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Lean finely textured beef, also known as pink slime, is added to regular meat as a filler and to make it leaner.  It’s now a trendy topic, and soccer moms from coast to coast are screaming that it shouldn’t be a part of kids’ lunches. Even Food Lion, who famously got caught bleaching expired chicken and pork and reselling it, has decided to no longer carry the product.

I have a feeling Food Lion sets the bar pretty low where food safety is concerned, so if they decide you shouldn’t eat something, you should probably listen.

My mom is the only person I know cheaper than me, and she buys tube after tube of this stuff. I rarely eat hamburger because I like my meat extra rare, but I decided to make some burgers at her house last fall. When I cut the tube open, I thought I got one that was tainted. It reeked of ammonia, and when I asked my mom about it, she said that was normal and the grill “would burn off that chemical smell.”

The problem with pink slime is it’s made with cuts from the outside of the carcass that are riddled with E. coli and salmonella. In order to kill those pathogens the processors have to spray it with ammonia, which gives it that terrible smell. When they reduced the ammonia to cut down on the smell, the slime tested positive for salmonella at a rate four times that of a conventional burger mix.

I’m not much of a food safety guy, and I once ate an entire chicken breast raw just to see what would happen, but this stuff is best avoided.