Welcome to You Ask... Patch Answers where we answer readers questions. We recently received questions about the "pink slime" or beef trimmings used in beef. Patch readers want to find out if those trimmings are used in school lunches. Here's your answer.
According to the school food services department in North Reading, beef trimmings are used in their lunches. However, they plan to use the rest of the trimmings before the end of April and do not plan to reorder.
"The food industry has been using what is more correctly called boneless lean beef trimmings for many years. These trimmings are used extensively in food processing and are strictly monitored through the FDA, USDA and international food safety agencies," said North Reading Director of Dining Services Anna McGovern. "North Reading’s plan is to exhaust our current ground beef inventory, which does contain lean beef trimmings, until it runs out in approximately late April. For the remainder of this school year, we do not intend to order any additional ground beef which contains lean beef trimmings."
Safety and well being of students is her number one priority, McGovern said.
Reading Director of Food Services Kristen Morello referred to what some would call "pink slime" as lean fine textured beef. There is a chance that it is in the beef they serve in Reading school lunches, but there is no way for her to know, Morello said, because it is not listed on the ingredients label.
"There is a possibility, but since it’s not on the label, we don’t know," Morello said. "We do buy the beef from the USDA."
According to a USDA food update, lean fine textured beef is beef and does not require separate identification. The update also stated that lean fine textured beef is not filler, that it is nutritionally equivalent to 95 percent lean beef and that it does not contain connective tissue.