Much ado about "Pink Slime:" National grocers stop buying meat

"Pink Slime," or what the industry terms "Lean Finely Textured Beef," has been in the news quite a bit lately. As public awareness has spread about the beef-filler commonly used in ground beef, three major retailers have announced that they will no longer sell ground beef that contains the additive. From Yahoo:

At least three national supermarket operators have decided to stop buying ground beef that contains the filler now known as "pink slime."

Supervalu Inc. — which operates owns stores under the Acme, Albertsons, Cub Foods, Farm Fresh, Hornbacher's, Jewel-Osco, Lucky, Shaw's/Star Market, Shop 'n Save and Shoppers Food & Pharmacy banners — said Wednesday that customer concern prompted it to stop carrying products containing the filler. Safeway Inc., which operates the Genuardi's and Dominicks chains, as well as Safeway stores, said Wednesday that it also has announced it will stop selling fresh or frozen ground beef with the filler.

Public outcry over "pink slime" has grown sharply as images, media reports and online petitions about it have spread.

The low-cost additive, which has been used for years, is made from fatty bits of leftover meat that are heated, spun to remove the fat, compressed into blocks and exposed to ammonia to kill bacteria. Producers often mix the filler into fattier meat to produce an overall leaner product and reduce their costs.

I'm not trying to pass judgment on ground beef, the industry, or what anyone chooses to eat, but I am happy to see this change. Our family stopped buying non-organic ground beef over five years ago for health reasons, and per the organic standard, organic ground beef cannot contain Lean Finely Textured Beef at all.

But the other side of the equation is the cost. Organic beef is expensive, so it's something we eat occasionally, not weekly. At Jewel, a pound of Wild Harvest ground beef sells for $6.99. I'm always happy when I find it close to the date code and can pick it up for a better price. (This past week, I found it with $4-off peelies stuck on by the meat department... that's a deal!)

As supermarkets continue to remove "pink slime" from their ground beef, the after-effect may also be higher prices. With the cheap fillers that made it low-cost going away, the fillers will have to be replaced with higher-quality (actual) beef.

I've been getting some email from readers on this topic. One wrote last night expressing this concern:

"Pink Slime: I'm curious about your thoughts on this trend. With everybody freaked out about it and a bunch of stores stopping to carry meat treated with it. I see this as a verrrrry bad trend. Please follow my logic. The pink slime is used to basically make unusable meat usable. The meat is then also used as a filler that in turn keeps the price of a little better quality meat lower. Correct?

So the cost of the little bit better quality meat will rise (because there is no filler). The unusable meat is now again unusable so the next better quality of meat will be in demand. That in turn will force the price of the little bit better quality of meat even higher. Then, everyone is going to complain because meat is so expensive."

Another reader writes:

"I was thinking about beef prices [with regard to "pink slime."] Thing is, Woodmans has never used it, so I doubt whether their beef will go up. Other stores will have to stay competitive."

What do you think? Are you concerned with eating "pink slime" in ground beef? Would you be willing to pay more for ground beef free from this filler, or do you expect ground beef prices to remain about the same?

"Pink Slime" image used under Creative Commons license.


Just another Thought

If Pink Slime is so wonderful, why don't they sell it on it's own merit?
Why hide it among something else?
Then people could do what they want with it.

Probably for the same reason

they don't sell high fructose corn syrup, carmel color, phosphoric acid, natural flavors, caffeine without the Carbonated Water.

More info...

To quote: “Someone, somewhere, thought we wouldn’t buy a product labeled ‘ground beef—with added trimmings, connective tissue and ammonia.”

Another quote" "...from Amy Hubbard at the Los Angeles Times notes that even the consumer-advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest isn’t particularly alarmed about pink slime, noting rather depressingly that a lot worse things go into the daily diet."

