Does Your Grocery Store Sell “Pink Slime” Ground Beef?

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It seems that everywhere I turn in the past few weeks there’s an article or an ad with that disgusting picture of “pink slime”.

What’s the pink slime?  According to a recent ABC News Report it is called BLBT and here are a few facts about it:

  • It is made by cooking the waste trimmings (not sure what this includes) from the butchering process at a low heat for a long time to separate the fat, then the fat is spun out.  This results in a “Pink Slime”.
  • It was once used in only dog food and cooking oil, but is now sprayed with ammonia so that it’s safe to eat.
  • This “Pink Slime” is packaged and sent to grocers and meat packers who then put it into ground beef as a filler.
  • This filler is not actually ground beef thus it is argued that the product we are purchasing is misleading.
  • 70% of our grocery store ground beef contains pink slime.
  • The FDA does not require BLBT to be included on the label.

Did you see that last bullet point?  BLBT does NOT have to be included on the label.  So…How do we know if our meat contains the “Pink Slime”?

One way is to buy only organic.  According to the ABC News Report if a product is USDA Organic it will NOT contain the slime.

ABC News also did a second report today which includes a list of stores that do or do not use the filler. Some stores that DO NOT use it are Publix, Costco, Whole Foods, & Kroger.  That’s right — No pink slime at those stores! UPDATE 3/21 – I have removed Kroger from this list because they have posted to Facebook that they actually do sell beef with Pink Slime.

Go here to see the ABC Report and the full list.

I would love to know what you guys think.  Does this news concern you, and will this affect your purchases?  Are you planning to avoid the “Pink Slime?

Food Lion Pink Slime

UPDATE 3/13/2012:  I am updating this with new information I received from one of my Facebook readers.  She emailed Food Lion to find out if their products contain this product and here was their response:

“Food Lion does not add lean finely textured beef (LFTB) to the ground beef we produce in stores. Nationally, many ground beef suppliers include lean finely textured beef (LFBT) in their products. LFBT is created from small beef trimmings where the fast has been separated from the beef. Because of the inclusion of lean finely textured beef is common and approved by the USDA as safe, we cannot rule out that some of the ground beef in our stores contained this food product. All of our beef supplies follow stringent food safety guidelines and produce products in accordance with federal rules and USDA guidelines.”

UPDATES 3/21/2012

Jewel-Osco Pink Slime

Jewel-Osco posted this update to their facebook page:

At Jewel-Osco, safety is our top priority and we follow all safety regulations governing our products, including ground beef. There have been no safety concerns regarding the use of finely textured beef as well. We do not add lean finely textured beef to products that are ground at our retail stores, but it is often used by our ground beef suppliers in their grinding operations. These products are approved and deemed safe by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Kroger Pink Slime

KROGER UPDATE 3/22:

Kroger has released the following today 3/22 in which they announce they will no longer sell meat including LFTB:

“Kroger listens to our customers carefully to provide the high quality products they want at the great prices they deserve. Our customers have expressed their concerns that the use of lean finely textured beef— while fully approved by the USDA for safety and quality—is something they do not want in their ground beef. We highly value customer feedback, and the recent flood of news stories has diminished their confidence in the product. As a result, Kroger will no longer purchase ground beef containing lean finely textured beef,”

You can read Kroger’s Entire Press Release here.

Kroger Update 3/20:

It appears that there is conflicting info about Kroger.  ABC originally reported that they do not use pink slime, but Kroger posted the following on their Facebook Page:

“Kroger carries ground beef both with and without lean finely textured beef. For customers who choose to avoid it, we offer a variety of options including Kroger’s Private Selection Angus Ground Chuck, Round and Sirloin; Private Selection All Natural Ground Beef and Private Selection Organic Ground Beef solid in 1 lb. packages, labeled 80% lean and above; Laura’s Lean Ground Beef; and ground beef prepared in store. All ground beef you find at your local Kroger is USDA-regulated, inspected and approved for food safety and quality. That includes beef products made with lean finely textured beef.”

