Kroger, Stop & Shop To Cease Selling Ground Beef with Pink Slime

by Bettina Elias Siegel on March 22, 2012

In a dramatic reversal from the position it expressed in last night’s ABC World News with Diane Sawyer report, Kroger, the nation’s largest grocery chain, has agreed to cease selling any ground beef with Lean Beef Trimmings, better known as “pink slime.”   The Stop & Shop chain made the same announcement, and both companies join the ever-growing list of major retailers which either never sold beef with LBT or have recently agreed not to do so — Costco, Whole Foods, Safeway, A&P, Food Lion, and Supervalu.

You can read more at the Los Angeles Times, among other media outlets.

 

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

ben March 22, 2012 at 4:29 pm

I also heard that pink slime is used in deli meats. Now i understand why bologna gets slimy. I will no longer by bologna and I think people need to know which deli meats are also made with pink slime. Further, if it is true that bologna and hot dogs are made with pink slime, then the schools should be able to choose between high grade or low grade meat products.

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Justin March 22, 2012 at 8:04 pm

I’m pretty sure Stop & Shop also owns Giant, so that should add Giant to the list too.

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deb March 23, 2012 at 5:12 am

You go girl! Big time changes happening because of you!! I am a Colorado native and it’s in the paper today; school districts are choosing to buy local while this is all sorted out. Bye-bye pink slime!

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Emilee March 24, 2012 at 10:59 am

pinkslimeisamyth.com

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Lisa March 23, 2012 at 11:56 am

Bet you won’t post this.
TV news loves a health scare. Think deadly Tylenol. Killer tomatoes. Mad Cow Disease. Alar in apples. And lots more. Sometimes, as with Tylenol, they are legit and important. Other times, like Alar, they are entirely bogus.

Yet every time, the template is the same. Someone gets sick and the ravenous media tear at the company or industry for not being safe.

This time, however, ABC News has turned that idea on its head in its usual quest for tabloid headlines. It’s going after a company, Beef Products, Inc., for making a product that’s not only already safe, it’s one we’ve all been eating for years.

But that hasn’t stopped ABC and reporter Jim Avila. The network’s news division has decided to declare open war on … beef. So far, they’re winning. In a series of 10 stories in just about two weeks, ABC has so demonized the company and its products that Safeway, SUPERVALU and Food Lion just stopped buying it. Ditto Kroger and Stop & Shop.

The meat, often called “lean finely textured beef, is made up of beef that is just harder to get at, so the meat isn’t lost. It’s treated to get rid of the fat and included with the rest of the ground beef. The USDA declares it healthy, but it is less expensive. As an added bonus, it is treated tiny amounts of ammonium hydroxide to make it safer to eat.

But network broadcasts and activist videos act as if this treatment is somehow bad. This is beyond simple irresponsibility. ABC is out to destroy a family owned business to push the agenda of a couple of “whistleblowers” who don’t like the company’s beef. One of these whistleblowers, whom ABC has relied on heavily in its reporting, has dubbed it “pink slime.”

That, editors will tell you, is headline material. Slimy journalists might add that it’s the path to winning journalistic awards – facts be damned.

ABC has covered the story almost round the clock in recent weeks with stories on “World News with Diane Sawyer” and “Good Morning America.” Print and web outlets have reported the story, but Avila has been the face of the anti-beef attack. — Competitors at NBC did only two stories and CBS just one.

Predictably ABC News has hyped its reports by using the term “pink slime” 52 times in just a two-week span (making it harder than usual not to associate Avila’s activist reporting with the word “slime”but that’s another story.)

In his March 22 victory lap report about the stores pulling the beef, Avila and anchor Diane Sawyer kept calling the meat “pink slime” like a 4-year-old who has just learned a dirty word. In all, they said it 10 times, while the term itself cropped up on the screen several more.

According to David Muir of ABC, the network’s “reporting on pink slime” has “sparked a grassroots movement.” Diane Sawyer crowed “Jim’s story prompted a public outcry.”

But let’s look at the facts here. Beef Products Inc., which makes the beef, is trying to prevent deadly E. coli bacteria. While a couple of the stories mentioned the goal to “kill germs” or “kill bacteria,” neither of those phrasings sound especially scary. E. coli is so terrifying that the Centers for Disease Control gives it a separate page on its website, saying some forms can “cause diarrhea, while others cause urinary tract infections, respiratory illness and pneumonia, and other illnesses.”