If you are so concerned about so-called "Pink Slime"... "Among them are breads, pastries, cheeses, chocolates, breakfast cereals, sports drinks, fruits, vegetables. In other words, if we’re going to worry about chemical processing, beef products need to stand in line." Many of us DO indeed worry about chemical processing but many are just reacting to the "flavor of the month" hot copy instead of doing an actual hard-look assessment of everything we're buying for ourselves and our families.

Following up on my posts below: here is some reading discussing the origin of the media frenzy about this and the actual science (with lots of links to relevant information.)

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/crux/2012/03/23/it-came-from-the-media...

Not the flavor of the month

I actually worry about all processed food. I simply don't buy the traditional American way. I make my own bread, my own yogurt, several types of cheeses, and soon hope to make even more! I grow many of my own vegetables and try to buy organic if I can. It is a fact that American farmers use too many hormons in everything. Since I live in a place which borders rural, I can buy things at the farmers market, order meat from farmers who feed their animals only grass. I also buy from ethnic food stores which tend to be reasonably priced. However, I will also admit to eating the occasional fast food, but that's a guilty pleasure.

The important thing is for consumers to educate themselves and begin to pressure politicians to force manufacturers to label the food we buy accurately and stop accepting bribes. It is possible and we must demand not to be kept in the dark any longer.

Guys, John Locke was a great guy, honorary American founding father and all, but really, he is soooooooo 17th century! We don't have to be so stagnated and allow others to make humongous profits at the expense of public health.

People on Jewel's facebook page asking them to bring back pink s

Hi- I was just on Jewel's Facebook page, and I could not believe how many comments there were from customers who wanted Jewel to start selling ground beef with pink slime again! They can't all be serious?

I was visiting that page because somebody on lth forum, where I also post, was complaining about Jewel's new produce bags, and I suggested that she voice a complaint on their Facebook page. She liked that idea, but when I visited Jewel's Facebook page, I found no complaints about their new produce bags. There were a few complaints made by couponers who were not allowed to use a $5 coupon on an item that sells for $4.99. The number one complaint though was the fact that Jewel got rid of the pink slime. Hope this helps, Nancy

Facebook

Nearly all of the posts asking to bring back finely textured beef ("Can we please have a choice to request lean finely textured beef? It just makes sense to me. A safe, quality product!") are written by people representing "Beef is Beef," the PR website that the beef industry set up to respond to the pink slime controversy.

Consider the sources. One of the posters is writing from Sioux City, NE according to the datestamp -- highly likely they're not even a Jewel-Osco customer.

Agree

This particular story is "flavor of the month" - the idea behind it isn't though. I wish I had the time and know-how to make my own common items. So far I've ventured into some simple bread-making. I read the labels of bread at the store and they have so much STUFF listed! At home, it's just four ingredients. I just have to work at making those four ingredients work together better (a chef/cook/baker I am not!)

It's just ridiculous how much we have to BATTLE the food industry (and government) just to have accurate information just so we can make decisions for our well-being (I just take issue when these same entities we constantly battle start making decisions FOR me.)

You are right on one thing

It is high time consumers pressure their politicians to force food companies to label everything. This is particularly important in the case of genetically modified food that we don't get to know that it is so. For example, look at the information that the European Commission officially posts about their regulations and monitoring of genetically modified food and labels:

http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/biotechnology/index_en.htm

Producers have to register with the EU and information on them is provided here:

http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/biotechnology/index_en.htm

Information on research here:

http://gmo-crl.jrc.ec.europa.eu/

On mechanically recovered meat here:

http://ec.europa.eu/food/fs/sc/oldcomm4/out16_en.html

Pink slime is banned in Europe, and here is a comparison with the US:

http://brightonyourhealth.com/school-lunch-program-between-france-americ...

Here is information on the continuous war between Europe and the US about genetically modified food and letting the consumer know:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_trade_of_genetically_modified...

The European regulatory system is described here:

http://www.gmo-compass.org/eng/regulation/regulatory_process/156.europea...

The US, pressured by the big interest groups, claim that it's all part of free trade, but the EU says OK, free trade, they, too, have capitalism, but there is such a thing as ethics and informed consent:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_trade_of_genetically_modified...

