Pink Slime and You

Jim Avila investigates the widespread use of this specially treated filler meat.
17:07 | 03/07/12

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Transcript for Pink Slime and You
Now a startling ABC news investigation. A whistle blower has come forward to tell consumers about the ground beef a lot of us by at the supermarket. Is it what we think -- news or is it padded with a -- the whistle blower calls pink slime. ABC's senior national correspondent Jim model is set out to get answers. Gerald -- grinds his own hamburger Tuesday. Why because this former USDA scientists. Now whistle -- knows that 70% of the ground beef we buy at the supermarket contain something he calls pink slime. Beef trimmings that were once used only in dog food and cooking -- -- now sprayed with ammonia to make them safe -- -- And then added -- most ground beef as a cheaper filler. It was Bernstein who in the USDA memo first coined the term pink slime it is now coming forward to say he won't buy. It's economic fraud it's not it's not. Fresh ground beef it's a substitute it's a cheap substitute being -- and turns. Dean and his fellow USDA scientist Carl Custer both warned against using what the industry calls -- finely textured beat. And -- widely known now as -- line. But their government buses -- -- them. Why didn't you consider it be because. It was a salvage product leftovers that that had been. He did that low temperature and the excess fat -- Here's how it's done. Those -- trimmings are gathered simmered at low heat to make it easier to separate fact from muscle. Put -- -- centrifuge and spun to finish the separation. Next the mixture is sent through pipes were -- sprayed with ammonia gas to kill bacteria. And finally compressed into bricks and flash frozen for shipment to meat Packers and grocery stores where it's added -- most -- -- And it doesn't have to appear on the label. Because over objections of its own scientists USDA officials with links to the beef industry labeled pink slime meet. The undersecretary said. It's pink therefore -- meet. ABC news has learned the woman who made the decision to -- the mix is former undersecretary of agriculture JoAnne Smith a call that led to hundreds of millions of dollars. For beef products -- the makers of -- line. When Smith stepped down from USDA. BP i.'s principal supplier -- point -- of the board of directors where she made at least one point two million dollars over seventeen years. She did not return our calls for comment. BP I says it had nothing to do with her appointment in the USDA says while legal then. Under current ethics rules she could not -- immediately join that court. Jim Avila ABC news Washington.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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