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Should 'Pink Slime' Even Be An Option For School Districts?

The NYC Dept. of Education will no longer serve it, but other districts may.

Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, D-NY, says schools should not have the option to order pink slime meat under the National School Meal Program.

Gillibrand called for the discontinued use of ground beef products containing ammonium hydroxide, or pink slime, following reports last week that the beef is chemically laden, and used by the National School Meal Program to feed more than 32 million children per day.

The NYC Dept. of Education announced on Wednesday that it would not be serving pink slime to New York City school children, reports the Daily News.

Gillibrand said she doesn't believe any district in the country should have access to it. “We should ensure our children have access to nutritious meat, not the cheapest alternative filler,” Gillibrand wrote in a letter to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. 

The meat, which the USDA calls "Lean Finely Textured Beef," comes from a process that uses centrifuges to separate fat from beef trimmings, reducing the fat content.

Ammonium hydroxide is a chemical used to kill bacteria in pink slime ground beef products, and is a common ingredient in cleaning products.

Gillibrand was reacting to a recent news release, in which the USDA asserted their certification that pink slime meets safety standards. The USDA stated that it; "only purchases products for the school lunch program that are safe, nutritious and affordable – including all products containing Lean Finely Textured Beef."

The agency also said that because of the recent demand, they will provide additional options of beef products to school district.

The USDA also writes that while it “sets national nutritional guidelines for school meals, school districts make local decisions on what food to feed kids to meet these guidelines.”

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