The product was recently brought to the attention of the public by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, who derisively referred to it as “pink slime” on an episode of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution,
These trimmings, which consist of what’s left of the meat after all the choice cuts of beef are taken, are banned for human consumption in the U.K, where they are instead used for dog and chicken food. They are legal for consumption in the United States, however, where they are treated with ammonium hydroxide in order to kill off bacteria such as E. coli and make it safe for human consumption.
Beef Products Incorporated, the company that had previously supplied McDonald’s with boneless lean beef trimmings, denied that Oliver’s show had anything to do with decision, saying it was made long before the show aired and was based on BPI’s inability to supply McDonald’s on a global basis. BPI also pointed to its recent placement on food safety advocate Bill Marler’s nice list and numerous food safety awards as evidence of its commitment to food safety.
McDonald’s also issued a statement confirming that this decision was long in the works.
“At McDonald’s, the quality and safety of the food we serve our customers is a top priority,” the company wrote. “At the beginning of 2011, we made a decision to discontinue the use of ammonia-treated beef in our hamburgers. This product has been out of our supply chain since August of last year. This decision was a result of our efforts to align our global standards for how we source beef around the world.”
Burger King and Taco Bell have also discontinued the use of boneless lean beef trimmings in their food.