Pink Slime

Inevitably, appropriately, the corporation behind much-hyped and much-maligned "pink slime" is run by a key Mitt Romney donor. Eldon Roth, the founder of Beef Products, is such a big Romney supporter that he's even cited in the candidate's 2010 book, No Apology, as a paragon of the American dream:

"America's industries and domestic markets are, in fact, breeding grounds for innovation. A young Eldon Roth held a blue-collar job in a cold-storage plant where beef was frozen soon after it was butchered. His idea: Instead of slowly freezing the meat in walk-in freezers, why not place the beef on conveys and pass it between two supercold drums, instantly freezing it to lock in flavor? Eldon now owns a very large jet. Far more important than that, he has created hundreds of jobs."

This adulation most likely relates to the $190,000 of beef money Roth donated to Romney's campaign in 2010, or the fundraiser he threw for him last year. Then again, it's in keeping with everything we already know about Mitt Romney that he'd be more impressed by jet ownership than, say, concern for protecting the public from ingesting disgusting chemicals in their food.

Romney has yet to comment on his connection to Roth, but I have to assume a painfully misguided sound-bite ("I'm not concerned with the very fat...") is just around the corner for Slimegate 2012. 

Image by Dave Herr.

Commentarium (42 Comments)

Mar 31 12 - 8:23am

There has to be a "where's the beef" joke in here somewhere, too.

Apr 04 12 - 11:19am

There is no beef, that's the problem. Romney now wants to kill poor people by cutting medicaid and removing health care. Now he's trying to kill kids by feeding them pink ammonia.

Mar 31 12 - 10:54am

People forget that while 'pink slime' is not the most appealing food product, there is NOTHING wrong with the way it's produced. The exact same steps are taken, and chemicals added when preparing any conventional meat. Jamey Oliver created a huge controversy over nothing, he's nothing more than demagogic health-food nutbag.

Mar 31 12 - 11:43am

You are a liar, Leeroy. Not all beef products are treated with ammonia. Shame on you for spreading misinformation.

Mar 31 12 - 12:35pm
Big Science

You know what is treated with ammonia? Every major food crop, all of them. Ammonia is the biggest source of nitrogen in fertilizer. "Pink Slime" being extra bad for you really is just marketing. Red meat is bad for you, red meat causes heart attacks and butt cancer. Getting mad about this one type of red meat is pure ignorance. Do you have any idea how chickens are raised? Do you know what goes into hog farming? The real question is are you comfortable with paying double or triple for the meat you consume, because that would be the real cost of reforming industrial farm practices.

Mar 31 12 - 1:16pm

There is a difference between treated with ammonia, where you put ammonia directly on the food, and grown with ammonia. Nitrogen is necessary for plants to grow better in fertilizers, and the plant breaks it down. further more, the animal then breaks down this plant even more. Im no scientist, but I would assume that the majority of the harmful chemical is discreted as waste. There is a complete difference then if you were to directly treat the meat with ammonia.

Mar 31 12 - 3:05pm

I am a scientist, and "Autism" is correct. There is a huge difference between food treated with ammonia and food grown with ammonia. As to your various other comments...I have no words other than I sincerely hope you have a job completely unrelated to anything that matters.

Mar 31 12 - 5:43pm
Phd Chemist

It is certainly clear that Big Science and Leeroy have no real clue about science. Informed and autism are both absolutely correct. And yes Big Science I am very aware of how all those things are done, know many people who do it and its why I choose to eat local and organic. Nitrogen fixation via the Haber process is very important for plant growth in "modern" agriculture but that doesn't mean its ok to treat something like protein in Ammonium Hydroxide and then try to sell it to me as unmodified meat. It is not the something as it was before treatment and I don't want or want my daughter to eat it.

Mar 31 12 - 7:42pm

To big science. Is your argument really "I know it's gross, but deal with it because money."?

Mar 31 12 - 11:11pm

...we should be comfortable with paying double or triple for the meat we purchase if the animals aren't raised in disgusting factory farm conditions. I love my meat, but really, nobody should be eating a steak a day, or even every other day. Oh, and that steak shouldn't be the size of your face, either. If everybody in North America ate the correct nutrients in the correct proportions, paying double or triple for your meat beef, chicken or pork wouldn't really put that big of a dent in your wallet since, you know, there are nuts and vegetables to supplement your protein needs.

Apr 01 12 - 3:58am
teabager=newneo con

When the neo cons placed a meat industry insider as head of food safety it was obvious something like this would happen. Notice how cases of Salmonella have shot up?

Mar 31 12 - 11:14am
Joey Satmore

American politics, best politics money can buy lol.

Mar 31 12 - 11:30am

In response to leeroy, are you saying there is nothing wrong with the way conventional meat is prepared? The only reason that stuff is approved is because its an iron triangle.

