Pink Slime is Still Safe Despite Beef Products Inc. Factory Closures

Two weeks ago, the science and health sections of every newspaper in the country exploded with reports that children may be eating "pink slime" for lunch at their public schools. The controversy has grown so great that Beef Products Incorporated, the manufacturer of lean finely textured beef, is suspending operations of three plants that produce the stuff.

Despite the exaggeration floating around the web, the facts haven't change. Pink slime is practically no different than traditional ground beef in terms of nutritional content. And the ammonium hydroxide used to rid the beef of harmful pathogens isn't anywhere close to toxic in the amounts consumers are exposed to, either. Furthermore, almost no reporter has even bothered to cite contrary evidence. They just imply there is something wrong and that seems to be satisfactory.

But, there's good news. A handful of writers have picked up on the tomfoolery and are taking the media to task for unnecessarily scaring the public. Atlantic food columnist Ari Levaux pointed out that pink slime is comparable to other processed meats that we consume regularly and without a second thought. And, Levaux says, it's "... not even slimy." Science2.0 also used the panic party caused by pink slime to highlight how cartoonish and politically charged science reporting in this country has become, poking fun at hysterics like Jamie Oliver in the process.

It appears that the pink slime scare is proceeding like many previous health scares. Unsubstantiated fears make headlines early on, and the demand for a political solution gets a lot of publicity. As time goes on, cooler heads weigh in with science-based analysis and the controversy begins to die. At least, I hope that part turns out to be true.

For more, see “Pink Slime in Schools is No Problem”

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Cameron English

I cover public health, nutrition and science education for PolicyMic. I also write critical thinking exercises for high school science textbooks. My previous work includes freelance writing and editing for Science 2.0. I've never been paid by Monsanto for my opinions, though that would be awesome.

MORE FROM

Hillary Clinton says Republicans will be the "death party" if they pass health care bill

Hillary Clinton spoke out against the Republican's proposed bill on Twitter.

It's time to redefine the clitoris, according to sex education experts

"Words matter. They shape and mold our ideas and beliefs about our purpose, our bodies, our self-worth and our place in the world around us."

Al-Jazeera becomes a target amid Qatar diplomatic crisis

Gulf states are demanding the broadcaster be shut down.

5 blocks of London apartments to be evacuated over potentially flammable cladding

800 North London apartments will be evacuated following a fire inspection that turned up evidence that the buildings could be unsafe.

Tomi Lahren wants to rally women to her side after criticizing feminists and "pro-choicers"

"My view on abortion is not black-and-white," Lahren said.

These 5 states are drafting laws to limit protests on college campuses

The legislation is intended to protect free speech on campus.

Hillary Clinton says Republicans will be the "death party" if they pass health care bill

Hillary Clinton spoke out against the Republican's proposed bill on Twitter.

It's time to redefine the clitoris, according to sex education experts

"Words matter. They shape and mold our ideas and beliefs about our purpose, our bodies, our self-worth and our place in the world around us."

Al-Jazeera becomes a target amid Qatar diplomatic crisis

Gulf states are demanding the broadcaster be shut down.

5 blocks of London apartments to be evacuated over potentially flammable cladding

800 North London apartments will be evacuated following a fire inspection that turned up evidence that the buildings could be unsafe.

Tomi Lahren wants to rally women to her side after criticizing feminists and "pro-choicers"

"My view on abortion is not black-and-white," Lahren said.

These 5 states are drafting laws to limit protests on college campuses

The legislation is intended to protect free speech on campus.