Walmart Sam’s Club Pink Slime

WALMART/Sam’s Club Update 3/22:

Walmart made an announcement today(3/22) in which they will offer non-LFTB Beef:

“As a result of customer and member feedback, Walmart and Sam’s Club will begin offering fresh ground beef that does not contain lean finely textured beef (LFTB). We are working aggressively with our suppliers to have new offerings in our stores and clubs as quickly as possible. As these products become available, associates in our meat department and at our customer service desks will share updates with customers who inquire.

While the USDA and experts agree that beef containing LFTB is safe and nutritious, we are committed to listening to our customers and providing the quality products they want at prices they can afford.”

Thanks to Jackie in NC for getting us an answer from Walmart.  Here’s what they had to say.

Thank you for your recent inquiry. At Walmart, we are committed to providing our customers with safe and affordable food. We are aware of recent media reports which call into question the quality of ground beef products made with beef trimmings treated with ammonium hydroxide (also known as lean finely textured beef). Lean Finely Textured Beef is widely used in ground beef products throughout the industry.

The USDA Food Safety Inspection Service and the Food and Drug Administration recognize ammonium hydroxide as a GRAS (generally recognized as safe) food additive. Any use of LFTB in beef processing in the US is done under government inspection through the USDA.

For questions regarding beef safety regulations, we encourage you to contact the USDA at (888) 684-6854 or visit http://www.meatami.com/ht/a/GetDocumentAction/i/68411

Giant Eagle Pink Slime

Thank you to Zach M for sharing Giant Eagle’s response:

You may have questions about recent reports regarding the usage of
Boneless Lean Beef Trim (BLBT) in ground beef products. Boneless Lean
Beef Trim is government approved by both the USDA and the FDA and has
been used safely for more than 20 years. We also offer an alternative
product for customers interested in avoiding all additives: our
Nature’s Basket Ground Beef.

Safeway Pink Slime

Thank you to Sarah for sharing Safeway’s response.

The product to which you refer is inspected and passed by the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service. Therefore, we do allow the use of lean, finely textured beef in our ground beef sold at Safeway.

In addition, they have shared the following on their Facebook Page:

we offer our customers a choice of 100% USDA-approved ground beef products that do not contain Lean Finely Textured Beef. Both the 80% Lean Market Trim, which is ground fresh on site, and our Natural Ground Beef, which contains no antibiotics, added hormones or artificial ingredients and is minimally processed, are made without Lean Finely Textured Beef. We also sell traditional ground beef, which may include Lean Finely Textured Beef. Our ground beef products undergo rigorous inspections to ensure that they meet the highest standards for quality and food safety in the industry.

SAFEWAY UPDATE:  This news report that just came out this morning states that Safeway will NO LONGER use “Pink Slime” in it’s beef.

Meijer Pink Slime

Meijer has this posted to their Facebook page:

There has been a lot of media attention lately on lean finely textured beef (which some media outlets have referred to as “Pink Slime.”) We want our customers to know that most types of fresh ground beef that Meijer sells do not have lean finely textured beef as an ingredient. We encourage customers who wish to avoid lean finely textured beef to ask a Meijer meat department associate for assistance.

Winn Dixie and Bi-lo Pink Slime

Added 3/22

IMPORTANT:  Bi-Lo/Winn Dixie release the following:

“BI-LO and Winn-Dixie are committed to offering quality foods and services at a great value. Customer reaction in response to recent reports on lean finely textured beef have put into question the USDA-approved process. Today BI-LO and Winn-Dixie announce we will no longer purchase fresh ground beef containing lean finely textured beef,” said the company.

You can read the entire Press Release here.

Winn Dixie sent the following response to one of my readers prior to the above update. Thanks Jennifer!

Pink slime is a pejorative term for boneless lean beef trimmings. The product is sold by a number of beef processing companies, including Cargill Meat Solutions and Beef Products, Inc (BPI) and is incorporated into ground beef
products.

In the process the lean beef is separated from fat. Then through a safety process to eliminate pathogens, gas (ammonia) is introduced to the beef to remove bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella. This beef product is USDA-approved and is a component (typically less than 25 percent) of a majority of ground beef in the United States. Winn-Dixie gets its beef from suppliers who process lean beef trimmings.

