A TV network news program recently latched on to a term originated, they tell us, by some government food-overseeing employee.

No one has told us whether that person intended the term to be vindictive or simply humorous. But the TV journalists were delighted to present it in its worst light, which gave it the impetus for a “great story.” The term was “pink slime.”

Their attraction to it was that they knew that most of us think that anything called slimy is undesirable, even unhealthy. Actually, many forms of slime not only are not undesirable, but also are necessary to our lives.

Our own interiors are pretty slimy. Indeed, all animal life involves slime. It’s a necessary attribute, since active life exists only in wetness, and wetness is what makes it, and keeps it, slimy. Inside our relatively dry skins (which, after all, are dry only on their outsides, not their insides), everything is somewhat wet.

One of skin’s jobs is to keep it that way. If our insides dry out, we die. Our skin’s other way of protecting our wet insides is to keep out bacteria and other things that would love to feast on our interior sliminess.

Their attraction to our slime is that slime is something that is digestion-ready. Our own digestive organs respect that fact. They don’t easily digest big chunks of food, especially dry chunks. That’s why our mothers urged us to “chew your food, don’t just swallow it.”

That was and is good advice. That’s what teeth and tongues and saliva are for — to convert chunks of food, and especially dry food, into well-ground slimy stuff that we can swallow easily and that the lower parts of our digestive tracts can handle easily.

That’s similar to what the “pink slime” production process does. It chews up the mixture of lean meat and fat that was fed into the process to a point where those two ingredients can be separated. The pink slime, which is pureed lean meat (think baby food), is the part passed on for use in edible products. (Dictionary: “Puree — a paste or thick liquid suspension … ground finely.”)

Before the days of packaged baby food, babies often got what was called “pap,” which was food pre-chewed and saliva-moistened by the mother or another adult and then given to a toothless infant to start weaning it away from an all-milk diet.

Like whole milk, it was slimy, so it went down easily and was digestion-ready, as is oatmeal cooked until slimy.

The non-pink part, the fat that was separated out to be what might be called “white slime,” is not passed on into marketed food. The pink variety, from which the white has been well removed, contains less of that than does ordinary red meat, unless the meat is tough.

That is because what makes meat tender is filaments of fat running through it. No process is applied to take that fat out. So it remains as part of what we chew up, and it helps make the chewed stuff slimy enough to be ready to swallow, being slimier than non-fatty pink slime.

Lots of other foods are quite slimy, too. Eggs are a prime example, especially the very viscous white. That is the part that gradually converts to a chick’s bones and meat and skin and feathers and its various organs, including its stomach.

The yolk, which is a slimy glob of the mother hen’s chicken fat, doesn’t convert to any of those things. It just stays there as the slimy contents of the newly hatched chick’s stomach, to be the chick’s first few days’ meals, as good (or better?) for the chick as a slimy soft-boiled yolk is for us.

That is similar to mammalian mothers supplying digestion-ready milk-fat (cream) to their newborns. Milk is pretty slimy stuff, too, especially whole milk, and most especially cream, including ice cream, which, sweetened and flavored, is a kind of frozen slime.

Besides that fat, other parts of milk have slimy characteristics of their own, such as the case in that is good for making both glue and cheese.

Slime is everywhere, much of it good stuff. Apparently there is also slimy journalism, but that is not good stuff.

Richard B. Innes is a resident of Gorham.