May 19, 2020

McDonald's Confirms It's Stopped Putting Ammonia-Based Pink Slime in Meat

McDonald's
Food Production
Jamie Oliver
US Department of Agriculture
Bizclik Editor
2 min
McDonald's Confirms It's Stopped Putting Ammonia-Based Pink Slime in Meat

 

You may or may not have seen that picture floating around the web of the pink goo that resembles strawberry soft serve, but is actually scrap meat treated with ammonium hydroxide. The image is shocking and has served as a wakeup call for many fans of fast food.

(If you haven’t seen it, click here for a glimpse).

McDonald’s has been criticized for using ammonium hydroxide in its hamburgers and chicken products, but the company officially announced that it has put an end to the practice.

Ammonium hydroxide is used throughout the food industry as an anti-microbial agent, so that otherwise “inedible meat” can be consumed. The chemical, which is also used in fertilizers, household cleaners and homemade explosives, has been “generally recognized as safe” by the U.S. Agriculture Department, but that doesn’t make its presence in food less horrifying—particularly when the food is being sold by the world’s largest hamburger fast food chain, which serves about 68 million customers a day.

The practice became public knowledge after celebrity chef Jamie Oliver discussed it on an episode of his show, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. Oliver began a campaign to try to convince U.S. food purveyors to stop using ammonium hydroxide-treated meats altogether.

“Basically we’re taking a product that would be sold in the cheapest form for dogs and making it ‘fit’ for humans,” Oliver said on the show.

Although the company waited until recently to address the matter at all, it says that it stopped using the chemical in its food a few months ago and denies that its decision was influenced by Oliver’s campaign.

“At the beginning of 2011, we made a decision to discontinue the use of ammonia-treated beef in our hamburgers,” said Todd Bacon, McDonald’s Senior Director of Quality Systems. “This product has been out of our supply chain since August of last year. This decision was a result of our efforts to align our global standards for how we source beef around the world.”

McDonald’s certainly wasn’t the only restaurant chain to use the chemical compound. It’s commonly used in the food industry, both in meats and as a leavener in breads and cakes.

Ammonium hydroxide isn’t required to be listed on nutrition labels, so Sarah Prochaska, a registered dietitian at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis says that the only way to avoid it completely “would be to choose fresher products, cook your meat at home [and] cook more meals at home.”

Here's more on ammonium hydroxide from Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. Warning: some readers might find this clip shocking or distasteful:

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Jun 10, 2021

G7 Summit guide: What it is and what leaders hope to achieve

G7
G7Summit
Sustainability
EU
3 min
Business Chief delves into what the G7 is and represents and what its 2021 summit hopes to achieve

Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand, you’ll have seen the term ‘G7’ plastered all over the Internet this week. We’re going to give you the skinny on exactly what the G7 is and what its purpose on this planet is ─ and whether it’s a good or a bad collaboration. 

 

Who are the G7?

The Group of Seven, or ‘G7’, may sound like a collective of pirate lords from a certain Disney smash-hit, but in reality, it’s a group of the world’s seven largest “advanced” economies ─ the powerhouses of the world, if you like. 

The merry band comprises:

  • Canada
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • The United Kingdom
  • The United States

Historically, Russia was a member of the then-called ‘G8’ but found itself excluded after their ever-so-slightly illegal takeover of Crimea back in 2014.

 

Since 1977, the European Union has also been involved in some capacity with the G7 Summit. The Union is not recognised as an official member, but gradually, as with all Europe-linked affairs, the Union has integrated itself into the conversation and is now included in all political discussions on the annual summit agenda. 

 

When was the ‘G’ formed?

Back in 1975, when the world was reeling from its very first oil shock and the subsequent financial fallout that came with it, the heads of state and government from six of the leading industrial countries had a face-to-face meeting at the Chateau de Rambouillet to discuss the global economy, its trajectory, and what they could do to address the economic turmoil that reared its ugly head throughout the 70s. 

 

Why does the G7 exist?

At this very first summit ─ the ‘G6’ summit ─, the leaders adopted a 15-point communiqué, the Declaration of Rambouillet, and agreed to continuously meet once a year moving forward to address the problems of the day, with a rotating Presidency. One year later, Canada was welcomed into the fold, and the ‘G6’ became seven and has remained so ever since ─ Russia’s inclusion and exclusion not counted. 

 

The group, as previously mentioned, was born in the looming shadow of a financial crisis, but its purpose is more significant than just economics. When leaders from the group meet, they discuss and exchange ideas on a broad range of issues, including injustice around the world, geopolitical matters, security, and sustainability. 

 

It’s worth noting that, while the G7 may be made up of mighty nations, the bloc is an informal one. So, although it is considered an important annual event, declarations made during the summit are not legally binding. That said, they are still very influential and worth taking note of because it indicates the ambitions and outlines the initiatives of these particularly prominent leading nations. 

 

Where is the 2021 G7 summit?

This year, the summit will be held in the United Kingdom deep in the southwest of England, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosting his contemporaries in the quaint Cornish resort of Carbis Bay near St Ives in Cornwall. 
 

What will be discussed this year? 

After almost two years of remote communication, this will be the first in-person G7 summit since the novel Coronavirus first took hold of the globe, and Britain wants “leaders to seize the opportunity to build back better from coronavirus, uniting to make the future fairer, greener, and more prosperous.”

 

The three-day summit, running from Friday to Sunday, will see the seven leaders discussing a whole host of shared challenges, ranging from the pandemic and vaccine development and distribution to the ongoing global fight against climate change through the implementation of sustainable norms and values. 

 

According to the UK government, the attendees will also be taking a look at “ensuring that people everywhere can benefit from open trade, technological change, and scientific discovery.” 

 

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