Winn-Dixie is known as The Beef People and we take great pride in the quality and processing standards for products made available to our guests. Our families shop and eat ground beef purchased at Winn-Dixie so our commitment to food safety is personal. We only sell product that comes from suppliers operating USDA inspected facilities and following USDA approved processes.

Aldi Pink Slime

ALDI Update added 3/24:

I received a second email from Aldi yesterday with the following great news:

“We have received your inquiry regarding the use of boneless lean beef trimmings.  The recent media coverage regarding the use of lean finely textured beef certainly seems to have caused a lot of concern and confusion for our customers, so we’re glad you contacted us. 

 At ALDI, we are committed to bringing our customers the highest quality products at the lowest possible prices.  We are also committed to listening to our customers, people like you, who over the last week have told us that they do not want ground beef made with lean finely textured beef (LFTB).  That’s why ALDI has decided that we no longer will purchase ground beef made with this ingredient although the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved this as safe and wholesome beef. 

Again, thank you for reaching out to us.  As you can see, we really do listen to our customers and we appreciate your interest in ALDI and our products. “

Added 3/22

I emailed Aldi about this, and this is their response:

We have received your inquiry regarding the use of boneless lean beef trimmings.  The recent media coverage seems to have caused some confusion for our customers, and we’re glad you contacted us.

 Here are a few key facts that you should know regarding boneless lean beef trimmings:

         -  Boneless lean beef trimmings are a safe, nutritious beef approved by the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture).

          -  Trimmings are the small cuts of beef that remain when larger cuts are trimmed down.  Beef companies then separate the wholesome lean beef from the fat that results in quality lean beef that would otherwise go unused.

           -  Ammonium hydroxide, which is a common, USDA-approved food safety practice for beef, is not the same product as the ammonia you may have in your home.  Rather, it is an element that is found naturally in humans and animals, and helps to maintain the safety and integrity of meats.

 ALDI ground beef is made with USDA-approved, safe and nutritious boneless lean beef trimmings.  As part of their stringent food safety protocols, our suppliers use ammonium hydroxide to ensure the safety and integrity of our ground beef.

 As with all ground beef, the USDA strictly inspects and regulates the products made for ALDI  and our customers.  In fact, USDA inspectors are present in beef plants every day to ensure that products are made in a safe and wholesome manner.

 For more information regarding food safety practices for ground beef, please contact the USDA or the American Meat Institute. 

 f you are unhappy with your ground beef purchase, please return it to the ALDI store from where you purchased it and we will gladly refund the purchase price.

Photo Credit

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Julie says:

    I’ll be buying organic meats from now on! I also signed this petition for school lunches and am spreading the word!!! https://www.change.org/petitions/ban-pink-slime-from-usda-school-lunches

  2. Brittany Whittaker via Facebook says:

    This is very concerning, we haven’t eaten any beef burger since I found out! We have been eating ground turkey instead… Nice to know Costco and Kroger do not use it!! But some of their prepackaged stuff might still have it. If we could afford all organic, we would be eating solely organic foods

  3. Organic ground beef isnt that much. I pay $4 a lbs. Or is that expensive? I only buy 2lbs of ground beef at a time, per week. Pink slime sounds horrible.

  4. $4/lb for organic ground beef is not bad at all. Where do you get it for that price? Non-organic meat at Publix is usually that much.

  5. $4/lb for organic ground beef is not bad at all. Where do you get it for that price? Non-organic meat at Publix is usually that much.

  6. Sprouts in Arizona.

  7. Sprouts in Arizona.

  8. It is organic grass fed ground beef

  9. Jackie Capo Parkins via Facebook says:

    Mine weren’t listed so I emailed them. It will be interesting to see if I get any replies.

  10. That’s awesome Liana, I wish we had a Sprouts.

    Good Idea Jackie. I’d love to hear what you find out:)

  11. The news last night showed the pink slime…..ick……..I’m only eating chicken from now on. I made ham & split pea soup tonight. it was really good!

