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Posted: 3:45 p.m. Friday, June 6, 2014

How to know if you're eating pink slime

By Clark Howard

ClarkHoward.com


Remember the news reports about “pink slime” a few years ago? If you eat meat, listen up so you’ll know how to answer when you’re asked, “Where’s the beef?”

Back in 2012, an ABC News report claimed that some 70% of ground beef sold in supermarkets had the pink slime additive. The story played out on social media and created a hostile environment for manufacturers of pink slime. The outcry was so effective that it practically shut down production of the dreaded pink slime. But that's about to change...

Here's why pink slime is making a comeback

Technically, pink slime is defined by Wikipedia as “low-grade beef trimmings and other meat by-products such as cartilage, connective tissue, and sinew.” It is used as a filler or to lower the fat content of beef. Part of the processing involves spraying the trimmings with ammonia or citric acid to kill bacteria, according to The Wall Street Journal. 

Today, pink slime is making a return as beef prices are skyrocketing. So how can you know if you’re eating this additive? Simply look for the term “finely textured beef” or just "textured beef." That’s the popular name for pink slime today, according to meat packer Cargill. The beef processing operation offers that juicy tidbit and more on the website GroundBeefAnswers.com.

Does this talk take away your appetite? Well, if you’ve ever worked in a kitchen in any restaurant, you probably know what a wonder it is that we’re all safe and sound after a meal! 

As for me, this news doesn't phase me at all. Yes, I eat red meat. I've upset people and concerned them about my lifestyle and my health when I say that. But though this news doesn't bother me, I want you to know about in case it is of concern to you.

On a related note, Ranco Feeding Corp. recently recalled 8.7 million pounds of beef products, which represents more than a year's worth of meat processing! 

7 protein-packed foods that are cheaper than beef

As I mentioned, the price of meat is sending shoppers into sticker shock. Beef prices are expected to rise 3 to 4 percent this year, according to the USDA. That's partly because the cattle herd has shrunk to a 63-year low, according to Bloomberg.

So what can you do about it?

Aside from taking advantage of weekly meat specials, shoppers may want to consider incorporating other sources of protein into their diet. Here's a list of 7 protein-packed foods that are cheaper than beef.

Moving from textured beef to cultured beef

Perhaps one day we won't have to worry about spikes in the price of meat...because it will be grown in a laboratory!

In a maybe not too surprising development, researchers have now held the first-ever taste test of what's called "cultured meat." That is, cloned meat made in a lab .

"The meat was produced using stem cells…from cow shoulder muscle from a slaughterhouse. The cells were multiplied in a nutrient solution and put into small petri dishes, where they became muscle cells and formed tiny strips of muscle fiber, " according to The New York Times"About 20,000 strips were used to make [a] five-ounce burger, which contained breadcrumbs, salt, and some natural colorings as well."

Who would have ever thought?