We all wondered what exactly was in the “mystery meat” doled out for our school lunches. Well, now we know. It’s ammonia-treated animal beef trimmings, made with the type of connective tissue and beef scraps used in dog food.
Produced by a company called Beef Products Inc. and called Lean Beef Trimmings, the scraps are combined with pure ground beef to make the hamburger mix served at schools around the country, according to The Daily.
Despite the emergence of a study conducted by microbiologists that classified the trimmings as a “high-risk product,” the U.S. Department of Agriculture has continued to purchase the substance for its school lunch program. The department claims that all of the meat it buys is safe to eat. In 2005, the USDA limited the amount of Lean Beef Trimmings that could be incorporated into a serving of ground beef to 15 percent. But as The Daily reports, since the trimmings aren’t labeled as a unique ingredient in school beef, it’s impossible to tell how much of the product is in the overall blend.
Carl Custer, one of the authors of the study, summed up the problem with Lean Beef Trimmings to The Daily, saying, “My objection with having it in the schools is that it’s not meat.”