WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

Thursday thoughts: Pink Slime in ground beef - who has it & who doesn't

Posted March 22, 2012 10:29 a.m. EDT
Updated March 22, 2012 4:38 p.m. EDT

In the last few weeks, consumers have been enlightened about the controversial contents of ground beef sold at various grocery stores, fast food restaurants and even in school lunches. Because of the uproar, many stores have taken meat processed with lean finely textured beef off the shelf. Here's the word from various area grocery stores about whether their ground beef includes this controversial filler called "pink slime."

The issue is that the product known as "pink slime" includes cow parts that are often close to the hide and may have more fecal contamination.  In order to kill the germs more prevalent in these trimmings, they are sprayed with ammonia gas. The USDA says that the food sprayed with ammonia is safe to eat. Many consumers, including parents who have kids eating pink slime in school lunches, are not comfortable with ammonia sprayed beef trimmings.

I contacted Harris Teeter, Lowes Foods, Food Lion and Kroger. Of those four stores, Harris Teeter and Lowes Foods responded to my inquiry yesterday. Kroger got back to me today (3/22).  Here are their responses:

Kroger Update: A rep for Kroger just called me to let me know that Kroger, in response to customer feedback, will stop selling the meat processed with lean finely textured beef.  I'll have the official press release for you in a couple hours, but thought you would want to know!

Harris Teeter: "Harris Teeter's own brand suppliers do not use ‘pink slime’ in any Harris Teeter Brands ground beef including Harris Teeter Naturals, Rancher and Angus ground beef products. "

Lowes Foods: "Our meat department indicated that over 90 percent of our fresh grinds are produced from fresh cut beef that we produce. On occasion to meet our demands we do buy some ground beef from large beef producers. These grinds may contain lean, finely textured beef approved by the USDA."

Yesterday, ABC news released an article that indicated that Food Lion will stop selling beef processed with the pink slime.  {a href="external_link-1"}} Click HERE for the story.

The article also mentioned that Walmart and Sam's Club would start offering beef that does not have the filler.

The most frustrating aspect for many consumers is that stores are not required to inform you if their meat contains lean finely textured beef and the packages do not indicate if it is included.

The good news is that it appears that meat marked organic does not have this filler.

Basically, if you want to make sure your ground beef does not include pink slime, have the butcher grind up a roast for you while you wait or grind your own at home. Keep in mind that you do not know what was last ground at the grocery store that your roast may still come into contact with when ground on their machine. 

What are your thoughts on enjoying a pink slime burger?

Should the USDA have approved this filler?

Should stores be required to indicate which products contain lean finely textured beef?