By Maurice Picow
Good news! McDonald’s burgers sold in Israel don’t contain pink slime, and never did.
Pink slime, a beef filler ingredient made from from slaughter house beef trimmings is freaking out consumers worldwide.
The pink slime is made as meat parts are converted to pink slime as the meat passes through a centrifuge. Pink slime aroused a significant amount of controversy recently when it was discovered that it was being treated with ammonium hydroxide to kill e-coli and other harmful bacteria. When the pink slime story was first posted on Green Prophet we reported that the substance was found to be in use by some of the largest fast food chains in North America, especially McDonald’s. Although McDonald’s later announced that they are removing pink slime from their hamburger patties, other questionable chemical additives appear to be in use as well. But the good news for people who eat kosher McDonald’s in Israel and at other parts of the world: pink slime was never used, a spokesperson tells me.
Pink slime up close
This doesn’t slow down the controversy on pink slime being used in American meat products, however, as it has now been reported that literally tons of pink slime is being used in ground beef used in school lunch programs and that ground beef sold in many grocery stores also contain the substance as well.
The pink slime controversy has reached a point where nationwide petitions are being circulated in the USA to have pink slime removed from use in school lunch programs due to it being considered to be unhealthy and even dangerous for human consumption.
Israel’s McDonald’s chain has 160 stores, scattered all over the country, of which 40 are certified as kosher. With around 4,000 managers and employees, of whom more than 3,000 are under age 21, McDonald’s Israel is the largest employer of youth in the country. Upon contacting McDonald’s Israel headquarters, Ruth Sarid, Executive Vice President, told me:
“McDonald’s Israel is using 100% pure Kosher meat with no additives (i.e. not processed) and never used the method of “pink slime”. This method, which is highly used in the US (in schools, army bases, and most meat manufacturers) was terminated by McDonald’s US well before this issue was raised by the media,” she said.
She added that McDonald’s Israel is importing their meat from South America, and that all meats are Kosher and handled by the Of Tov company (whose website is only available in Hebrew). She further emphasized that “no additives” and no “pink slime” are used.
Referring to kosher meat, and this can apply to a great extent to “halal” certified meat for Muslims as well, a certain degree of cleanliness is practiced; which most likely would not involve using meat scraps from the floors of slaughterhouses. These meat scraps are what pink slime is based on, as previously reported.
Even purchasing meat products in supermarkets does not always guarantee purchasing beef and even poultry without some additives involved. While McDonald’s Israel operations divulged about their beef products, there could still be some company somewhere in this Middle East region using pink slime in their fast food or even more upscale hamburger establishments. If and when we find this out, we will certainly advise our readers. Stay tuned, and send us any tips if you have them.