It’s a reality that mom Nancy Donley knows all too well. She lost her only son to the disease when he ate “contaminated ground beef back in 1993 when he was only 6 years old.” Donley wrote recently to defend the company against ABC’s attacks, saying the firm’s “use of ammonia hydroxide in minute amounts during processing improves the safety of the product and is routinely used throughout the food industry.”

It’s also a reality even ABC journalists know well. When Topps Meat Co. recalled more than 21 million pounds of meat in 2007, it sent the company into bankruptcy. The cause? E. coli. ABC mentioned the story eight times including one Sept. 30, 2007, piece that highlighted the danger.

Topps Meat Co is nowout of business.

Beef Products, Inc., the firm that Avila and ABC are attacking is the exact opposite. The International Association for Food Protection gave its singularly best award – called the Black Pearl Award, to the company just five years ago. Only one firm each year gets that award.

But then again this is ABC, which has its own awful record of covering food stories.

Veteran TV watchers will remember ABC’s dose of similar slimy food ethics when its reporters cooperated with unions to go undercover at Food Lion. That case became a classic example of out-of-control TV journalists in quest for awards, not professionalism. ABC initially lost in court but won on appeal, though it still earned a much-deserved black eye in the process.

So you know to be suspicious when ABC claimed “USDA officials with links to the beef industry labeled ‘pink slime’ meat.” Actually, USDA officials labeled meat as meat.

To be fair, sometimes ABC had the honesty to refer to the meat as “so-called pink slime,” but typically they treated it like the meat was actually called that term. Even when Avila was giving the few words to the company’s side, he still called it “pink slime.” For example, he said: “And the American Meat Institute insists pink slime is not an additive, so no label is necessary.”

Most of the ABC stories didn’t mention the company’s argument. You know, the basics of journalism, like the fact that the product is actually meat, not some foreign substance.

That’s always what the news outlets are looking for. Major media have attacked a long list of industries in recent years – coal, oil, guns, Wall Street, banks and more. Each time, they savage an industry, they do it for ratings, never caring what damage they do to a company, shareholders or employees who might soon be looking for work.

In ABC’s case, it’s clear they care more about headlines than health, never even mentioning the dangers of E. coli that the company, and industry, both fight against. What’s next for ABC and Avila? A war on companies that fight ebola?

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/03/23/how-abc-news-smeared-stellar-company-with-pink-slime/print#ixzz1pxZWvhst

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Bettina Elias Siegel March 23, 2012 at 2:26 pm

I never shy away from dissent on this blog, only nasty personal attacks that have no place in public discourse. Happy to share Mr. Gainor’s views here.

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ben March 23, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Lisa,

I think the bigger issue is the deception perpetuated to the American Citizen. As American citizens we have the “right to know” what we are paying for.

How many years have we been paying a “premium” price for what we believed to be “premium product”, when in fact it was “sub premium adulterated beef”?

Because of the deception perpetuated by the USDA, we citizens have been denied a “right to know” and a “right to choose”; even though I thought that such deceptions by the federal government ended decades ago, when they stopped giving diseases to poor black Americans under the guise they were getting free health care from the government.

The fact that the USDA stands by its claim that Pink Slime is “beef” and products do need to be labelled as such, is an attempt to continue making fools out of us.

Beef, for what its worth, also includes cow brains, kidneys, intestines, stomach, eyeballs, tongue, veins, stomach, ear drums, penis’s, testicles and hearts.. It might even include hooves, mucus, spit, tonsils and subcutaneous tissue. And all of the above is simply finely texturized then sprayed with ammonia to neutralize the smell and sprayed with pink dye to make it look like cow muscle / meat.

Tell us Lisa,

ARE WE, BEING A PROSPEROUS SOCIETY, SO DESPERATE, INHUMANE, UNGODLY AND UN-EVOLVED AS TO EAT THE HEARTS OF OTHER CREATURES?

Personally, I would rather kill myself rather than to eat the heart of any animal. And I deplore all those people that enjoy eating the hearts of animals and companies that serve it or disguise it.