Mar 31 12 - 11:51am

Honestly, pink slime is a good thing for cattle. It saves us from having to slaughter millions of additional cattle and gets more protein bang for the buck. The real reasons you shouldn't eat meat is much much darker and larger. It is unsustainable, pumped full of dangerous chemicals, inhumane, unhealthy, makes you depressed, and if people gave up meat, we wouldn't be depleting our water supplies, oil reserves, and be able to feed much more of the world, as well as ending the horrible corn subsidies that may be one of the biggest evils the world has ever seen. I know these things because I am a scientist with one of the world's largest corporations and after knowing these things, I became a vegan.

Mar 31 12 - 2:14pm

What about the co-enzyme Q10 factor that you get from grass fed beef? I need a rib eye once in awhile. God made them tasty!

Mar 31 12 - 12:17pm nuff said

Mar 31 12 - 2:03pm
ras i

eat veggies their good for you if grown organically

Mar 31 12 - 3:54pm
finally healthy

Have you seen the NEGATIVE impacts of NON ORGANIC food?! Far outweighs by a milestone. Read that before you bash on organic. Just saying. Visit areas that are non corporate owned and ORGANIC. Much better environment all together. Go see for yourself and experience the difference. Nowadays, many articles are botched and misleading. Study and research yourself.

Mar 31 12 - 4:06pm

uhhh....that CGFI article..."Center for Global Food Issues", part of the Hudson Institute, largely funded by Monsanto, Cargill, ConAgra, etc. That one's pretty much out.

Other one says washing should take care of bacteria. Fungi can be an issue, IF the farmers dont follow guidelines. Not very damning, imo.

Please be a little more rigorous when finding/providing sources.

Mar 31 12 - 3:50pm
finally healthy

That pink slime stuff can KILL YOU. People are so misinformed it's crazy. Would you eat ammonia?! HELL NO! I once didn't care about what I ate until my body became so weak it couldn't fight off infections. Quit feeding and buying into this 'pink slime' because it's only for the profit of that company. They do NOT CARE ABOUT YOUR HEALTH. People don't realize that the food we eat (processed foods in particular) are THE sole causes of acne and MANY diseases. After having bouts of recurring infections (that several antibiotics did not cure) I changed my lifestyle completely and only try to eat RAW vegetables, fruits, and meat not treated with hormones, additives, and antibiotics and my infections have COMPLETELY disappeared. Eat well, exercise, take care of your body, and do NOT, I mean, DO NOT, eat the pink slime or ANYTHING with added hormones. Pink slime is used for Mcdonalds too. And everytime I eat Mcodnalds, I feel sick. Don't expect fast results either if you do have health problems. After all those years of feeding your body this junk, it'll take months before you get better. Perseverance with a healthy lifestyle will keep you healthy. Diabetes, Acne, yeast infections, minor infections, you name it. Pink slime is NOT SAFE. It's NOT NATURAL. DO NOT BELIEVE THAT IT'S SAFE.

Mar 31 12 - 4:16pm

*anecdotal evidence

McDonald's said they stopped using it. Whether they start again when the heat dies down remains to be seen...

I do really want to know that pink slime isn;t in my grocery store cuz ain't no way I'm not gonna eat burgers regularly.

Apr 02 12 - 3:26am

McDonalds does get the meat from another country or planet - here in the US? In Europe f. e. McDonalds is far more expensive and yes they serve better food and also beer.

Mar 31 12 - 4:03pm
finally healthy

Better yet, have you seen ANY politicians or anyone 'up there' that eats this stuff? They NEVER will because they know.

Mar 31 12 - 7:45pm

You speak from an uninformed stance. This very day BPI had a free picnic for the local communities. It was attended by Congressmen Steve King and Iowa Governor Terry Branstad they ate side by side with the citizens of the tri-state area.

Apr 01 12 - 1:02pm

I've lived in Iowa all my life and both Branstad and King are bought and paid for by Big Ag. They may have sat down and ate with the citizens in public but I guarantee it's a different story at home.

Mar 31 12 - 5:00pm

Pink slime and animals raised on a diet of nitrogen rich plants treated with ammonia are two different things. You see, when an animal ingests ammonia or ammonium, the product is broken down and most is eliminated through the wastes of the animal that ate it. However, pink slime is treated with ammonia and shipped with that ammonia still on it. The animals that digest the ammonia do live shorter lives because the ammonia is not great for their health, but they can at least break down the majority of it. Now if we are eating burgers that contain the slime, there is no breakdown process before we eat it. Would you go into your bathroom and drink bleach which has ammonia as a main ingredient? No, because you know that it is a chemical not meant for consumption.

Pink slime should be eliminated from our food supply and instead used in fertilizers after being broken down a bit more. Of course, they would have to stop spraying it with ammonia, but it would help crops grow better for the future. As for a long term plan, we should slow down on meat consumption and instead encourage people to eat more plants as they are more eco friendly and it takes less plants to feed us in comparison to the cow which is the equivalent to 10x the wheat it takes to feed a single person.

