Lean, finely-textured beef, AKA pink slime. Creative Commons-licensed photo courtesy of Flickr user pennstatelive.
Journalism, if anything, is reading documents carefully. Especially when they come from corporations with big public relations budgets.
With this story — whose fallout I’ll probably continue to report in the coming weeks — I throw a wrench in what, at best, were corporate oversights with favorable consequences. At worst, they were calculated plans to deceive school programs that feed kids. Often the poorest kids.
Chicago Tribune reporters had uncovered the same situation in that city. But I had no idea about it until my report was done.
I’ll paste the first few graphs here, but I’d appreciate it if you read the story on the paper’s site, and even commented on Facebook if you have the time.
Schools feel misled about ‘pink slime’
News-Sun investigation prompts more scrutiny about beef schools buy
By Brandon Smith-Hebson
For weeks, local school districts told the public they don’t serve food containing the controversial beef product known as “pink slime.”
Turns out they probably do.
A Springfield News-Sun investigation revealed that districts and food vendors may have been inadvertently misleading the public. Three key beef suppliers to schools acknowledge using what detractors call pink slime in some of their products.
After asking more questions of the suppliers, a few school districts have changed their menus.
“They were telling the truth, but not the whole truth and nothing but the truth, is how I feel,” said Chris Ashley, director of Springfield City Schools’ meals program.