Pink slime for school lunch? — An Open Letter to Congress II
Pink slime for school lunch? Really?
Another open letter to Congress from a former fat kid.
Haven’t we already been through this once before? Yeah, we have — that time you declared pizza is a vegetable to appease the frozen food industry and potato farmers. It’s good to know you’re looking out for us and not making deals with lobbyists behind closed doors… but I digress. It was a step in the right direction. Kids are eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; and less trans fat, white bread, and fried foods — so I should give you a little bit of credit for doing a good thing. But then I read an article on the Huffington Post about that declared, “Pink slime for school lunch!”
Sigh. Here we go again. Our government just bought 7 million pounds of Ammonia-treated meat for school meals. This “pink slime” is trimmings of weird areas of cows, usually reserved for dog food.
It is more likely to be contaminated with salmonella or E.Coli, and Ammonia reduces the likelihood of this.
The problem? Ammonia is a common ingredient in household cleaners. Yep — Big Brother really cares about the well-being of our kids, huh?
First, let’s put some things in perspective. I could offer a separate rant about each of these numbers, but I really think they speak for themselves. I’ll offer some commentary after the stats.
Cost of Iraq war — > $3 trillion to-date
Cost of Bush tax cuts over 10 years –> $2.6 trillion
Cost of Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act –> $4.5 billion
Estimated cost of obesity in 2011 –> $300 billion
This isn’t a political blog. I write about neat shit like intermittent fasting, cold showers, raising testosterone for better sex and muscle, and so on. So I’m not going to go on a rant about the Iraq war or the Bush tax-cuts. But I do want to make one point. Look at those staggering numbers. Now–how have either of these things benefited you? Let me guess — they haven’t. In fact, I bet one (if not both) of those things piss you off. Guess who’s paying for this? You. All of us are footing the bill.
Now look at the cost of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. This is the bill that required schools to feed our kids more fruit, vegetables, and whole grain. Thankfully it passed at all — without making pizza a vegetable, it probably would have died in Congress. At least the crust is whole grain (hopefully) since white bread just makes us fat.
We took a step in the right direction with this legislation. But now we’re taking a step backwards by feeding our kids pink slime.
I guess I should tell you what “pink slime” is. Gerald Zirnstein is a former microbiologist at the Food Safety Inspection Service who toured a Beef Products Inc. production facility in 2002, investigating salmonella contamination in packaged ground beef. He coined the term “pink slime” for this product. Pink slime is made by grinding together connective tissue and beef scraps that usually end up in dog food. This “meat” is more likely to be contaminated with salmonella and E. coli, so they treat it with ammonia hydroxide to kill the pathogens.
First of all, this is disgusting. Kids are eating spare trimmings of beef from odd parts of a cow, which is treated with ammonia — a chemical often used in household cleaners. Yum. Here’s a picture of it. And then a video of Jamie Oliver demonstrating how pink slime is made.
Grossed out yet? It gets worse. The USDA defends their actions with a study that showed little-to-no health risk of eating pink slime. Problem? The study was performed by the company that creates the product. Conflict of interest, anyone? They also defend it by saying they save 3 cents per pound of beef. Once again, I direct your attention to the statistics I listed above. With as much money we are spending on unnecessary wars and tax cuts that benefit practically NO ONE and result in suffering and monstrous debt, are you REALLY going to argue that it’s too expensive to not feed our kids dog-food meat treated with ammonia? It sounds a lot worse when we word it that way, huh?
…it gets even worse. The USDA is defending a product that McDonald’s and other fast food chains recently abandoned. If the fast food chains won’t use it, it’s probably bad news.
Here’s the thing. We, the people — as a government, families, and individuals — HAVE TO get our priorities straight.
Yeah, we probably would save millions of dollars if we fed our kids pink slime at lunch.
Yeah, you might save some money if you go through the drive-through on a regular basis.
Yes, it takes a lot of motivation, concentration, and determination to lose weight.
No, solving the obesity epidemic won’t be cheap or easy.
But we have to do this. Our kids are getting fatter than ever, younger than ever, in higher percentages than ever. It’s got to the point that obese kids can’t fit in standard school desks or clothing sizes. How can we not see this is a HUGE PROBLEM?
We have to start investing in the health of our children and ourselves. It costs a lot more to deal with obesity when it happens than it does to deal with the health consequences when we’re too late. Once again — look at the numbers. How could we draw any other conclusion? I’m happy our kids are eating fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. But our Congress bent over due to lobbying and let pizza and fries remain classified a “vegetable.” Some of you might not think the government should tell your kids what to eat. But this argument is invalid, because they already tell your kids what to eat. The food on our children’s trays is a result of past legislation, so to go on about our “Nanny government,” is kind of silly. If the government is going to tell our kids what to eat, why can’t it be healthy foods that will lessen the odds and frequency of obesity in our kids? Why can’t we do something positive that will not only make us healthy, but also save us money in the long-run? Dealing with obesity is expensive. We need to stop thinking in the short-term of what it costs now, and we need to start looking at the Big Picture –> what are the consequences of what we’re doing, and how much will this cost us — in quality and quantity of life, and in our checkbooks?
I encourage you to take action. The USDA is supposed to be watching out for us, and it’s clear they’re not. Tell the USDA to STOP feeding pink slime to our kids here.
Are you one of the 68% of Americans currently considered overweight or obese?
You might not have to deal with pink slime for school lunch, but I imagine you could be at an unhealthy weight. I hope the content here helps you in your fight against fat. Losing weight isn’t an easy thing to do–trust me, I know. If I can help you with anything, contact me. Seriously — I’d love to help.
If you’re serious about weight loss and want to make an investment in your health, I’m now accepting online personal coaching clients. There are 3 different options — online anytime training, workout and diet program design, or one-time consultations. My goal for all of my training clients is this –> I want them to learn behaviors they can sustain forever. I don’t want you to ever have to pay for personal training or do a fad diet ever again. I want to to be EMPOWERED BY–not ashamed of–your body.
- Congress declares pizza vegetable. An Open Letter from a former fat kid. (thewallenway.com)
- Is eating healthy weird? How to deal with diet discrimination in your life. (thewallenway.com)
- Weight loss roadblock – it’s not too inconvenient to eat healthy (thewallenway.com)
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