Pink Slime: Controversy Drives Down Prices for Beef Trim, Safeway Discontinues Its Use, and More

This morning I woke up and said, today is the end of daily pink slime reporting on The Lunch Tray!  And then a few items came to my attention that seemed worth sharing with you, given the commitment of TLT readers to the petition and the issue generally.  So here’s this morning’s round-up:

Lean Beef and Trim Prices Impacted By Petition and Media

Two sources provided me today with an article in Meatingplace, a meat industry publication, regarding the impact of the LBT controversy on meat prices.  The publication requires membership for access, but it reads in part:

Increased cattle carcass weights — brought on by a warm winter — is bringing fatter cattle to market, which doesn’t mean more steaks so much as it means more beef trim.

That, along with reduced demand for lean finely textured beef (LFTB) due to the media storm and its new “pink slime” nickname, is lowering trim prices . . . .

. . . . With less demand for LFTB, it is likely that packers have had to change some of their trim practices  . . . . As a result, we are now seeing significant premiums paid for lean and extra lean product (generally from cows) and discounts for fat.

Safeway Discontinues Use of LBT in Ground Beef

This is huge news.  In response to overwhelming consumer demand, Safeway has announced that it will stop selling beef containing LBT.  Says Jim Avila of ABC News:

Safeway has 1400 stores coast to coast,  second only to Kroger. The chain now joins Publix, HEB, Whole Foods and Costco promising their ground beef is additive free.

Local Efforts Spring Up Around LBT, Grocery Stores and Schools

Now that USDA has left the choice to use LBT up to each school district, and because individual grocery chains have always had the ability to chose to sell meat with or without it, it’s been interesting to see that local efforts are starting to spring up to influence these potential LBT purchasers.

For example, a consumer activist group in Pennsylvania is circulating a petition to ask Giant stores to label beef with LBT.  Meanwhile,, a social action website, is urging members to circulate local petitions to influence their school districts on the issue.  (I did note, though, that an email to Avaaz members announcing the effort contained a fair amount of misinformation about LBT which could undercut that campaign.)

Petition Nears a Quarter Million

Finally, thanks to the launch of Stop Pink by Jamie Oliver and his Food Revolution Team, the petition started here on The Lunch Tray a mere 15 days ago is now getting hovering near a quarter million signatures.  Current count:  a little over 244,000.



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  1. Francis J. says

    A very impressive industry smear you have pulled off! I am circulating a petition to have you officially declared High Priestess of the Cult of Malicious Alarmists. You certainly know how to stimulate foodies to emit a most exquisite emotional stink!

  2. George from UC says

    Holding a secretive beef industry accountable can hardly be called a smear campaign. Search the NY Times for this gem:
    “In early 2003, officials in Georgia returned nearly 7,000 pounds to Beef Products after cooks who were making meatloaf for state prisoners detected a “very strong odor of ammonia” in 60-pound blocks of the trimmings, state records show.”
    “It was frozen, but you could still smell ammonia,” said Dr. Charles Tant, a Georgia agriculture department official. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
    Unaware that the meat was treated with ammonia — since it was not on the label — Georgia officials assumed it was accidentally contaminated and alerted the agriculture department. In their complaint, the officials noted that the level of ammonia in the beef was similar to levels found in contamination incidents involving chicken and milk that had sickened schoolchildren.

  3. Tom says

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

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