Have you been following the "pink slime" controversy? It's been all over the news recently (check out these stories here). The mass concern for pink slime, known in the industry as "lean, finely textured beef," was sparked by an online petition to the USDA seeking to eliminate the product from school lunches. The petition was ultimately successful, gaining hundreds of thousands of signatures, and raised awareness for a common practice in our food industry.
I'll avoid upsetting your appetite describing how pink slime is made, but an incredible amount of people are very upset about it. Many have vowed to not eat products containing pink slime, and supermarkets and restaurants are pulling those products off of their shelves and menus. This whole controversy has inspired people to become more knowledgable about what they are eating, and has resulted in outrage at the findings.
For those of you vowing to go off the stuff, you can easily avoid pink slime and still get your meat fix. There are many great local resources where you can purchase meat that is raised right here in Arizona, and is slime-free. Cattle is one of the "Five C's" of Arizona, after all! Here are some suggestions to get your slime-free meat:
(1) Visit a farmers market to buy directly from the rancher or farmer. Then you can ask them whether their products contain pink slime (the answer will be "no").
(3) Check out a local alternative grocery store or butcher shop. The Phoenix Public Market & Urban Grocery, Tempe Farmers Market, and The Meat Shop are great if you can't make it to the farmers market, as they have normal operating hours like a grocery store but stock all sorts of locally-produced meats.
(4) Go directly to the source. Most local ranchers sell their products directly to the consumer, and deliver. Local First Arizona member GB7 Cattle offers the option to purchase online.
(5) Join a CSA (community supported agriculture). With a CSA, you pay up front to invest in a local ranch or farm, and you get a weekly share of fresh produce and food (and many deliver your share to your door)! Not all of them offer meats, but Chow Locally allows you to add local meat products to your weekly share.
(6) Visit the "Meat" section in Local First Arizona's online directory to find other great sources for local, slime-free meats.
So there you have it: you can avoid pink slime meat and support the local economy all at the same time!