Beef is one of the most commonly eaten foods in America, and because of that, consumers have begun to pay very close attention to the way it's produced.
Yesterday, we talked about the overuse of antibiotics in the industrial livestock agriculture, and how the industry's excessive reliance on it has lead to the development of deadly strains like MRSA. The problem is that if industrial farms did not use antibiotics, the cost of meat would rise significantly because it would cost so much more to raise the animals in conditions that kept them healthy.
And while it may be some time before meat prices soar because the government limits or forbids the use of antibiotics on livestock, the cost of beef may be heading upwards sooner rather than later.
Lately, the media has been aflutter about the use of "pink slime" in beef. The "slime," which is referred to in the beef industry as "lean finely textured beef" (LFTB), is an filler byproduct that's essentially made of pureed meat scraps, according to The Christian Science Monitor. It's commonly used in products like ground beef, lunch meat, hot dogs and pepperoni, among others.
While the public has treated LFTB as though it's a poison, experts say there's nothing to worry about.
"It is not dangerous at all. The question is whether it's socially acceptable," Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition and public health at New York University, told the source. "Humans don't usually eat byproducts. Just because it's safe doesn't mean it's acceptable."
She told the publication that she believes the meat industry needs to adhere to some level of label compliance to notify consumers of what the product they are purchasing contains.
According to the media outlet, roughly 850 million pounds of the additive is used annually, so if consumers are going to buy products that contain it, the industry is going to need to find a more appealing alternative, or the cost of beef could be enormous.