The term “pink slime” has been thrown around a lot recently and sounds more like a consequence on a game show than what it really is –an inexpensive filler used in meat that consists of beef trimmings.
Pink slime has become on the minds of shoppers at Watertown markets.
, a small Watertown market that carries its own meat, has experienced an influx of inquisitive customers who now make sure to ask about pink slime before buying any beef. Manager, Michael Caira, gave an insight of a normal day at the store with customers who have this new knowledge,
“They recently have been asking, ‘Oh, you don’t use it [pink slime] right?”
And their answer is always no, as they grind their own hamburger fresh everyday. Although Caira says there has not been enough time to see a significant increase in revenue, what he has seen is an increase in questions and satisfaction from customers.
“We made it known that we don’t use it and its reassurance to customers whose reaction is always, ‘Oh, good!” said Caira.
So, what exactly is pink slime?
Also known as finely textured lean beef, according to ABC News, this product is an inexpensive filler used in meat that consists of beef trimmings. The trimmings are collected by putting them under heat, which makes the fat separate from the muscle. The process is completed by treating what is gathered with ammonia to kill the bacteria that the trimmings inevitably contain.
All of this is done so meat companies can save money on producing fresh ground beef and use this substitute instead. The ABC News report found startling numbers claiming that until recently, pink slime was added to 70 percent of all ground beef sold at grocery stores and also to fast food and school lunches.
Before this controversy blew up, many shoppers did not think twice about what their meat contained, but after the beef hit the fan people are more careful about what they are buying.
, another Watertown butcher shop that sells fresh meat, steers clear of pink slime. An employee of the deli said that he has seen many new customers recently and the majority of them come in to buy hamburger meat.
“I cut the meat right in front of them and have never mixed anything in it and they see that,” he said.
The Wall Street Journal reports on the economic hit that meat distributors have faced since the news of pink slime broke. At least some places, like Coolidge Variety and Deli, are benefiting from it. They have seen an increase in revenue from customers who have jumped ship from the big grocery chains to local butchers to buy their meat.
According to ABC News, Beef Products Inc., the main manufacturer and pink slime creator discontinued production of the filler in three out of four of their plants earlier this week, but the actions of Watertown residents has shown the shift towards buying fresh beef has helped some local butchers.