Manufacturers are allowed under USDA rules to add up to 15% of the filler in ground beef to be considered safe. And, this is another situation where no labeling requirements are required to tell consumers what is in the products because it is considered a manufacturing process. Consumers who purchase ground beef, other than ‘organic’ or ‘grass fed’ clearly labeled ‘no ammonia added’, where it is not allowed, are probably consuming pink slime without knowing it.
The critics argue that ammonia hydroxide has a role in pink slime the same as the role in cheese, baked goods, and some chocolate. It has been shown ammonium hydroxide acts as a leavening agent in baked goods, acidity in cheese, and some chocolate products. When it is heated, the ammonia gas is released and does not stay in the food. Which brings the question of safety in the filler where ammonium hydroxide is added after the heating process. It is made up of nitrogen and hydrogen from natural sources.
According to chemical fact sheets, ammonium hydroxide is made by diluting anhydrous ammonia, a colorless, corrosive, and highly irritating gas, in water. The anhydrous ammonia is produced from a