Video: 'Pink slime' ban?

  1. Closed captioning of: 'Pink slime' ban?

    >> the country will be table to take pink slime off the lunch menu. they can use meat with or without the controversial filler starting next fall. the decision comes following calls to ban the product from mekong woman shelly pingrey. she joins me on the phone now. good morning.

    >> caller: good morning. how are you.

    >> i'm well. let me get your reaction. does this go far enough?

    >> i don't think it goes far enough. schools can continue to purchase meat on the side. this comes through the commodity program at a discount to schools. a lot won't be in the financial decision to say i'm going to go on the open market and buy my meat instead of the commodity program. if your school department has enough money, your kids are eating healthy beef, if not, you're stuck with the stuff that used to be allowed in dog food .

    >> the usda says it complies with federal regulations . that the process has been around for 20 years. it's safe. a retired micro biologist says it's probably safer than raw ground beef .

    >> i'm not saying your child is going to get sick. let's face it. mcdonald 's decide to take it off the menu. if mcdonald 's isn't serving, do we want our kids to be eating this every day at school?

    >> ultimately, do you want to see it banned? they're making it look like dog food .

    >> yeah, when you see a picture of pink slime, you know, there's a lot of people interested in knowing more about where the food comes. seeing all the ingredients in it. people like to think that hamburger is just ground beef . they take a piece of meat, gribd it up, and it's a hamburger. the fact you understand all the extra pieces that have been ground together and put together with a knammonia substance, it doesn't sound like anything you want to eat. how many ingredients are there? do i need more children eating something they won't serve at mcdonald 's? it's raising a lot of questions. i think they have a right to talk about what their kids are eating at school.

    >> congresswoman, thanks so much. keep us posted on how it's going.

updated 3/14/2012 7:23:43 PM ET 2012-03-14T23:23:43

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will offer schools choice in ground beef buys amid growing concern over an ammonia-treated filler critics call "pink slime."

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Under the change to be announced Thursday, schools will be able to choose between beef patties made with the filler or bulk ground beef without it. The policy will affect food at schools this fall because of existing contracts.

A USDA official with knowledge of the decision says the agency wanted to be transparent and school districts wanted choices. The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity ahead of the official announcement.

The USDA buys about a fifth of the food served in schools.

The controversy centers on a processed ingredient common in ground beef that is exposed to ammonium hydroxide gas to kill bacteria. 

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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