After a social media campaign all-but-completely banished pink slime from fast-food hamburgers in 2012, the “meat product” is making a comeback.
Dubbed pink slime, the public backlash against the product — officially called “finely textured beef” — was sparked by media reports of its use. The resulting furor led to the closure of plants making pink slime and the loss of hundreds of jobs at Cargill and Beef Products, the Wall Street Journal notes.
But now, sales of pink slime are rebounding, thanks to soaring beef prices. A lingering drought and harsh winter weather have deeply trimmed the U.S. cattle herd, forcing beef prices sharply higher.
Those high prices — so daunting to consumers — have prompted beef product producers to turn back to cheaper pink slime to keep costs down.
Cargill and Beef Products won’t say how exactly much pink slime is in ground beef products now, but in 2012, pink slime could be found in up to 70% of supermarket and fast-food ground beef.
A Cargill officials says that while production is still down 40% from its high point, pink slime sales have roughly tripled since falling off after the backlash.
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