Please note that this war has been going on for many many years, so we are not talking here about flavor of the month.

When the EU once decided to allow some genetically modified foods that were not agreeable to consumers, the latter revolted, so this happened:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/03/us-eu-gmo-bans-idUSTRE71267M20...

http://www.euractiv.com/cap/study-questions-safety-gm-corn-france-seeks-...

I've always praised the US for allowing the average citizen to voice his/her opinion and pressure politicians. I've also admired many American consumer protection procedures. However, citizens have to keep informed and not close their eyes to what is going on. There is information, politicians prefer to be corrupt and accept lobbyists' bribes, and consumers therefore have to stand up for their rights. What's going on right now is not good. Please, watch that American documentary I told you, Food Inc. for more information.

Much Ado About Nothing

I don't get all the knee-jerk reactions people have to stories such as this every time they appear in the media. Just because something becomes hot copy, people seem to lose all rational critical thought of their own. What I think we're seeing with this story is the same reaction that permeates our modern day consciousness that was propagated by Upton Sinclair in the early 1900's. The Jungle was a fictional piece of work that affected the Chicago meat packing industry to the point of extinction and to this day people still say "you know what's in that hot dog?" Stories such as this tap into this fear with absolutely no scientific basis.

If it's 100% meat, then I have no problem eating it. Perhaps "you" (second person vernacular aimed at any reader) do have issues with it and that's fine - but at least educate yourself on the science and make an educated decision. I agree with one commenter here that as long as we have the knowledge, that it's based in fact and perhaps the labeling can indicate true ingredients and processing (e.g., not a cut direct from a butcher) then we're free to make our own decisions. Unfortunately, that's not the case today and instead of just providing us with information, others are making decisions for us.

What we're seeing here is "fact by consensus". It's just too bad consensus is often driven by the media and the unquestioning masses instead of scientific fact.

Unscientific?!

I invite you to look at more consumer reports, not to mention inform yourself about what "mechanically recovered meat" really means. I also invite you to read what the European Commission has said about the preparation and packaging of meat, especially in the US. You can tell me, of course, that you are an American and don't give a toss about what Europeans say, and that's your right. My answer to you will be too freaking bad.

Your parallel made absolutely no sense at all.

Sigh

Unfortunately, Sara you sort of prove my observation. You seemingly take offense to my post (which I only infer by your use of punctuation and word choice since one cannot read "tone" per say.) To stack with your offense you self-admittedly don't understand the point of my post.

Consumer reports do not equal unbiased scientific research. Government recommendations do not even come close to science - they are driven by, what else... politics (which itself is driven by money...what isn't, right?)

I'm sure you are familiar with the common joke, "eggs are bad for you, eggs are good for you, eggs are bad for you again." This is predicated on studies that are nowhere scientific, ignore dissenting opinions (as you seem to be doing), and take correlation as scientific fact, then lobby to make it consensus.

If I may be so bold as to make my own suggestion, I recommend "Good Calories, Bad Calories" by Gary Taubes as a primer on such practices and how unscientific consensus becomes alleged "fact" ingrained in the consciousness of the world propagated by political and personal bias (using the media and government as delivery mechanisms.) He also has a very informative blog. He cites all studies, interviews, research - he is a scientific journalist and is very thorough and eye-opening.

And I maintain, this story smacks of more of the same.

And more pink slime updates...

From Consumerist: http://consumerist.com/2012/03/there-are-now-900000-fewer-pounds-of-pink...

There Are Now 900,000 Fewer Pounds Of "Pink Slime" Being Produced Each Day

According to the AP, the three plants — in Amarillo, TX, Garden City, KS, and Waterloo, IA — had been responsible for producing a total of 900,000 pounds of the filler each day. A plant in South Dakota will still be producing it.

"We feel like when people can start to understand the truth and reality then our business will come back," a rep for the company tells the AP. "It's 100 percent beef."

