Did McDonald’s Lose Toxic Meat Legal Battle With Jamie Oliver?!

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Did McDonald’s just lose its legal battle against Jamie Oliver over its toxic pink slime meat?! Take a look at the viral claims, and find out what the facts really are!


Claim : McDonald’s Loses Legal Battle With Jamie Oliver!

People are claiming on social media that McDonald’s just lost its legal battle against British chef Jamie Oliver over its toxic pink slime meat!

Keep it Real : [McDonald’s loses the legal battle with chef Jamie Oliver, who proved that the food they sell is not fit to be ingested because it is highly toxic.

Chef Jamie Oliver has won a battle against the world’s largest junk food chain. Oliver proving how buyers are made.

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Did McDonald's Lose Toxic Meat Legal Battle With Jamie Oliver?!


Truth : McDonald’s Did Not Lose Legal Battle With Jamie Oliver!

This is yet another example of fake news circulating on WhatsApp, and social media platforms like X (formerly Twitter), and Facebook, and here are the reasons why…

Fact #1 : There Was No McDonald’s – Jamie Oliver Lawsuit

Let me start by pointing out that there was no legal battle between McDonald’s and Jamie Oliver. McDonald’s did not sue Jamie Oliver, and Jamie Oliver also did not sue McDonald’s.

Fact #2 : Jamie Oliver Did Not Target McDonald’s

Jamie Oliver did not actually target McDonald’s. So there is really no reason for McDonald’s or Jamie Oliver to sue one another.

In the episode of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution that aired on 12 April 2011, Jamie Oliver spoke out against Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB), which he derisively referred to as “pink slime”.

Fact #3 : Jamie Oliver Did Not “Discover” Pink Slime

While much has been made about Jamie Oliver’s “battle” against pink slime, he did not create that term, and he wasn’t even amongst the first to speak out against LFTB, which has been sold since 2001.

The term “pink slime” was reportedly coined by USDA microbiologist Gerald Zirstein in a 2002 email to his colleagues. He was, arguably, also the first to criticise LFTB.

I do not consider the stuff to be ground beef, and I consider allowing it in ground beef to be a form of fraudulent labeling.

Michael Moss from The New York Times posted not one article, but at least two articles on the safety of LFTB – on 3 October 2009, and then on 30 December 2009,.

Two years later, ABC News would air a series of reports on LFTB in March 2011. It was only after the extensive coverage by ABC News that Jamie Oliver actually featured LFTB on his show.

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Fact #4 : LFTB Is Ammonia-Treated Beef Paste

Despite its gross sounding name and look, LFTB is simply meat that has been separated from the fat in beef trimmings, and treated with ammonia to kill pathogens like Salmonella and E. coli.

The LFTB technology basically recovers meat that would otherwise be wasted and thrown away. Think of LFTB as low-fat beef paste. Regular ground beef consists of about 30% fat, while LFTB only has about 5% fat.

Fact #5 : McDonald’s Stopped Using LFTB In 2011

McDonald’s announced on 31 January 2012, that it stopped adding Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB) to its burgers since the beginning of 2011, and that it was no longer available in its products since August 2011:

At the beginning of 2011, we made a decision to discontinue the use of ammonia-treated beef in our hamburgers. This product has been out of our supply chain since August of last year. This decision was a result of our efforts to align our global standards for how we source beef around the world.

In other words – McDonald’s made the decision to stop using LFTB in its burgers in early 2011 – months before ABC News or Jamie Oliver covered LFTB. It was only in August 2011 that all of its LFTB-based products were cleared out of its supply chain.

Fact #7 : Ammonia In LFTB Isn’t Toxic

Even though McDonald’s no longer uses “pink slime” in their burgers, I should point out that the amount of ammonia used in LFTB isn’t dangerous.

The amount of ammonia present in Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB) is actually comparable to ammonia levels present in existing foods:

Food Ammonia Level
American Cheese 813 ppm
Unblended LFTB 400-500 ppm
Ketchup 411 ppm
Onions 342 ppm
Blended Beef Patty
with 15% LFTB
200 ppm
Ground Beef 101 ppm

Ammonium hydroxide isn’t just used to treat LFTB meat trimmings, it is also used to produce a wide variety of foods like cheese, puddings, chocolate, and even as a leavening agent in bread. In fact, the ammonium hydroxide is classified as GRAS (Generally Recognised as Safe) by the US FDA, when used in appropriate concentrations.

Fact #8 : LFTB Uses Ammonium Hydroxide Gas

In his viral video, Jamie Oliver is seen showing a front loading washing machine filled with meat, with ammonia-based cleaning products in the background. He then pours from a bottle marked with “Ammonia” and a skull and crossbones symbol into a large tub filled with pieces of beef.

That is not an accurate reflection of how LFTB products are made, because the ammonium hydroxide used in the LFTB process is gaseous, not liquid. In addition, the LFTB process only uses the ammonium hydroxide gas to increase the pH of the separated meat trimmings, from 5.7 to 9.6 (source).

If there ever is a lawsuit over that Jamie Oliver video, he would be hard-pressed to explain how that demonstration accurately replicates how LFTB meat is really produced.

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.


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