  12. Elizabeth Medley says:

    I will not purchase from stores that sell pink slime in the meat. I consider this fraud and do not consider them putting what is esentially dog food in my meat as meat. I feel the public should be outraged and demand the USDA change that, it should have never been allowed. Greed is what got it in our food there was a huge payoff for that woman.

  13. KatPalo says:

    Knowing about Pink Slime in beef has me irate. Your question if buying beef will change now knowing about pink slime… Absolutely. Now that I know about it, I’d be a fool to continue purchasing beef with Ammonia used during its processing. Not being informed about pink slime or even the processing that involves pink slime in manufacturing ground beef is a form of lying to the public. It’s called, lying by omission. Kind of goes along the lines of, ‘What you don’t know won’t hurt you’. If we were informed about pink slime, we, as intelligent beings, could make an informed choice to choose beef processed with pink slime or go organic. OR buy sirloin roast and grind it myself into pure ground beef, no additives.

  14. Phil K says:

    I will never again buy ground beef from grocery stores that sell the product with pink slime additive. So Giant and Safeway, the stores in my town…you’ve lost my business. What a fraud you have perpetuated. Phil K from Warrenton, VA

  15. MDR06` says:

    I have always been picky about my ground beef anyways. We’ve noticed the stringly stuff they call ground beef in several stores. So glad Publix and Costco are doing the right thing.

  16. Jennifer says:

    News like this makes me very happy to be a vegetarian!

  17. Jennifer Valley via Facebook says:

    I makes me glad that I’m a vegetarian!

  18. Kara says:

    I work for Marsh and we do not sell the pink slime either. Everything is fresh and cut, sliced, ground in our store. We received this bit of information and were advised to tell customers they should be concerned and to reassure them we don’t sell it.

  19. Amanda F says:

    If you are in the Birmingham area…. you should definitely check out http://www.freshfully.com …. Then you will 100% know what is in your meat!!!

  20. Jim C says:

    I am in the Pittsburgh PA area. Does anyone know the BLBT stand on those grocery chains that have no comment or no listing on the report? Giant Eagle, Aldi, Kroger, Walmart, SAMS Club Food Lion? Eager to know!

    • Holly says:

      Hi Jim,

      One of my readers did get a reply from Food Lion. Here was their response:

      “Food Lion does not add lean finely textured beef (LFTB) to the ground beef we produce in stores. Nationally, many ground beef suppliers include lean finely textured beef (LFBT) in their products. LFBT is created from small beef trimmings where the fast has been separated from the beef. Because of the inclusion of lean finely textured beef is common and approved by the USDA as safe, we cannot rule out that some of the ground beef in our stores contained this food product. All of our beef supplies follow stringent food safety guidelines and produce products in accordance with federal rules and USDA guidelines.”

      I am also very interested in responses from the other stores you mentioned, and am working on getting their answers as well.

      Thanks!
      Holly

  21. Jackie in NC says:

    This is what I received from Wal Mart (I was not impressed):

    Thank you for your recent inquiry. At Walmart, we are committed to providing our customers with safe and affordable food. We are aware of recent media reports which call into question the quality of ground beef products made with beef trimmings treated with ammonium hydroxide (also known as lean finely textured beef). Lean Finely Textured Beef is widely used in ground beef products throughout the industry.

    The USDA Food Safety Inspection Service and the Food and Drug Administration recognize ammonium hydroxide as a GRAS (generally recognized as safe) food additive. Any use of LFTB in beef processing in the US is done under government inspection through the USDA.

    For questions regarding beef safety regulations, we encourage you to contact the USDA at (888) 684-6854 or visit http://www.meatami.com/ht/a/GetDocumentAction/i/68411

    Sincerely,
    Walmart Customer Care

    • Holly says:

      Thanks Jackie! So, in other words…Big brother says it’s ok so it must be ok, right? Hmmm, I have to say that I’m not very impressed either.