No wonder the EU

No wonder the EU and the US engage in trade wars from time to time. There was a time that the EU refused to import American meat because of lack of information on its processing.

Farm

I was just going to post about this. I went to a Farmers Market at Church during the winter. One of the people was a farm about 100 miles or so west of Chicago (forgot the name). They had information on buying whole cows, lamps, pigs, etc. They even had a processor near the farm. They mentioned they use just organic feed to the animals. So, you only need to pay and pick up the product. If I knew other people, I would have jump on this right away. Why? It is organic and supports local farmers. I think I will give this a second thought and try to recruit people for this.

Slime

I mentioned this to my husband this morning and he already knew about it. I never saw anything on this until Jill's blog. Guess who gets to sit and watch the morning news...
Anyway, Albertson's has a sale for $2.79 a pound 93% lean and freshly ground. He assured us that it had no pink slime in it. Hopefully he told the truth since I purchased several pounds at that price. Even cheap hamburger is over $3 a pound everywhere in our town.
Thanks again Jill for the enlightenment.

Don't forget there's White Slime, too!

I'm so glad Pink Slime is coming to light. And, no I'm not concerned about the price of beef going up. I'm sure it will. But, I use a butcher in LaGrange to get my meat. DeVries. Highly recommend them. I usually don't buy hamburger, but when I do I get a hunk of sirloin and a hunk of chuck and have them double-grind it. Usually, I just buy non-ground meat there.

There used to be a butcher in Brookfield, but he went out of business.

I'm glad the Pink Slime is getting attention. I have a cooking website and I did a post on Jamie Oliver's "Fowl Dinner's" program years ago. You can find the show on You Tube. The show follows chickens from egg to plate - and shows the chicken slime that is also on the market. (Jamie also highlighted this in his Food Revolution series, in season 1, maybe episode 5 or so.)

We really need to follow Jill's example.
Eat quality meat, less frequently.
~ Dana

I have a HUGE BEEF with ZAYCON foods!!

Not to mention the 40 pounds of ground beef I bought from them earlier in the month that sits in my freezer that indeed CONTAINS pink slime.
Yes, I have probably, unknowingly, bought, eaten and served my family beef containing pink slime from Dominick's and Jewel.

But when a company clearly states on their owe website that the beef they sell has, " No chemicals, additives or water added to meat during processing," wouldn't you think it was PINK SLIME free?

I did, but I called over a week ago just to make sure. The first person to answer the phone gave me the scripted response from their website which led the average consumer to believe the beef was slime free. ( See: Mashupmom) She also suggested I call National Beef, their supplier, and ask them. I told her I paid Zayon, not National Beef and they needed to find out from National Beef.

When I pressed the issued for specifics I was transferred to someone else. "Are you calling about pink slime?" Yes I am. She told me they had numerous inquiries from customers wondering the same thing and had numerous emails into National Beef, their supplier, and were awaiting an answer. She assured me when they found out they would post the information on their website.

Fast forward to Wednesday of this week. I googled around and found 2 news sources reporting that Zaycon Food's beef does indeed CONTAIN pink slime. I brought up Zaycon's website and nothing is posted, and still as of today nothing is posted.

Then I went to Zaycon's Facebook page, where many were asking the same question.
Their first response went something like this, 'WOW, we didn't know we were in the same league as the big boys.'

When I questioned the flippant nature of this reply, I received this:
We were just suprised that we were listed with them and that it was posted that way before we even found out ourselves. We found out less then 48 hours ago that the 93/7 ground beef had a small percentage of LFTB. We wanted to be honest and to make sure we did our own homework. After our research we find nothing wrong with the product. I guess they have been doing this process for years. They do not put this on any package because the product is meat.

Seriously!!! The news media knew that Zaycon's beef contained pink slime before Zaycon themselves knew. How is that possible?
By their own admission Zaycon say's they had known for 48 hours but did not make it official until their Facebook page started to heat up and then only on Facebook, not on their website as promised.

