Is “Pink Slime” Healthy?

The processed meat-ish byproduct known as "pink slime." Bon appétit.

In the last few weeks, you’ve probably heard a lot about so-called “pink slime.” Otherwise known as “lean finely textured beef trimmings,” pink slime is a processed meat byproduct found in 70% of packaged ground beef in the United States. Rather than being made from muscle tissue, this meat-ish byproduct is created from connective tissue and treated with ammonia hydroxide to kill salmonella and E. coli.

Doesn’t sound too appetizing. And really, the publicity about pink slime was one of the rare instances where mainstream consumers peered behind the veil and saw the unpleasant reality of industrial farming. The family farms and red barns that adorn product packaging are far cries from the shocking truth about how our food is made.

Despite the unappealing process by which it’s created, the USDA considers pink slime safe for human consumption. Moreover, when it is added to ground beef, current regulations do not require that it’s disclosed on labels.

Of course, safe and healthy are two different things. Twinkies are safe for consumption, but certainly not part of a healthy diet. The truth is, most Americans eat far too much red meat – pink slime or otherwise. In fact, a recent study by Harvard researchers concluded that 9% of male deaths and 7% of female deaths would be prevented if people lowered red meat consumption to 1.5 ounces (or less) per day. That’s a sobering statistic.

The moral of the story is to eat less red meat. Period. It’s not that we need to exclude red meat entirely, but most of us would be significantly healthier with less red meat in our diets. Back in January, I made the decision to limit my red meat consumption to twice weekly. Instead of including red meat as a staple in my diet, it’s more of a special treat – and, when I do eat red meat, I usually opt for healthier, grass-fed varieties.

If you hold the mindset that your body is a temple, then you’d want to fill that temple with those things that honor it. Twinkies, pink slime and the like certainly don’t make the cut; make those food choices that nourish, energize and lift up your body.

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  1. I couldn’t agree more, I was appaled when I first read about this “pink slime”. I truly believe that food is one of the most precious things for your body, and that something so important should never be reduced to its lowest common denominator.

    So many diseases which were never such a common threat came about in the 70/80’s when processed food became plentiful.

  2. Marcus(2) says:

    If we were to remove this pink slime from our food, more children will go hungry every night. Using a little bit of ammonia to kill diseases bacteria and viruses is not going to kill you. Along with proper cooking techniques no one need fear this “mutant” meat. That is why the USDA says its fine to sell and especially to schools who can then take the money they saved from not buying organic soybean fed prime angus beef kosherly slaughtered, to provide a better education to the developing youths. Secondly, if we didn’t eat this processed meat, meat prices would sky rocket in the eyes of the lower classes putting more burden on their wallets. The lower classes cannot afford high quality meat or the ability to be vegetarian or vegan because the cost of those lifestyles are out of their reach. And no we cannot adjust society to make these lifestyles cheaper, unless you want to burn more of the rainforest down. The world is complex, and society makes it complexer.

  3. One of the many reason why I only eat fish 🙂 that and in one small package of tuna there are 17g of protein and about a gram of fat 🙂 you guys can have the other meat I stick with fish 🙂

  4. A few months ago I watched the film “”. It really changed my views on what I’m putting into my body. A month ago I made the decision to have meat (fish excluded) once a week only. I’m feeling much better physically, and find that my overall attitude about daily situations is more positive too. And when I do eat meat or dairy– all organic, free range, grass fed, ect. I can really taste and feel the difference. Sure, it’s WAY more expensive…. but you get what you pay for.

  5. We are lucky enough to not have this pink slime in Australia but I agree with not eating it. Anything which is processed, created in a lab or genetically modified should be kept as far away from you as possible. Our body simply doesn’t process it properly. Things like this pink slime would possibly contain trans-fats which we know don’t break down, but rather build up as cholesterol in the bloodstream. For weight loss leaner meats and less red meat might be beneficial but for iron deficient people, red meat is still a good source of protein and iron, which is a necessary ion. Unless you are allergic to red meat or have other beliefs whether vegetarian, vegan or religious than some red meat is still good.

  6. Please check out this video. Jamie Oliver is a cook and very active in teaching about nutrition. Btw. we don’t have that pink slime in Switzerland, very high meat prices and…people still live and get something to eat. It’s really not necessary to eat meat every day:

  7. Travis says:

    “…9% of male deaths and 7% of female deaths would be prevented if people lowered red meat consumption to 1.5 ounces (or less) per day.”– isn’t that from the study that also says if you eat red meat you smoke and you have lower cholesterol?

  8. It’s raelly great that people are sharing this information.


  1. […] no secret that most Americans eat far too much red meat. As I recently shared, a Harvard study concluded that 9% of male deaths and 7% of female deaths would be prevented if […]