'Pink Slime' Taste Test

VIDEO: Cookbook author samples meat with and without ground beef filler.

Image Credit: Brian Yarvin/Getty Images

Since an ABC News investigation last week, cheap meat filler, finely textured lean beef, commonly called  pink slime, has been a hot topic for consumers.

On Thursday, because of demand from the public, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that starting this fall, schools will be able to choose whether or not they buy hamburger that contains pink slime.

Click here to find out which supermarkets sell beef with pink slime.

Seventy percent of the ground beef sold at supermarkets in the U.S. contains the filler, according to estimates from the main supplier, and today Associated Press food editor, J.M. Hirsch, conducted a taste test with ABC News to see if there is difference. And according to Hirsch there is.

Read J.M. Hirsch's full article here

"In a side by side, the ground beef without the pink stuff in it is definitely a much better burger," he told ABC News.

Hirsch said while he could not see a difference in the meat prior to cooking, he could feel it as he made the patties.

"I did find that the one without the pink stuff did have a fattier feel in your hand. But otherwise they look pretty much the same and as they're cooking they smell the same," he said.

However, once in the pan, the burger with pink slime did not let out as much fat as the burger without it and the differences became more evident once Hirsch tasted the beef.

"The texture is off and it's chewy and not in a good way. The other burger has a kind of meatiness to it, the kind of the burger chew that you want," Hirsch said. "But this burger is more chewy in a sort of gristly sort of way. You feel like you're chewing on something that really shouldn't be there."

Hirsch also found a difference in taste.

"The flavor is also a lot more muted than the all-natural burger and I can only assume that that's related to the pink slime," he told ABC News. "The flavor just isn't as robust in the meat that's been cut with this meat filler."

Even with that said, Hirsch does not discount the pink slime burger entirely.

"The reality is that this is not a bad burger and if you gave it to me on it's own I wouldn't reject it outright," he said.

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