December 7, 2023

Any kid who was around in the early 2000’s will remember the popular Nickelodeon show, Slime Time Live that aired for eight seasons. Everyone loved seeing that green slime pour down on the unsuspecting audience members and participants; “The more slime, the better” was the show’s philosophy. However, there are places for slime, and while the show was one, school lunches are not!

The media has been blowing up with the discovery of “pink slime” that’s used in lunches sold in school cafeterias. The pink slime consists of the parts of a cow that aren’t considered safe for people to eat, those that were usually saved for pet food. This pink slime is then treated with ammonia and put in a centrifuge, which is used to separate the meat from the fat. Seven million pounds of pink slime are estimated to be used in the next few months across the country to cut costs and stick to budgets.

However, this isn’t limited to the walls of school cafeterias; seventy percent of super market beef contains pink slime. It seems as though the focus should be on keeping it out of places designed for children, especially in a country where the First Lady publicly campaigns for healthy eating. On the other hand, the Michelle Obama – an active participant in making school lunch requirements – approved the addition of pink slime to the daily meal plan of students. There have been no restrictions to making or selling food that contains the slime due to the fact that it’s treated with bacteria-killing ammonia. Jessica Tintweiss, a freshman at Hills West says, “I think it’s disgusting and wrong and should be illegal to sell [food with pink slime] to children in school.”

Cafeteria supervisor Irene firmly states that pink slime is not in the lunches at Hills West, because the meat supplier, Chicago Meat Company, that has been in service for as long as she can remember, refuses to use it in their products. “Pink slime is just a filler and the meat we have here is one hundred percent pure.” Irene says. “And the school would stop using the company if it did have pink slime being sold with the meat,” said  sophomore Toni Marotti when adding her own opinion. “Our school couldn’t get away with doing that because many parents would complain and I think people would stop buying lunch if they did use the pink slime,” she said after learning the specifics of pink slime.

This heated debate continues between the meat providers and the media. Should pink slime be included in school lunches, or not? Parents across the nation are being forced to choose between the cost of food or the nutrition of their children, a choice that will definitely give rise to future conflicts.