“I have a 2-year-old son,” microbiologist Gerald Zirnstein told The Daily. “And you better believe I don’t want him eating pink slime when he starts going to school.”
It was Zirnstein who first coined the term “pink slime” after touring a Beef Products Inc. production facility in 2002 as part of an investigation into salmonella contamination in packaged ground beef. In an email to his colleagues shortly after the visit, Zirnstein said he did not “consider the stuff to be ground beef.”
Made by grinding together connective tissue and beef scraps normally destined for dog food and rendering, BPI’s Lean Beef Trimmings are then treated with ammonia hydroxide, a process that kills pathogens such as salmonella and E. coli.
The resulting pinkish substance is later blended into traditional ground beef and hamburger patties.