  22. Jim C says:

    Thanks Holly for getting some replies from Food Lion and Walmart! I am still looking for a reply from Giant Eagle. here’s an article from the Wall Street Journal that explains the situation and makes me think this should continue be a concern. My main concern is that McDonald’s Taco Bell and Burger King quit purchasing ‘pink slime’ and ‘big brother’ decided to purchase 7 million pounds for our kids school lunch programs. they had to sell all that extra to someone:( very sad and unimpressed with any of the grocers responses except Publix, Costco, Whole Foods and HEB.

  23. Jim C says:

    Hers is the WSJ article if anyone is interested.
    http://online.wsj.com/article/APd98d05e6c0c4439792736da05a70e845.html

  24. Jim C says:

    Also i saw an article that contained the petition link if and one would like to sign it to explain your opinion about Pink Slime being sold to the USDA kids school lunch program. I did sign it and got an email back saying thank you. that’s all i have heard so far. i did see that it now has over 200,000 signatures in the few days it has been up!
    thanks holly!

  25. Ann says:

    Please update your article, Kroger has pink slime. Kroger’s statement from Facebook:

    “Kroger carries ground beef both with and without lean finely textured beef. For customers who choose to avoid it, we offer a variety of options including Kroger’s Private Selection Angus Ground Chuck, Round and Sirloin; Private Selection All Natural Ground Beef and Private Selection Organic Ground Beef solid in 1 lb. packages, labeled 80% lean and above; Laura’s Lean Ground Beef; and ground beef prepared in store. All ground beef you find at your local Kroger is USDA-regulated, inspected and approved for food safety and quality. That includes beef products made with lean finely textured beef.”

    • Holly says:

      Ann,

      Thanks so much for bringing this to our attention. I just found Kroger’s post on their Facebook page that you are are referring to. It seems they have contradicted themselves. I will definitely update it:)

      Thanks!
      Holly

  26. Sarah says:

    Reply from Safeway regarding adding “pink slime” to their ground beef:

    ‘Thank you for your recent correspondence.

    We appreciate the time you have taken to share your feedback.

    The product to which you refer is inspected and passed by the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service. Therefore, we do allow the use of lean, finely textured beef in our ground beef sold at Safeway.

    Your comments are important to us and will be directed to our Public Affairs Department for further review.’

  27. Cathi carpenter says:

    Thanks for the info… I am doing more research before I get too nervous…but what troubles me most is the county I work in gets USDA meat…the USDA is going to be gettin meat with the pink slime. That means the ground beef and ground beef products from the USDA will be SERVED IN OUR SCHOOL CAFETERIAS! That makes me really. Nervous!

  28. Jackie says:

    The trimmings are the part of the meat of a cow that are closest to the skin and therefore very susceptable to contamination by fecal matter. This is why it is cooked for a long time and chemicals have to be used to sterilize it. It is also the reason it was previously only used for dog food. Prior to the ammonia sterilization process being invented, it was not considered fit for human consumption.

  29. CateK says:

    I’m concerned that the US government considers treatment with ammonia to be safe. What planet are these people from? Second, if the animals were raised on pasture and allowed to eat grass as designed, and not packed into CAFOs and feed food unnatural to cows including chicken parts, chicken feces and grain including GMO products; meat near their hide would be safe and ammonia would be unnecessary.

  30. Mom of 2 says:

    This is a great concern for me and my family and we will be shopping at pink slime FREE grocery stores from now on!! We will probably think twice before ordering a hamburger of the menu also.

  31. Arthur Bonds says:

    Does Jewel and Dominick use pink slime?

  32. Arthur Bonds says:

    i would like an answer, does Jewel and Dominicks sell pink slime?

  33. Zach M says:

    I got this back from Giant Eagle customer service- not very comforting!
    Thank you for contacting Giant Eagle.

    You may have questions about recent reports regarding the usage of
    Boneless Lean Beef Trim (BLBT) in ground beef products. Boneless Lean
    Beef Trim is government approved by both the USDA and the FDA and has
    been used safely for more than 20 years. We also offer an alternative
    product for customers interested in avoiding all additives: our
    Nature’s Basket Ground Beef.

