'Pink Slime' Was Almost 'Pink Goo'

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How did one of the perfectly apt descriptions of a product come about? When it comes to "pink slime" (AKA, lean finely textured beef),  it turns out the name arose in exactly the way you'd expect.

Sure, the makers of lean finely textured beef weren't so happy that their product got dubbed "pink slime," but where did the name come from? The Associated Press's Candice Choi reports that microbiologist Gerald Zirnstein considered dubbing the ammonia-treated beef "pink paste" or "pink goo" before settling on his iconic name. He explained:

"It's pink. It's pasty. And it's slimy looking. So I called it pink slime," said Gerald Zirnstein, the former meat inspector at the USDA. "It resonates, doesn't it?"

It sure does, though we think pink goo would have worked just as well. All this comes on the day the The Washington Post revealed that the owner of a firm that manufactures the "pink slime" visited the White House last year "on a lobbying mission," as Politico dubbed it. This was before the controversy so the visit was unrelated, but even if it had been at the same time, where chemically-sprayed food is concerned, we imagine no amount of lobbying dollars would've helped counter Zirnstein's nauseatingly evocative name.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.