School District 51, grocery chains eliminating pink slime

By: Taylor Temby Email
By: Taylor Temby Email

Consumers across the country aren't shy about their thoughts on pink slime. They want the controversial meat filler off store shelves and away from student lunches. It seems many businesses are starting to pull pink slime products from their stores, and the school district is looking to do the same.

School District 51 purchases many of its foods from the USDA Food Commodities Program. This program is now giving schools more options when it comes to beef products, and District 51 is on board.

Tracy Allen wants the healthiest foods possible.

"We have a lot of fresh produce," she said.

She's constantly checking the School District 51 lunch menu, keeping her eye out for one major thing.

"When I see a meat product on the school menu, I tell [my kids], 'You're packing a lunch,'" Allen said.

Allen is one of many concerned parents in the Valley when it comes to pink slime in school lunches.

"[Pink slime is] a meat product, it's connective tissue instead of muscle," nauropathic doctor Christopher Lepisto said.

Doctor Lepisto says this meat then gets treated with an ammonium process.

"This isn't a toxic dose of ammonia. It isn't something that's immediately going to make a child sick," Dr. Lepisto said.

But it has caused parent concern. Recently the USDA announced it would give school lunch programs the option of choosing a different beef product.

"It was our understanding that the USDA was purchasing beef using some of the beef trimmings and filler," Mesa County School District 51 spokesperson Christy McGee said. "Now they just have a different beef product that's healthier and going to be better for kids and we want to take up that opportunity."

Other major grocery stores have also decided to pull the pink slime products due to consumer concern. Albertsons and most recently Safeway announced they will no longer carry the controversial meat filler which still raises questions.

"It's interesting to me you've got private food chains like Albertsons, Safeway, etc., who are taking it out, but the USFDA hasn't said it's a problem," Dr. Lepisto said.

Still, these recent changes have comforted moms like Allen, because it's important she knows what her kids are eating.

This change in beef products will not affect the School District 51 budget. It has a separate food budget and this will not play into the upcoming district cuts.

Dr. Lepisto says if parents are concerned about what their children are eating. They should consider purchasing locally grown organic foods.

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