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Does the Meat Served in School Lunches Have Beef Trimmings?

Readers want to know if that "pink slime" they have seen on the news recently is used in school lunches.

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.

North Reading

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

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. 

Joe Veno April 17, 2012 at 11:29 AM
At least North Reading knows what they are using. It seems Reading does not know..
Jessica April 17, 2012 at 11:49 AM
Thank you very much for answering this question. It is very comforting that NR schools make it their business to know exactly what they are serving our children. I am very happy they will no longer be using meat that constins pink slime, or any other filler.
laura April 17, 2012 at 12:41 PM
Thank you NR for being honest-even if it is not what people want to hear. We can not say the same for other towns.
Linnea Casino April 17, 2012 at 02:23 PM
Though the Transcript a couple of months ago did a tiny article on how healthy and cost effective the school lunches are in North Reading and then went on to site hot dogs and baked beans as a delicious and nutritious meal served in our cafeterias all for $2.50.. Since when have hot dogs become nutritious? I am very confident these boiled "meat sticks" are not all beef. How about the sugar content in baked beans???? How many children do you know actually eat baked beans? I would love to know the total weight of food served daily in our cafeterias and the total weight of food thrown away for a full week and see how much is actually consumed by these children. Don't even get me started on the chicken nuggets which for sure have pink slime in them. What child need to have an ice cream sandwich every day at lunch? That should be up to the parent to serve in their own homes and not served in schools. We are concerned about obesity yet continue to serve processed high calorie warmed up (not freshly cooked) meals to our children on a daily basis. It needs to stop!!!
Todd B April 17, 2012 at 05:39 PM
I find it amusing how people are quick to jump on the bandwagon du jour. Most people are completely ignorant about what they're denouncing here. Even the comment "Safety and well being of students is her number one priority". Ummm... Wrong! You're either a) ignorant to what is actually in the meat (health-wise), or b) riding the public opinion wave. Which is it? I'm no expert, but everything I've read on this so far indicates that there is NOTHING unhealthy about the content in question. It's just "gross" to most Americans. Other cultures eat plenty of other bits that we'd decry as whole heartedly. Yes, we want to be informed as consumers what's in our food, but people can't seem to separate fact from opinion with this issue. Of course, that doesn't stop them from running off at the mouth as though they do! Pink slime, indeed.
Mel Webster April 17, 2012 at 07:15 PM
The school lunches served in North Reading meet federal and state nutrition guidelines as required by law.
Mel Webster April 17, 2012 at 07:16 PM
Could not agree more, Todd. People need to go beyond the headlines that are merely an attempt by the media to get the public all riled up!

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