The product known in the meat industry as “lean finely textured beef” has been on store shelves for the better part of two decades. The recent uproar over it signals the power of the Web and social media to not only change public opinion, but government and industry policy.
In this March 12 photo, Bettina Siegel, center, poses with her son Asher, 9, and daughter Lily, 12, at their home in Houston. Bettina Siegel and her blog “The Lunch Tray” are at the root of the backlash. Siegel was troubled by a report of ammonia-treated meat trimmings in school lunches and took to her blog to write about it. She also started an online petition asking Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to “put an immediate end to the use of ‘pink slime’ in our children's school food.” Within eight days, the petition had more than 200,000 signatures.Pat Sullivan/AP