pink slime

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Apparently first applied to food in 2002 by Food Safety and Inspection Service microbiologist Gerald Zirnstein. [1][2]


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pink slime (uncountable)

  1. (paper manufacture) An undesirable pink-colored microbial mass occurring in the slurry used in making paper. [from 1951]
    • 1955, Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry. Microbiological Committee, John William Appling, Microbiology of pulp and paper:
      Pink slime is a real and continuing problem in many paper mills. Once established it may be difficult to ... Holmes (15, 16) and Sanborn (24) stated that yeasts or yeast-like fungi were often the cause of pink slime.
  2. (informal, dysphemistic) A meat byproduct produced from scraps by heating and then treating with ammonia to produce a food additive. [from 2002]
    • 2011 April 12, Jamie Oliver, “Maybe L.A. Was a Big Mistake”, in Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, season 2, episode 1:
      Pink slime is allowed in any school in America by the USDA.
    • 2012 March 19, Weisman, Laura, “Who sells meat with pink slime? Here’s the list”, in San Francisco Chronicle[3]:
      You’ve heard about the “pink slime,” right? It’s that meat filler made from slaughterhouse scraps that is treated with ammonia.
    • 2012 March 28, Jon Stewart, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart[4], Comedy Central:
      You told me you were all-beef, not filled with some pink slime ammonia goop! That is the last thing I want mixed up in my mulched-up cow corpse!
  3. Used other than with a figurative or idiomatic meaning: see pink,‎ slime. Slime which is pink.
    • 2001, Ian Irvine, A Shadow on the Glass:
      Water flowed down the cliff, showering on their heads; the stone under their feet was slick with pink slime.
    • 2006, Norman Allen, The Besting of Humphrey Mercer, page 34:
      The pastry room was a further revelation. Six young girls in white coats and white hats were dusting white flour over small pre-formed pastry lids, which were then glued onto cups of uncooked short crust filled with pink slime.
    • 2010, Vicki Lewis Thompson, Ambushed!, page 45:
      As she buried her face deep in the cool pulp, even her cheeks became slicked with pink slime. She paid no attention to Gabe, chomping away on his melon next to her. Focus was the name of the game.

Usage notes[edit]

(meat byproduct): This term is primarily used by critics of the product. The meat industry and product labels use the terms lean finely textured beef and boneless lean beef trimmings.




  1. ^ Moss, Michael (2009-12-30), “Safety of Beef Processing Method Is Questioned”, in The New York Times[1], ISSN 0362-4331: “Another department microbiologist, Gerald Zirnstein, called the processed beef "pink slime" in a 2002 e-mail message to colleagues and said, “I do not consider the stuff to be ground beef, and I consider allowing it in ground beef to be a form of fraudulent labeling.””
  2. ^ “'Pink slime': Combo of connective tissue, scraps hidden in your kids’ lunch”, in (Please provide the title of the work)[2], Fox News, 2012-03-08, retrieved 2012-03-28: “The term ‘pink slime’ was first coined in 2002 by Food Safety Inspection Service microbiologist Gerald Zirnstein, who toured a Beef Products Inc. production facility.”