As the fury over the practice of adding 'pink slime' to ground beef continues, news has emerged that several major retail grocery carriers are banning the sale of any ground beef containing the meat byproduct in their stores.
According to several media reports, many major store chains have sworn off selling beef products that contain the filler commonly referred to as 'pink slime.'
The more palatable name of the meat additive is "lean finely textured beef," but many consumers say there is nothing appetizing about these meat scraps being treated with ammonia and mixed in with other meat.
Whole Foods, Publix, A&P and Costco previously indicated they've never sold beef products with the filler additive, and now other grocers are following suit.
Supermarket chain Stop & Shop said in a press release, the chain would no longer purchase items containing the additive.
"While the US Department of Agriculture has indicated this product is safe for consumption and complies with all applicable standards for lean beef, many of our customers have voiced concern regarding Finely Textured Beef. We value the trusted relationship we have with our customers and their feedback on this issue." the statement said. "Stop & Shop will continue to communicate openly with customers and stands by the quality, safety and compliance of all products we sell."
Kroger issued a statement today that reflected similar sentiments.
ABC News reported Safeway, the second largest supermarket chain in the U.S., has also pulled the plug on stocking meat products containing the pink slime.
“Safeway is committed to providing our customers with the highest-quality products,” the grocer said in a statement. “While the USDA and food industry experts agree that lean finely textured beef is safe and wholesome, recent news stories have caused considerable consumer concern about this product. Safeway will no longer purchase ground beef containing lean finely textured beef.”
Walmart issued its statement yesterday indicating that the company has listened to its customers and Walmart and Sam’s Club will no longer carry meats containing the filler.
Target, Supervalu, Food Lion also will stop selling 'pink slime' as well, reported the Associated Press (via CBS News). Many other brand names fall under the umbrella of some of the major names, such as Supervalu.
Recently Digital Journal reported 70 percent of ground beef sold in the U.S. contains the low-quality meat.
“It’s economic fraud,” former USDA scientist Gerald Zinstein had said to ABC News. “It’s not fresh ground beef. … It’s a cheap substitute being added in.”
The New York Times raised this issue back in 2009, and quoted an email from Zinstein from 2002 where he used the phrase "pink slime". However, this year the practice has really gained the attention of food advocates and consumers, causing a lot of backlash and outrage. Recently fast food giant McDonald's announced their hamburgers no longer contained the controversial meat.
Another divisive issue associated with 'pink slime' is the fact many school lunch programs include the so-called 'finely textured beef'. While the USDA says the meat is safe for human consumption, starting this fall, the National School Lunch Program will allow school districts to have the ability to decide whether to buy ground beef that contains the filler.