Not too long after the pink slime controversy became front-page food news, one Pennsylvania meat processor has filed forn Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection due to the furor.
Depending on who you listen to, the pink slime bankruptcy is either the fault of a cruel and headline-thirsty media trying to make a buck at the expense of the hard-working meat industry, or a that of a corporation feeling aggrieved that its practice of making what was once pet food a main ingredient of popular establishments like McDonald’s has hit its bottom line in the exact opposite way it was intended to.
“Pink slime” is a term coined by microbiologists who initially objected (and still do) to making the cheap-o filler product accepted food for humans, raising a fuss when the practice of using pink slime became more commonplace. Eventually, large chains like McDonald’s and Taco Bell were forced to quit using pink slime in burgers and tacos due to customer complaints, and the industry suffered from the sudden lost business.
For instance, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad blames celebrities for the pink slime backlash, huffing:
“This to me is outrageous… I want to expose the people who are behind this. I don’t think Americans need to be misled by a smear campaign.”
(It should be noted, however, that companies managed to turn a profit just fine before guidelines were eased up to allow pink slime to be sold for consumption outside pet food.) The controversial ingredient, the beef industry notes, goes by another, less inflammatory name- lean, finely textured beef. But while blaming the “pink slime” moniker for bankruptcy, it might also be down to the fact that people don’t want to eat connective tissue treated with ammonia so as to kill higher proportions of potentially dangerous bacteria. Ew.
Center for Food Safety director at Texas A&M University Gary Acuff said that at this point, a pink slime bankruptcy was pretty inevitable given the brouhaha over the ingredient:
“The public view of this product is pretty damaged at this point… I’m not sure they’ll recover from something like this.”
Addressing the pink slime bankruptcy, AFA interim chief executive Ronald Allen says that the filing should provide “an orderly sale through Chapter 11 will unlock value and provide a smooth transition for employees, customers and other business partners.”