Subsequent responses were no better, ranging from: "you should not believe everything you read in the media", "we have nothing to hide," "we will still feed it to our family," "sorry for the delay, we were doing our homework", "We were trying to figure it out."

Of course in true Facebook fashion Zaycon deleted most posts within an hour of them being posted. Is that indicative of a company with "nothing to hide?"

Zaycon has the email addresses of every customer they have sold beef to. Why haven't they emailed their customer's with an apology and offered a refund?

Additional questions were posted and went unanswered:
1) How long does it take to pick up the phone, call your supplier and ask them if the 93/7 beef they supply to you contains LFTB?

2) How does the supplier not know instantly the answer to that question?

3) How long does it take to do "your homework?"

4) Why would you continue to buy meat from a supplier who can’t give you an immediate, definitive answer to the question?

5) Why would you continue to sell this product to your customers while you await the answer?

6) Why do you claim on your website that the beef contains: “No chemicals, additives or water added to meat during processing” when in fact it does? Ammonia is an additive the last time I checked.

7) If and when there is ever a recall on your products, how will we be notified and HOW LONG will that take?? Or will you be sorry for the delay and be waiting more information while we suffer the consequences?

8) Did you ever consider that we did our own research before we bought from you and BELIEVED you when you stated on your website that there was no added chemicals, additives or water added during processing, but yet you delivered other than what was stated? Sounds like the definition of fraud to me.

9) Define "small percentage."

There is another layer to this that I have not seen mentioned anywhere.

If you google Zaycon Foods you will notice that their primary marketing strategy was to give free meat to bloggers in exchange for their unbiased reviews. All of the reviews I read were blogs hosted by women, mostly stay at home mom's trying to make ends meet in this tough economy.
What a diservice to these women and all their readers with their unethical business practice, offering one thing, delivering another and stalling over a week to provide answers to the pink slime question.

I suspect that one of the reasons they delayed contacting their customers was to cut their losses. They probably had 1000's of pounds of PINK SLIME meat they needed to sell and deliver to unsuspecting customers before word got out. (i.e. Margin Call)

It seems silly that a company that used social media to promote it's business would not have considered that social media can work to protect consumers from unethical business practices as well.

By 5PM Wednesday, March 21st, they FINALLY conceded to halting all beef sales until they could offer a Pink Slime free product.

I don't know about you, but I vote with my dollars. Zaycon food's has lost my trust and my money.

Weirded out by Zaycon

>>If you google Zaycon Foods you will notice that their primary marketing strategy was to give free meat to bloggers in exchange for their unbiased reviews. All of the reviews I read were blogs hosted by women, mostly stay at home mom's trying to make ends meet in this tough economy. What a diservice to these women and all their readers with their unethical business practice, offering one thing, delivering another and stalling over a week to provide answers to the pink slime question.<<

I did not participate in any free-meat-for-reviewing-us promotions with Zaycon. I tend to be pretty selective about the sponsored posts I do here, and maybe it's just me, but the idea of buying meat out of a truck that only comes to town once in a while just seemed... odd. I get the whole cut-out-the-middleman thing, but what do you do or who do you complain to if something's wrong with the product once you buy a bunch and they leave town? If I buy my meat locally and have an issue with it, most of the supermarkets are going to stand by their product and give a refund or make any issues right.

You're not the only one to write to me about disappointment with how Zaycon has handled the pink-slime issue. And anytime a company starts deleting negative posts on Facebook, they're going to lose a lot of trust with everyone.

As you said, their whole marketing strategy appears to be based on social media. They gave out free meat to lots of bloggers in exchange for publicity, as well as paying the bloggers commissions when readers then bought meat through the blogger's links. Plenty of companies do similar social media/affiliate promotions... but then refusing to communicate with the same customers that -found- you via social media? It can be a death knell to your business.

Need to Get This Out.

I know this thread is old, but I found myself Googling "Zaycon deleting Facebook comments" and this popped up.

