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On a day when consumers in Washington State were voting on whether to require food companies to label products containing genetically engineered ingredients, Cargill announced that it would begin labeling packages of ground beef containing what is colloquially known as pink slime.

Pink slime, or what the beef industry prefers to call “finely textured beef,” is made from beef trimmings left over after the processing of higher-quality cuts of meat that is washed in citric acid or ammonia to kill contaminates. It became the stuff of consumer nightmares last year after an ABC News report exposed its widespread use as a binder in ground beef, and companies from Kroger and Safeway to McDonald’s scrambled to drop it from their shelves and products.

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