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Ethical Eating

Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution: Pink Slime for Everyone!

If you're a fan of chef Jamie Oliver, you may have tuned in to ABC's premiere of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution expecting that same young buck messing around with food to feed his mates and having a jolly good time. No, no, no -- Jamie is older now, a father of four, and looks downright miserable for most of the episode, not just because he isn't getting anywhere with his quest to improve what American kids are eating but also because

people in L.A. don't seem to care. He wants to transform school lunch food in L.A. but is barred by the School Board from even entering any of the schools in the district.

That said, if you are drawn to -- I don't know -- horror or to, say, shows where people eat truly disgusting ingredients, you may want to tune in. Case in point, pink slime.

Jamie gives a demo to a few parents and kids about meat. He brings in a live cow and shows them where on the cow the different cuts of meat come from and how much they cost. Then he brings in cuts of meat and shows them pink slime -- basically the dregs left over after all the proper cuts have been butchered. Pink slime can then be made into pet food, but in the U.S., we're all eating it.

In America, we further process the pink slime with ammonia to get all the last bits of meat from the fat and bone. Jamie tells us how pink slime is an additive in 70 percent of ground beef sold in the U.S. and that the USDA doesn't require labeling to acknowledge either the pink slime or the ammonia that's added to it.


And as if that isn't gross enough, we later watch a demo of pounds of sugar being poured into a school bus -- the amount of sugar the LAUSD kids take in in one week just from flavored milk. Oliver really goes berserk over this one, speaking out at a nutrition conference about how in the U.K. and in most other parts of the world, flavored milk has been banned -- and questioning why we are giving more sugar to American kids during an obesity crisis. When you see the hills of sugar that overflow the bus, you kind of see where he is coming from.

I think we are used to seeing reality television as light entertainment, but this show has a different tone. It's a true-to-life horror show of what Americans eat without really thinking about it. At one point Jamie, sneakily, gets kids and parents to bring in what they are eating at school (remember, he can't see for himself because he's not allowed in the schools). There are packages of preservative-filled food, and nothing fresh. But then, he sees it -- an apple! Could there be hope in the midst of all this barely recognizable "food"? The kid who brought it in says he's actually homeschooled -- and we all laugh, nervously.

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Roseanne Pereira
Contact: Roseanne Pereira

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