Farm & Garden

Pink Slime– It's Not About the Ammonia.

April 05 2012 - 12:03 PM

Mcd_1dollarReuters points out that ammonia is used in all sorts of food. They also quote several experts about the safety and viability of its use.

"Ammonia's not an unusual product to find added to food," Gary Acuff, director of Texas A&M University's Center for Food Safety, told a recent press conference hosted by Beef Products Inc. "We use ammonia in all kinds of foods in the food industry."

What I find interesting is that the consumer conversations around this topic are more about why it's used. Not simply that it's used. Pink slime is what it is, meat on a technicality. It's the reality of industrial food. Where we commended indigenous people for using every part of the animal, we condemn industry for the same thing.

The irony is that we've myopically focused on this one industry-tactic. We should be more outraged by the entire mess our food system is in- from farm (overcrowded, cannibalistic battery chickens)  to table (our most important one- a child's abysmal school lunch).

So while the media discusses the scientific details of ammonia. Maybe we should be looking at the whys of childhood obesity, diabetes in poor communities, a sliding scale of cheap food that has cheaped-out on all of us. Industrial food is often promoted as providing real food choice to people. If you're poor though what it actually does is take away choice. You will eat cheap out of necessity and as long as money is tight there will be no better solutions, only cheaper solutions. It's degrading. We have become slaves to this system.  As is said on Passover, "Next year may we be free." Pink slime is the bread of affliction.

I took a picture of a McDonald's yesterday. It's all related.

–Josh Brusin