I just experienced this issue firsthand. A few hours ago around 11 or so on 7/31/13 I posted a comment regarding the beef recall that has just been announced. USA Today reports that 50,000 pounds of beef is being recalled by National Beef, which is where all the ground beef that I have personally received from Zaycon has come from.

I asked very politely on their page if their beef was affected. Another gentleman commented on my post that his boxes ALL matched the USDA inspection code that is in the USA Today article. Zaycon then replied to us stating that their beef is not affected and said "(this is not current)" I began to write out a reply asking them what they meant "this is not current" as the article clearly stated 7/31/13 on USA Today. I had also linked to the article in a previous comment so it was there for them to read. When I hit reply, it said that I couldn't because the post had been deleted. I then tried to comment elsewhere on their page only to find out that I am now blocked (Can't comment, or like anything on their page).

I've been a faithful customer of Zaycon for over 2 years and bought hundreds of pounds of meat, this concerned me greatly! Now that I am seeing this has happened in response to other situations I am thoroughly disturbed! I feel that you said it best "anytime a company starts deleting negative posts on Facebook, they're going to lose a lot of trust with everyone."

This is, in my honest opinion indicative of a company that has something to hide. Now finding out about this pink slime issue AND that they have a history of deleting negative feedback only solidify my decision to discontinue purchasing from Zaycon EVER again.

Sorry this is off topic, but this is a safety issue and people need to know that from the looks of it, they are trying to hide all the risks associated with their meat. Buyer BEWARE!!!

Wow. I'm glad you posted

What you wrote is -very- disturbing. I'm going to move your post to its own thread so that people who've ordered from Zaycon can more easily find it, and then I'll respond.

You never promoted Zaycon,

I hope you didn't think I was implying that ;o(.
I got sucked in on another blog even though it was against everything I was taught about buying meat.
Yes, I was taught, as my dad was a chemist and my mom had a degree in bacteriology. Ugh!

No, I didn't

I was just commenting on some of the behind-the-scenes things that happen, and the decisions you have to make when you run a blog. I realize how much weight and influence posts have on a blog that you trust - obviously, companies do too.

Here's another example. Last week I wrote a post, just as a quick note, about some negative reviews of Suave Keratin hair treatment that I saw on Amazon. The reviews of the product are horrifying - people's hair is melting off at the scalp line, breaking off at the roots -- awful stuff. I was so shocked that I wanted to pass it on in case anyone here was considering buying the product, just as a heads-up.

Yesterday, Suave's PR firm emailed me regarding that post. I'm sure they're Googling reactions to their new product on the web, and while they didn't ask me to take my post down, the publicist stated that they'd like me to pass on to my readers that this product is not right for all hair types:

"The smoothing kit is a 3-step chemical Keratin treatment and is not right for all hair types. We encourage everyone to take the ‘Is This Kit Right For Me?’ quiz before using the kit to find out which product in the Keratin Infusion system is right for them."

To whom does my responsibility lie? To Suave, or to you guys?

I wrote the publicist back:

Caitlyn, I think you may have a PR nightmare on your hands with this product that's just continuing to build. I hadn't given it another thought since my original post about the plethora of reviews on Amazon about melted hair and hair breaking off at the scalp, but a quick Google search is showing dozens more people having the same experiences:

http://fashaddix.com/2012/03/suave-keratin-infusion-review/

http://www.freebiegarden.com/2012/03/warning-read-this-before-you-use-su...

http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread816657/pg1

http://www.collegefashion.net/beauty-and-hair/budget-beauty-timesaver-su...

I primarily blog about grocery savings and other CPG, but if there was even the tiniest chance that one of my readers might have an experience that causes them to lose their hair because of a haircare product, it was worth giving people a heads-up to do their homework on the product before trying it. A true salon Keratin-only treatment does not contain ammonuim thioglycolate -- that's an ingredient used in perms and chemical relaxers. The consensus on other blogs overwhelmingly seems to be that this ought to be marketed as a chemical relaxer, not a keratin treatment. Keratin on its own does not damage hair.