I myself can't remember the last time I had a hamburger or hotdog as I've been on a diet of almost exclusively plants. It has nothing to do with religion or beliefs really, I just prefer plants to meat. The meat I do eat is from fish, my favorite savory food.

I'm just trying to present some facts here as most of the comments are either full of terrible grammar or misinformed idiots. I myself have a B.A. in Biochemistry and I'm working my way through medical school, so I guess you can say I have a little credibility when it comes to matters like these. Make no mistake, pink slime is definitely an unhealthy "food" for any human due to the ammonia it is sprayed with. In fact, without ammonia, it would still be a horrible food alternative! They must spray it with ammonia so that it is safe for consumption because the slime is made up of mostly fatty beef and pig trimmings which we refer to as by-products nowadays and aren't even supposed to be used in DOG FOOD. Is this a big deal? Yes. If you are under the opinion that it doesn't matter because you are going to continue eating it due to its tastes, fine, but please order the slime yourself and cook it. Don't force your unhealthy choices on everyone else and their children.

Apr 01 12 - 4:36pm

I hope you understand that bleach is sodium hypochlorite - NaClO - and ammonia is NH3. They are completely different and bleach does not contain "ammonia as a main ingredient" as you stated. If you mixed bleach and ammonia, you would produce chlorine gas, chloramines and potentially hydrazine. This is potentially lethal and is basic Chem 101. Don't come to work in my lab if you don't know this. Maybe you should have gotten the Bachelor of Science instead of the B.A. Regardless, neither should be ingested.

Mar 31 12 - 5:30pm

Wow. The nearly complete polarization and hyperbole in these comments is impressive. What is it about the issue of eating meat that seems to drive everyone away from reasoned arguments?

To the morally militant "meat is murder and will kill you" crowd: Sorry. Homo-spaiens are omnivores, not herbivores. Sure, I suppose it it theoretically possible to eat a fully balanced yet animal product free diet, but the fact is that in order to survive we have to kill and eat other organisms. Yes we, as a culture, eat too much meat. Yes the conditions under which the animals live are deplorable, but the answer is not to stake out a moral high ground from which to judge and lecture. You see, that turns people off. You have a message you want heard, right?

To the "I needs ma steak and I wants it now!" crowd: You eat too much meat, and to keep the cost down , the quality of the meat you eat is crap, and you don't even know it. No you don't need a 16oz steak, ever. No, you don't need meat with every damn meal. And before you disregard the health issues posed by pink slime and feedlot cattle, I invite you to go follow an animal through the industrial meat production process from start to finish; from the feedlot all the way through the "mechanical separation" processes. If you have never personally killed, dressed and eaten an animal, you're in for a real treat. If you had a fast food hamburger recently, you just might vomit.

The answer here, as with many things in life, is in the middle. Face up to the fact that we kill things and eat them. It's not a moral issue, it's physiology, and it can be done in a humane manner. That said, eat LESS meat, of better quality and from sustainable production methods. You'll enjoy your meals more, and you'll get to eat more of them because you'll live longer.

And lastly, if you have to treat your meat with ammonia to make it safe to eat, you are doing something very, very wrong. Tell you what; just raise the bacteria by themselves if that's what you want to eat and skip the meat step altogether.

You see,

Mar 31 12 - 9:53pm


Apr 01 12 - 9:49am

if they are doing this to meat, they are doing just as disgusting, or more disgusting, things to every food processed in this country. What else will come out now?

Apr 01 12 - 11:37am
ondedho function

And all of this has... what to do with Romney? Another typical Nerve propaganda piece that uses a complete non-issue in a failed attempt to make some sort of point that actually makes no sense at all. And your low-brow readers eat it up.

Shoddy fucktard psuedojournalism at its worst.

Apr 01 12 - 6:07pm

it has 2 do w/ romney cause the guy gave him $$$ and romney wrote about him in his book, dood. did u read da article?

Apr 02 12 - 8:43am
iofind are

I did. So fucking what? How does this matter? Answer: it doesn't.

And you, sir, need to learn English. Dood.

Apr 02 12 - 10:01am

Pink slime, yet another violation of our rights. The gov’t constantly violates our rights.
They violate the 1st Amendment by caging protesters and banning books like “America Deceived II”.
They violate the 4th and 5th Amendment by allowing TSA to grope you.
They violate the entire Constitution by starting undeclared wars.
Impeach Obama, support Ron Paul.
Last link of “America Deceived II” before it is completely banned:

Apr 02 12 - 1:45pm
Barker. otheyke

So where in the Constitution does it say that private companies cannot offer pink slime-laden beef products for sale? Oh, right, it doesn't, so it's not a violation of any rights.

Not saying it's good for you, just sayin'.

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Jun 26 12 - 6:18am
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If all the fuss about pink sime (meat with ammonium hydroxide) was true, then why not attack chocolate, pudding, caramel, baked goods, cheeses, and gelatins? It is widely used in processing the above foods. A compound naturally found in beef, other proteins, including inside human proteins must be removed too!

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