The 'Pink Slime' Story ContinuesWed 28 Mar 2012
Story by Food Revolution Team
Stop ‘Pink Slime’
Yesterday, three weeks to the day after setting up her petition ‘Tell The USDA to STOP Using Pink Slime In School Food’ on Change.org, Bettina Siegel closed it with a grand total of 258,874 signers.
As we reported two weeks ago, following news that ‘Pink Slime’ is found in up to 70% of all beef sold in supermarkets in the US, and that the USDA planned to purchase a further 7 million pounds of ‘Pink Slime’ for school lunches, Bettina, one of our Food Revolution bloggers, started her petition.
Just nine days later, the USDA announced that schools will from next school year (this fall) have a choice in whether the ground beef they buy contains ‘Lean Finely Textured Beef’ (LFTB, popularly known as ‘Pink Slime’) or not.
Since then, many school districts across the US, including New York City public schools, the nation’s largest district, have indicated that they will not be choosing to use ground beef containing ‘Pink Slime’ in their school food. Other school districts have expressed concerns that they may not be able to make changes and take advantage of choices due to costs and budget. However, the USDA has stated that it will offer more guidance to schools about this new choice after its vendor meeting in April.
The USDA is not the only one making changes. Following media coverage and public outrage that up to 70% of ground beef sold in supermarkets in the US contains ‘Pink Slime’, some of the biggest supermarkets in the US such as Safeway have stepped up to say that they will be taking ‘Pink Slime’ containing products of their shelves, while other supermarket giants such as Walmart have declared that they will give consumers a choice in the ground beef they buy – either containing or not containing ‘Lean Finely Textured Beef’.
Support from Members of Congress
The ‘Pink Slime’ topic has also continued to gather the support of members in Congress, as Congresswoman Chellie Pingree has assembled the support of 41 House representatives and submitted a sign-on letter asking that USDA discontinue the use of any beef with LFTB in schools, recognizing that that USDA’s offer of a choice to schools may not be a viable solution for all. Senators Robert Menendez (NJ) and Kristen Gillibrand (NY) have also sent letters to the USDA in support.
In order to support Bettina’s petition and to continue the momentum around this topic, last week we launched with the support of some amazing organizations, a hub for the movement around ‘Pink Slime’ - StopPinkSlime.org.
If you want to find out more about ‘Pink Slime’ see what others are saying about it and share it with your friends, head on over to StopPinkSlime.org. Don’t forget to follow the conversation on twitter using the hash tag #PinkSlime and join us on Facebook.
“I believe People power has made large organizations across America rethink the use of pink slime and refuse to sell and use products which contain it. Allowing this cheap low quality meat product to be used in food for so long without having to legally state its presence on packaging needs to stop. We need transparency. I hope the USDA is listening. Everyone who is told about pink slime doesn't like it in their food - school kids, soldiers, senior citizens all hate it. This is just the tip of the iceberg as far as food controversy is concerned but the positive is the public is starting to stand up for real food!! Long may it continue.” Jamie Oliver
Some of the biggest news to be released this week comes as manufacturers of ‘Pink Slime’ suspend operations at 3 of 4 plants.
Beef Products Inc. (BPI) will suspend operations at plants in Amarillo, Texas; Garden City, Kansas; and Waterloo, Iowa.
Workers are on paid leave for 60 days while it launches a public relations program. This news brings mixed views and comments from members of the public all across America, you can join the conversation and share your views on the Stop Pink Slime Facebook page, on the Food Revolution Community page and we’ll keep you updated as more news breaks.
Did you sign Bettina’s petition on Change.org? See her open letter to supporters here.
The Food Revolution Team
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