Area schools not using controversial ‘pink slime’

By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 12:27 pm on Wednesday, April 04, 2012

AFA Foods, which produces lean, finely textured beef (LFTB) that is most commonly known as “pink slime,” has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, according to the Associated Press (AP).

The company’s Chief Executive Officer Ron Allen said in the affidavit that the company had been struggling for the past two years, but had a turnaround strategy in the works. However, due to media coverage of “pink slime,” there were consequences for the company.

“Pink slime refers to the beef product called lean, finely textured beef that is produced by utilizing ammonium hydroxide to separate lean meat from fat, producing a very lean product,” said Kerin Naumann, food and nutrition director at Carson City-Crystal Area Schools.

Although the processes produces a much leaner product compared to regular beef, Naumann said CC-C does not serve any beef items containing LFTB.

Suzanne Brown, food and nutrition director at Greenville Public Schools, had a statement from J.T.M. Food Group that distributes food to Greenville that they do not use ammonium hydroxide in their products.

“J.T.M. does not use ammonium hydroxide in our process and we do not purchase material from any suppliers that use ammonium hydroxide in their process,” stated Brian Hofmeier, senior director of schools sales at J.T.M. Food Group.

Reny Thrall, who works for Michaels and Associates of Grand Rapids in the food and beverage department, said in an email to Brown that BPI, a maker of LFTB, has been approved to be used in the National School Lunch Program.

“I looked through all USDA beef purchases for the National School Lunch Program, which encompass 100 percent of the beef items for this school year,” Thrall said in the email. “USDA has not bought one pound of beef from BPI (this school year).”

In the email, Thrall stated beef from BPI that has been treated with ammonium hydroxide is approved to be used in the program, but USDS has not purchased any beef from BPI.

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