Next year, pink slime on fewer school menus

In this followup story to last month’s pink slime exposé (see previous post), I show it’ll be harder for schools to get their hands on products that contain “lean, finely-textured beef.” But not impossible.

If a school here doesn’t use its buying co-op to order its cafeteria meat, and it doesn’t ask the company that does its ordering (say, GFS) to avoid pink slime, they may still get it.

But good news for anti-pink slime people: if schools make sure they order with the same codes as last year, USDA will ensure those products are pink slime-free for next school year. So it’s a lot easier to avoid it.

I’m still trying to obtain a list from the Ohio Department of Education as to which districts in the state ordered pink slime beef and which didn’t. All USDA commodity orders go through ODE.

So-called “commodities” represent about 60 percent of beef schools buy — though poorer schools often hover hear 100 percent commodities, and richer schools might be assumed to avoid pink slime anyway… so the ODE’s tally should be a pretty accurate list of who buys pink slime and who doesn’t.

I’m especially proud that my description made it into the final cut of the story:

The substance has been added to most ground beef for at least a decade but has come under fire this year since a news story detailed how it’s made. The fat is melted out of fatty animal scraps, and what’s remaining, including connective tissue, is pressed together and mixed into ground beef to make it cheaper and leaner.

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