Written by Craig Smullin, Posted: Fri, March 23 2012 at 5:39 PM, Updated: Fri, March 23 2012 at 5:45 PM
The term "mystery meat" has a whole new meaning after consumers became aware of the pink slime filler commonly used in ground beef.
The beef with ground beef is that you may not be getting what you think.
Made of meat excess like muscles and tendons, so called 'pink slime' is heated to remove the fat and then treated with ammonium hydroxide gas to kill bacteria.
"70-percent of the ground beef on the market has pink slime."
Recent criticism against the additive has chains like Safeway and Albertsons pulling products with what is known as "lean, finely textured beef" off the shelves.
Winco Foods and Sherms Food 4 Less say none of their fresh ground beef contains the 'pink slime' and customers are pleased.
"Totally makes me feel better. I shop in the organic section already so I'm picky about what I serve."
The USDA says the process meets federal regulations.
"They're saving money by doing it."
And the beef industry says pink slime has been around for 20 years, helps prevent bacteria like e-coli in the meat, and it does not pose a health risk to consumers.
Nutritional Therapy Practitioner Kellie Hill acknowledges there has been no direct health hazard but.
"It's not healthy to eat Ammonia Hydroxide"
Hill says the only way to be sure to avoid pink slime is to talk to your butcher and buy freshly ground beef, preferably local.
And she has a simple rule when it comes to fast food.
"You get what you pay for."
Beef Products Inc., the company that makes the product says it can be found in more than 20 billion meals served every year and is found in hundreds of consumer and food industry products, including hot dogs, taco meats, lunch meats, chili, frozen beef, canned meats and much more.
There's no way to be sure you won't find pink slime in your meat but the basic rule is to avoid processed meat.
Craig Smullin co-anchors NBC5 News at 6 and hosts the 5 on 5 Feature Interview on NBC5 News at 5. A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Craig graduated from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, California with a degree in Recreation Administration and Sports Management.
Since joining NBC5 News in 2005, Craig has performed virtually every job in the newsroom: News and Sports Reporter, Sports Anchor, Producer, series and segment Host and Anchor of NBC5 News at Sunrise and NBC5 News at 5. When he's not reporting news, Craig spends time with his wife, young son and two dogs. He is a dedicated fan of the San Francisco 49ers and Portland Trailblazers and loves snow boarding the slopes of Mt. Ashland.