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The Los Angeles Times reports that several more retailers have announced that they no longer will sell meat with so-called “pink slime,” an inexpensive meat filler made from low-grade trimmings often referred to as “lean finely textured beef.”

According to the story, “The Kroger Co., the nation's largest traditional grocer with 2,435 supermarkets in 31 states, also said it will stop buying the beef, reversing itself after saying Wednesday that it would sell beef both with and without the additive.”

"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," Kroger said in a statement. "As a result, Kroger will no longer purchase ground beef containing lean finely textured beef."

Ahold-owned Stop & Shop “said that while the U.S. Department of Agriculture has said the product is safe for consumption, it will stop selling the beef due to customer concerns,” according to the Times.

Target, Whole Foods, A&P and Costco have said they have never sold beef products with the additive.

And National Public Radio reports that “Wal-Mart has become the latest food retailer to announce that it's making changes after listening to customer concerns about LFTB. ‘While the USDA and experts agree that it is safe and nutritious, Wal-Mart and Sam's Club will begin offering fresh ground beef that does not contain LFTB,’ writes Deisha Galberth Barnett, a Wal-Mart spokesperson, in a statement.”

The Sacramento Bee writes that “Raley's officials released a statement that said it doesn't use the filler in its fresh ground beef products or in its ‘Black Angus’ frozen beef patties. Raley's said it does sell other frozen beef patties with the additive, but will stop.”
KC's View:
Yesterday, after running several emails castigating me for buying into the whole pink slime controversy, I wrote the following:

Pink Slime is now Pink Slime - forever. Deal with it.

It may be safe. But it does not sound desirable.

Which led to a whole bunch of other emails...

One MNB user wrote:

The problem with perception is perception.  Perpetuating perception with unfounded facts in a media setting is sensationalism.

I’m sure you don’t eat hot dogs regularly, but I’ll bet you have on occasion, especially at a ball game or when in Chicago.

Hot dogs, bologna, and other lunchmeats are made from meat slurry.  Safety interventions of different types are in place when making these items as well.  This is done to prevent listeria and other pathogens.  So far, not hype around these items…maybe because they are already low on the food chain.

Here is food for thought:

If you took lean finely textured beef trimmings and pumped them into a hot dog casing, guess what you have…that’s right all beef hot dog, 90% lean…pretty healthy actually.

I’m not saying all beef hot dogs are made from LFTB, but that’s the principle.  Actually most beef hot dogs are probably of lesser quality.

Deal with it.

MNB user Jeff Folloder wrote:

I understand your reactions to the issue.  I also understand the reaction of those who disagree with you.  There are *many* food stuffs that are the result of processes that are quite similar to those that create "pink slime."  Have you ever seen the slurry that creates bologna, liverwurst or other similar lunch meats?  How about hot dogs?  Chicken nuggets, baby food... I'm sorry, but to deride one product of this process while letting others off the hook seems a bit inconsistent, at the very least.  Should we be equally indignant that McDonalds uses "white slime" to create the ubiquitous kiddie pacifier?

The simple fact is that these processes allow the meat industries to extract even more efficiency out of their rendering process and do it in a way that apparently results in a tasty product.  Unless you do not really think to hard about how it got there.  I make my own sausage, I hunt and I eat.  I have no doubt about where much of what I eat comes from or how it gets to my plate.  I served meat loaf last night and pretty much all of the protein was ground up.  I added veggies and chiles, bread crumbs, seasonings, sauces and eggs.  I can assure you that the texture of the meat loaf to be was rather slimy when it was put into the pan.  And the texture of the finished product was perfect and consistent and delicious.  The only downside was that there wasn't enough left for meat loaf sammiches today.

My gut tells me that the outrage over the product is misplaced and is forcing folks to make decisions based upon emotion, rather than fact.

Another MNB user thought I was not totally off-base:

I was in your USC lecture last week and I suppose it has given me the personal connection needed to reach out and say “well done” with regard to your Pink Slime commentary.  I was thrilled to find you sticking to your guns after the firestorm of commentary you received.  To me, safety is not the key element of the pink slime discussion, it is a matter of integrity.  In the age of the internet, there is no hiding behind terms like “lean finely textured beef.”  Fighting back against consumers demanding full transparency is not only completely wasted effort, it is pathetic. 

What is truly alarming is the response from the traditional retailers:  “while….experts agree that [pink slime] is safe and wholesome, recent news stories have caused considerable consumer concern.”  If you are Safeway perhaps you ought to regard your shoppers as the experts?  Perhaps your public message should tell your consumers you are in their corner rather than you regard them as idiots who believe anything they see on TV?

Keep fighting the good fight.

But, from another MNB user:

Your response “Pink Slime is now Pink Slime - forever. Deal with it” was spoken in true cram it down the throat, in your face, liberal fashion. Despite the sound and logical arguments provided, you chose not to provide any logical defense of your position but rather took the position that everybody should just accept it. It’s your blog, so you’re free to take any approach you choose but IMHO, you’ve tarnished your credibility on this one.

I don’t mind you disagreeing with me, but I am amused that because I make the point that “pink slime” will have to be avoided by all marketers because it has come to mean something unappetizing, you accuse me of being a cram-it-down-your-throat liberal.

Give me a break.

I’m making a marketing point here. Not a political one.

Fact of life: There are certain words, names and phrases that have come to stand for things that the public sees as intolerable, and that shapes what companies are able to say and do. Like it or not, that’s where we are at on “pink slime.”

Deal with it.

BTW...I’m not sure it is a bad thing that people actually know what is in their food. Transparency creates a healthy debate.

One final thing...

MNB user Gary Harris, along with several other people, suggests that maybe we need to just come up with another name for Pink Slime. And many of them had the same suggestion:

Soylent Green.