To this end I firmly believe that the USDA perpetuated a fraud upon us by calling “adulterated cow parts” as “finely textured beef”.

The words “finely”, “textured” and “beef” put together led us to believe we were paying a premium price for a premium product, when in fact we were buying miscellaneous cow body parts that we would otherwise push down the garbage disposal or give to the dogs.

Ultimately, I think that is what the USDA thinks of us American Citizens – that we are no better than dogs and we will eat whatever they want us to by using their federal power to deceive us because they are not accountable to the American Citizen / Consumer.

If there are people that like to eat Pink Slime, cow hearts or whatever, then why should I care. But I am not like you or them.

So please don’t get mad at us because we are angry that we are being deceived and because we are being denied the “right to know” and the “right to choose”.

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charlie March 25, 2012 at 12:58 am

Ben,
Wow…. Wow. I really don’t even know where to begin with you. First of all you absolutely are NOT paying premium price for your product simply BECAUSE flbt is in it. Secondly, I can assure you there are no cow “parts” in that product. It is simply beef. Plain and simple. Please at least make an effort to educate yourself before bloviating to everyone about things you clearly do not understand. However I am a patient man. I will explain the process for you….. in small words.
When a cow is cut up into your different steaks and whatnot, there are small bits of meat that are left over because it is too labor intensive for the workers to cut ALL the meat off the carcass. We call them trimmings. They used to be thrown away or used in a variety of ways before a process was invented to “capture” all the meat off a carcass. And it is really quite simple. There are centrifuges, sorry, spinny things, that literally pull all the meat off and discard the bone, sinew, cartiledge, and fat. All that is left is meat. Just plain meat. This is then treated with a puff of ammonia gas that minutely raises the alkilinity of the meat(e-coli and other pathogens love acidic environments) to a level pathogens cannot live in. This creates Ammonium Hydroxide, which coincidentally is a naturally ocurring compound found in beef. All the process does is minutely raise the level of it. By the way, this process has been approved since the 1970’s. Just for your information, in your average hamburger, the cheese, bun, and lettuce all have higher levels of ammonia in them than the meat. Seriously, check it out. As for the accusation of spraying the meat with a dye, no, that does not happen. Seriously, where do you get your information? Please don’t tell me you are relying solely on DIANE SAWYER!!!
As for the accusation that the government was intentionally poisoning black people…… wow….wow. Get help.
sincerely,
charlie

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ben March 25, 2012 at 10:29 am

Charlie,

First of all, the government had performed secret experiments on poor rural African Americans, and Whites too, under the guise of giving them free medical. And there are plenty more nasty little secrets that have been exposed and likely more that awaiting to be exposed. The latest offense conducted by the usda.

Second, when it comes to ground meats, there is ground chuck, ground sirloin and ground beef. Ground chuck and ground sirloin is what our grandparents consumed and what many of us were brought up on. However, somewhere in recent time, ground beef was snuck into the market place and none of us were aware of the differences.

Sure, sometimes the consistency of ground beef was notable during cooking, either it was dry and had the consistency of wet cardboard “and” being flavorless. And there are times when it cooked up nicely, as expected. Now I’m pretty sure that those consistencies are the result of the percentage of pink slime in the packages.

As far as the usda is concerned, every thing that embodies a cow is “beef”, except for its hide. and one only wonders if the utters are considered hide or consumable “beef” by the usda.

While I think many people like yourself try to rationalize and justify the use of pink slime, the “real crime” here is not that pink slime was developed but concealed and disguised by a federal department.

Further, for the usda not having on the label on the packages of ground beef that state what percentage of the product is “finely texturized” or “additionally processed”, is a down right attempt to conceal the use of this pink slime product a secret.

When we see a roll of ground beef on the shelf and it says 70% lean, does that mean that it contains 70% lean pink slime and 30% fatty unadulterated meat? Or if the roll says 100% lean ground beef, then why should we not believe it is 100% lean pink slime?

Further, maybe the outbreaks of botulism over the years and killed many people were the result of the processing of making pink slime and not from the processing of unadulterated meats. Only the usda knows and I’m pretty sure they will never be telling us.

