Concern over Pink Slime: Salvaged, Chemically-Treated Meat Waste that is Being Fed to School Children

You certainly wouldn’t want to feed it to your kids. At least, not on purpose.

According to an article published last week by the Associated Press, school districts around the country are serving to school children hamburgers that contain as much as 15 percent of a processed product that has come to be known as “pink slime.”

What is “pink slime?” As per the Associated Press‘ recent report, it’s a product that consists of bits of meat and muscle salvaged from slaughterhouse floors, and that is treated with a pink chemical to kill any dangerous pathogens. Moreover, according to an earlier report by MSNBC, the pink goo is widely used in the food industry as an anti-microbial agent in meats and as a leavener in bread and cake products. Despite the fact that the U.S. Agriculture Department classifies it as “generally recognized as safe,” before it is served to children, it is treated with ammonium-hydroxide, a chemical generally used for window-cleaning and furniture-making.

The increased concern about pink slime arose after the USDA announced last week that it plans to ship an additional seven million pounds of the meat product to public schools, countrywide. Even scarier is the fact that, under federal law, the USDA does not have to disclose which school districts are receiving what meat, and the meat isn’t labeled to show pink slime, reported the Associated Press.

Our Chicago personal injury lawyers are concerned for the well-being of school children; although, to date no injuries have yet been reported from the pink slime, the fact that it is meat-waste and is treated intensively with chemicals is a serious cause for concern. When evaluating reprocessed products, such as the salvaged meat in this scenario, the FDA has what’s known as “default action levels,” which are the levels at which food is no longer acceptable to be put on the market. However, so long as food products remain below that point, they may be sold to consumers for consumption. For instance, an average of 225 insect fragments or 4.5 rodent hairs per 8 ounces of macaroni or noodle products is considered acceptable, an average of 20 or more maggots of any size is permitted per 3.5 ounces of drained canned mushrooms, and an average count of 15 percent is tolerated for canned cranberry sauce, according to MSNBC. Here, so long as the castoff meat is “good enough,” it can be fed to unsuspecting children.

Illinois product liability law requires that when corporations put a product on the market, they are responsible for ensuring that the product is safe for consumer use. This is especially true for food manufacturers whose merchandise has to be thoroughly inspected before it is allowed to be distributed to the public. When dangerous or contaminated foods harm consumers, the corporations may be liable for the injuries caused and may be legally responsible for damages caused by those injuries. This may give rise to an Illinois personal injury lawsuit.

People who suffer serious personal injury, hospitalization, or even death as a result of having eaten unsafe food products may be able to seek compensation for economic and non-economic damages.

If you or a loved one have suffered as a result of having eaten dangerous or infected food, seek medical attention immediately. Additionally, a personal injury attorney may be able to advise you of your rights under the law; you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

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