Food watchdog takes Dutch state to court over ‘pink slime’ meat

Your frikandel being fried. Photo:
Your frikandel being fried. Photo:

Food watchdog Foodwatch is taking the Dutch state to court on Thursday, claiming too few checks are made on mechanically separated meat, and that this could pose a risk to consumers.

Separated meat, a pink slime or paste-like product, is extracted from beef, pig and chicken carcasses once all the usable flesh has been cut off. It is used in cheaper products like pies and sausages and snack bar staples such as frikandel.

The meat is separated from the carcass using high pressure equipment and heated, resulting in a ‘meat soup’, a process which can promote bacterial growth, Foodwatch claims.

Foodwatch has carried out a three-year investigation into the use of separate meat and says that Dutch food safety body NVWA only rarely checks how safe it is.

It is also unclear in many cases where the meat comes from, which is against regulations, Foodwatch said, adding that better controls are needed to make sure the source of the meat is traceable in case of a problem.

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