    If you have any other questions or comments please call us at
    1-800-553-2324, 7 days a week 9:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M.

    Thank you,

    Giant Eagle Customer Care As you can see, they follow the USDA, also this beef does have a higher chance for pathogens. Also 20 years of usage- that tells me alot about why we have so many health issues. also they call it an ‘ADDITIVE” yest its not labeled. Just not very comforting …NOT to know what goes on with our food!

    • Holly says:

      Thank you so much to everyone for continuing to update us in the comments! I am out of town with limited internet access so I will get the original post updated ASAP.

      Thanks Everyone!

      Holly

  34. Dean Shaw says:

    From now on, the only way I will buy ground beef is if I stand there and watch the butcher grind the meat.

  35. Jackie says:

    Can anyone tell me if ground turkey and ground chicken have the same issues as the beef. Thanks

  36. Holly says:

    Jackie,

    As far as I know this is only an issue with the beef. The BLBT product is actually considered beef because it comes from the cow.

    HTH:)

    Holly

  37. Judy Ann says:

    I buy a lot of meat at Winn Dixie, and I am wondering if the ground beef there has “pink slime”. I didn’t see it on the list for it does or does not.
    Does anyone know? I shop there and at Publix.

  38. milane says:

    How about Sweetbay? Has anyone checked with them?

  39. G. Neely says:

    The meat department at Frys Groceries, a subsidiary of Kroger, will tell you that all hamburger 80% lean or greater, does not have “pink slime”. Not according to Kroger’s press release, which states that certain specialty ground beef and ground beef prepared in the store is absent the stuff. It is present in the balance and you cannot tell without shopping with a copy of their press release, if it is accurage

  40. Don Barnard says:

    I would image that Winn-Dixie uses “pink-slime” in their products as they have previously been found and convicted of repackaging out-of-date meat. Given that the company is always hovering on the brink of bankruptcy and their stores generally exhibit poor material condition and cleanliness, it would be amazing if they didn’t use it.

  41. Melissa says:

    Shame Shame Shame Aldi….as a “child” of Trader Joe’s they should know better…

  42. chelios says:

    I always bought the “Fit and Active” super lean ground beef from ALDI. I will no longer buy it. I will pay a few cents more per pound for beef elsewhere that I know is ground in store and contains no altered beef products regardless of it’s alleged safety as touted by the USDA. Besides, don’t we all know that the government has never been wrong, lol?

  43. susan says:

    Does anyone know about Publix or Zaycon Foods?

  44. jordan says:

    While its refreshing to know they won’t buy this product IN THE FUTURE, is there any way to know how long the beef ALREADY purchased will still be sold in the stores?

  45. jordan says:

    I wished to contact the site administrator personally, which I guess may not be possible.
    As I have only my cellphone for internet, please bear with me.
    Re: ALDI reply of 3/22 concerning ammonium hydroxide, specifically it being different from household ammonia – NOT TRUE.
    It is otherwise known as “aqueous ammonium hydroxide” or dos the rest of us, ammonium hydroxide gas dissolved in water. This is exactly what happens in our mucous membranes when we smell free ammonia, ammonia + water (nasal moisture) = aqueous ammonium hydroxide. In chemistry, as in life, accuracy can mean your life,
    sorry about the size of the link :
    http://householdproducts.nlm.gov/cgi-bin/household/brands?tbl=brands&id=3005026

  46. Rules says:

    So what specifically does an on the internet organization administration degree include? For a single, you will become well versed in technology that are used in organizations throughout the world, this kind of as the Microsoft Workplace Suite (Word, Outlook, Powerpoint, Excel, and many others.) as properly as other important programs. In addition, you will learn how to implement business concept to your own office and personal jobs, which will no doubt impress your boss. You will also create a fantastic offer of work location self-assurance, in areas this kind of as interviewing and skilled conversation. From a more sensible standpoint, locations coated in the plan will incorporate: enterprise regulation, organization ethics, organization finance, personal computer details techniques, management, and leadership.

  47. Yvette says:

    What about Texas HEB grocery store

  48. Dean Shaw says:

    What about the fast food restaurants?

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