Other blogs are reporting that Suave has asked the people to get in touch with them after they've lost hair from using this, but how is Suave going to replace over 8" of hair length that broke or melted off at the scalp line? They can't.

-------------------

The last link I sent her is interesting too as it was on a beauty blog - a pro-product sponsored post that Suave paid the blogger for. The blog's readers in the comments are questioning the judgment of the blogger for promoting the product without trying it herself, or doing some research on how horrifying some people's experiences have been with the product.

Thanks for the warning

I didn't see your original post about this but so glad I saw this and then headed to Amazon. I was considering trying of the products in this line but will not even go there after reading the reviews on Amazon. Very scary stuff!

I appreciate your letting us know about this and so many of the other articles you've done. Keep doing what you do...I also enjoyed the April's Fool joke and I have to admit I fell for it until I read some of the comments. I was so disappointed then so relieved...

New articles: Industry worried - 1.5 million more cattle needed

A reader passed this article along to me today, following-up to the first story:

Less Pink Slime...

The beef industry is getting worried that the decisions by these stores to sell “pink slime-less” beef could lead to an increase in ground beef prices. The American Meat Institute said in the short term, these stores may see an increased cost for ground beef. The amount of the increase was not specified... the American Meat Institute estimates that an additional 1.5 million head of cattle will be necessary to create the meat that will take the place of “pink slime.”

And, here's another article:

US retailers swear off ‘pink slime’, industry worried

The American meat industry is worried about the consequences of a decision by major retailers to stop selling ground beef containing lean, finely textured trimmings (LFTB), commonly known as ‘pink slime’.

This article goes on to state that "public opinion can influence billions of dollars worth of purchasing in a few weeks' time."

Indeed.

Buy Kosher

If Organic seems to high a cost...I just realized, buy Kosher! No fillers have ever been allowed in certified kosher meats.

A Response from the USDA and School Lunch Programs

http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2012/03/0094.xml&...

USDA Announces Additional Choices for Beef Products in the Upcoming School Year

USDA Affirms Safety of Lean Finely Textured Beef Product for Consumers

WASHINGTON, March 15, 2012 – In response to requests from school districts across the country, the USDA announced today that it will offer more choices to schools in the National School Lunch Program when it comes to purchases of ground beef products.

USDA only purchases products for the school lunch program that are safe, nutritious and affordable – including all products containing Lean Finely Textured Beef. However, due to customer demand, the department will be adjusting procurement specifications for the next school year so schools can have additional options in procuring ground beef products. USDA will provide schools with a choice to order product either with or without Lean Finely Textured Beef.

USDA continues to affirm the safety of Lean Finely Textured Beef product for all consumers and urges customers to consult science based information on the safety and quality of this product. Lean Finely Textured Beef is a meat product derived from a process which separates fatty pieces from beef trimmings to reduce the overall fat content.

By law, USDA has two primary responsibilities as part of its mandate to provide safe and nutritious food to the American people. Through the Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA ensures that safety of the nation's commercial supply of meat, poultry, and processed egg products. Through the Food and Nutrition Service and the Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA provides food and nutrition assistance through several domestic programs, including the National School Lunch Program.

While USDA sets national nutritional guidelines for school meals, school districts make local decisions on what food to feed kids to meet these guidelines. On average, schools in the National School Lunch Program purchase approximately 20 percent of their food through USDA, and approximately 80 percent of food served is purchased directly by schools or school districts through private vendors. Schools purchase food from the department through the USDA Foods Program, which provides more than 180 nutritious food items that are fresh, frozen, packaged, canned, dried, or in bulk. USDA procures these products based on the demand from schools to help meet the menu planning needs, student taste preferences, school nutrition goals, and local wellness initiatives.

USDA ensures all food purchased for the National School Lunch Program meet stringent food safety standards, which includes rigorous pathogen testing. Purchase specifications are continually reviewed, microbial test results are evaluated, new food safety technologies are considered, and food safety experts are consulted to determine the adequacy of our food safety requirements.

