Kids are back in school – and so is the ground beef filler known as “pink slime.” Last year, thousands of U.S. schools rushed to stop feeding their students the ammonia-treated lean beef product. But according to new government data acquired by Politico, schools in a total of seven states have resumed buying the controversial product and will be feeding it to children.

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Politico claims that as of September 3, a total of seven states, including Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Texas, have put in orders to the USDA for two million pounds of beef that may contain the controversial pink slime. Last year it was less popular, since Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota were the only three states ordering beef that may have contained lean finely textured beef.

For those of you who missed the hubbub that started last year in March, pink slime is a slurry meat stand-in made from parts of the cow carcass considered too fatty for human consumption. These trimmings were previously used as pet food, but some meat manufactures decided they could be spun into a cheap, lean, finely textured beef for everything, including McDonald’s hamburgers. The resulting product is also exposed to ammonia gas in an attempt to kill off bacteria.

As the country continues to grapple with a tightened budget, it’s not surprising schools are looking to cut corners. Politicosays that the meat filler can bring down the cost of ground beef by about three percent, which can add up quickly when you’re feeding a student body of 31 million children every day.

That said, pink slime is not only a gross amalgamation created by the meat industry, it is also unsafe. A Pulitzer Prize-winning report in The New York Times revealed numerous government reports connecting the meat slurry product with elevated levels of E. coli bacteria and salmonella.

Via Treehugger and Politico

Second image © U.S. Department of Agriculture