering) that is treated with ammonia hydroxide to remove pathogens like salmonella and E coli. These so-called "Lean Beef Trimmings," are produced by Beef Products, Inc.
Two former government microbiologists claim that, for political reasons, pink slime was approved for human consumption by USDA over serious safety concerns.
Government and industry records obtained by The New York Times in 2009 showed that "in testing for the school lunch program, E. coli and salmonella pathogens have been found dozens of times in Beef Products meat, challenging claims by the company and the USDA about the effectiveness of the treatment. Since 2005, E. coli has been found 3 times and salmonella 48 times, including back-to-back incidents in August in which two 27,000-pound batches were found to be contaminated. The meat was caught before reaching lunch-rooms trays."
Even apart from safety concerns, it is simply wrong to feed our children connective tissues and beef scraps that were, in the past, destined for use in pet food and rendering and were not considered fit for human consumption.
Due to public outcry, fast food giants like McDonald's and Taco Bell have stopped using pink slime in their food. But the federal government continues to allow its use in school food and has just authorized the purchase of ground beef which collectively contains an additional 7 million pounds of pink slime for consumption by our nation's children.