#

Well, at least now schools will have a choice, but I wonder if the alternative to slime will be at a greater cost and thus impact school budgets.

We chose to purchase a

We chose to purchase a portion of a cow from a local farm and have it processed ourselves...we pick the cuts and our last one averaged $3.10/lb. a GREAT price considering that contains roasts, tbones, stew meat, ground beef, porterhouse steaks, etc.

Lets Get the Facts Straight....

This Picture that you are using first started circulating in 2010 and was labelled as Mechanically Seperated Chicken (as I remember seeing this from some co-workers a year or two ago), so the picture may or may not be actual beef. If you take a look a Snopes.com which is a great site to use to validate e-mail circulations, rumors, etc. They state that portions of the story are true:

http://www.snopes.com/food/prepare/msm.asp

I'm not trying to back up the retailers or the meat packing industry, but just want to be sure that we are seeing the whole story.

Thanks and keep couponing!

i asked about this the other

i asked about this the other day at jewel and the lady behind the counter said what is in the chopping block does not contain fill cause they grind it there. there are 2 kinds of packaged ground beef in the meat case. one kind is ground there in the store put on a styrofome tray and shrink wrapped. that one does not contain filler. the other kind is in a white plastic container that is not ground there. it has a clear covering on top but its not shrink wrapped. she wasnt sure if that kind had the filler or not.

It's all about the labeling

I'm a big fan of letting anybody do anything they want to a food product and then letting the consumer decide whether or not it's right for them. But it MUST be labeled. If it's genetically modified, it should say so. If it's been exposed to chemicals (such as ammonia), it should say so. Empower shoppers to make their own decisions, instead of trying to make their minds up for them.

You are right

However, lobbyists have paid off politicians in Washington to not label the food we eat. Their reasoning is that we consumers are stupid and cannot really tell what goes into our food, so it's better not to know, rather than panic "unnecessarily." They do actually say that. What we consumers can do is pressure politicians and vote them out of office.

pink slime

First I have heard of this in specifics. Thank you Jill for making sure we are enlightened. Glad we don't eat very much hamburger since I shop at Wal-Mart! I have an Albertsons in town so will purchase hamburger there when it is on sale from now on.

Pink slime

I understand the concern about the price of beef going up - even if it doesn't actually affect the price I believe companies will use this as an excuse to charge more.

I think the real issue is that people have been eating this stuff for a couple of years now. With the fat being removed it sounds like it is used to lower the fat content of lower quality beef.

I would just like to see beef labeled as either having it or not and then I get to choose what to buy.

One way of seeing it...

is that meat had always been more expensive than we thought, precisely because of the filler. Meat-processing in this country is a disgrace, and politicians are to blame for allowing lobbyists to influence their decision not to inform consumers properly. I have written this many times, and I will write it again: if you really want to see where our food comes from, please watch the documentary Food Inc.

On a different note, if you really want to both cut the cost of meat and not get filler etc., you may want to buy a partial or complete cow. It is very possible, and will be much cheaper than simply going to the grocery store, plus all thrift-bloggers prefer this solution anyway. I know that you can have a say as to how your meat is processed as soon as the cow is slaughtered.

That and also avoid fast food chains.

PINK SLIME

I do think meat prices may go up slightly, not only because it may cost more to eliminate the pink slime and replace with fresh meat but mainly because there will be a higher demand, particularly because of the publicity and public awareness.

However, with that said, places like Woodman's have never had pink slime in their meat and have not charged (as far as I know) ridiculous prices because of it. I'm hoping that Jewel and Dominick's don't increase their prices dramatically just because of the pink slime factor. (Their prices are already too high).

It is great that the public has been made aware of this disgusting practice. I know I will no longer shop at Sam's Club for meat. The thought of pink slime is revolting!

slime

ground and cut meat at wally and i assume sams are
not done in store.
they are done somewhere else and who knows what is put in.
i do not buy meat at wally