Pink slime is having a comeback

Two years after the public backlash against pink slime, sales of processed beef byproduct are rebounding, thanks to soaring beef prices.

According to the Wall Street Journal, a harsh winter and a lingering drought have impacted the U.S. cattle herd, forcing beef prices sharply higher.  As a result, major beef suppliers, such as Beef Products, Inc. and Cargill are again ramping up production to put pink slime back into products like hamburgers, the Journal wrote.

Although considered safe to eat by the Food and Drug Administration, pink slime  --the low-cost ingredient made from fatty bits of meat left over from other cuts and sprayed with ammonium hydroxide gas to kill bacteria-- made headlines in 2012.   That controversy caused producers like Beef Products, Inc. and Cargill to close plants and slash jobs.

Pink slime never went away completely, but supermarkets and other food stores ordered less products with pink slime as an ingredient. Cargill and Beef Products won’t say how exactly much pink slime is in ground beef products now, but in 2012, pink slime could be found in up to 70 percent of supermarket and fast-food ground beef.

"Two years ago, no one would return our calls," an executive with Beef Products Inc. told the Journal. "Now some of those same people are calling us unsolicited, and we don't have the sales staff to maintain the new business."