We as a people have the right to know and the right to choose. If you want to eat pink slime, then by all means do so. If the rest of us do not, then it is are right not to. But we can’t because the power of the federal government, ie usda, continues to defend the use of pink slime.

I also another truth, which is that many Americans are ok with pink slime.

So I say to the usda, “Ok! We will defend your support for pink slime. But we will not and cannot defend your decision of denying us the right to know how much of it is in the package we are buying.

The bottom line is that “ground beef” will contain pink slime, whether we like it or not – because the government says so.

So we the people have found ways to protect ourselves from this travesty. Stores like Kroger and others are clearly are on the peoples side on this issue.

AND ITS TIME THAT THE USDA CAME ON BOARD TOO!

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ben March 23, 2012 at 5:25 pm

Correction to the above:

The fact that the USDA stands by its claim that Pink Slime is “beef” and products do “not” need to be labelled as such, is an attempt to continue making fools out of us.

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Emilee March 24, 2012 at 11:06 am

please read pinkslimeisamyth.com to get your facts straight.

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Tom March 24, 2012 at 12:30 pm

How about we all visit beefisbeef.com and make an educated decision based on science and facts rather than media scare tactics.

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Scott March 25, 2012 at 9:02 am

pinkslimeisamyth.com=beefisbeef.com=Beef Products Inc. owned propaganda site.

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ben March 25, 2012 at 11:50 am

FYI – There is a new article out on Zirnstein, who blew the whistle on pink slime. Interestingly, my belief the the crime with pink slime is not the pink slime itself, but having it kept secret from us.

“It’s cheating. It’s economic fraud,” he said in a telephone interview.

http://health.yahoo.net/news/s/nm/scientist-who-coined-pink-slime-reluctant-whistleblower

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Alicia March 25, 2012 at 9:46 pm

I hope these markets will re-introduce a bargain-priced ground beef proudly containing LFT beef, something that will help stretch the family grocery budget. They can make up the difference by jacking up the price of “pink slime-free” boutique burger for affluent food snobs. That would be a win-win. Thrifty families eat well, safely and more affordably than ever and effete foodies get to be seen overpaying for their oh-so-special blend. I’m rooting for marketers to make a bundle off this. OK, now inform us how you elitist petitioners don’t buy ground beef anyway (and how your feigned anger was all an elaborate hoax). Try to convince us your internet assault was intended not for your royal selves, but for the greater good of the dense common rabble. Don’t expect us to kiss your feet.

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Mary March 26, 2012 at 10:06 am

Alicia,
Wow! You must live in Utopia. That special place where everything big business and big government choose for you and me is safe and in our best interest. Our government is here to support the people and give us what we want. A large number of us whom were not aware of LFTB before were educated on what it is and where it comes from and now we want the CHOICE to not buy it. And we are mad that the choice wasn’t there before hand. I personally know plenty “thrifty families” my own included (I grow a garden, can plenty of foods, hunt for meat as well as buy it, as well as raise some of our own meat etc… all in the never ending quest to reduce the grocery store bills) that would prefer not to buy what was supposed to be “100% ground beef”. I hope and pray everyday that they do label the 70-80% ground beef with 30-20% LFTB so I can choose to not buy it. From one thrify family to another. And I’ll pass on kissing your feet. ;)

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Lenee March 26, 2012 at 10:49 am

Bravo Mary! I do the same and my family’s grocery bills have gone down significantly each year, as I learn to do more. Clean, healthy eating is cheap if you know what you’re doing.

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Grammy March 26, 2012 at 5:58 pm

Once again someone is telling us what to feed our children, if we want to buy this ground beef it is our business. Just more hype about what is bad for us. Hey, Ms. Siegel, why don’t you have all alcohol banded that way we can be sure there are no under age drinkers; why not have all cigarettes off the market that way we will know no one under 21 is smoking; why shouldn’t ID’s be required to vote that way we will know there are no illegals voting; you just keep us posted on what you believe we should have and not have.

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FreeMarket March 26, 2012 at 9:51 pm

Silly Grammy, who said anything about banning anything? Surely someone of advanced “wisdom” can appreciate the idea of giving consumers a choice – that is the foundation of this nation’s economic system after all. Put them both out there, clearly labeled, and let the market decide.

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