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Safeway: 'Pink slime' beef will no longer be sold at stores

March 21, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Major supermarket chain Safeway has announced that it will no longer be selling ground beef that contains the meat filler known as "pink slime."

The filler is waste trimmings that undergo a process to separate muscle from fat. The mixture is then sprayed with ammonia to kill bacteria, and then added to ground beef as a cheaper filler. It was once used only in cooking oil and dog food.

"Well you wonder how long its been in there, you know, how long they've been doing this and what you've been eating," said Kay Basura of La Tuna Canyona.

Safeway, which is the second largest supermarket chain in the U.S., cited "considerable consumer concern" as the reason for pulling the beef. The ban is also in effect at Vons and Pavilions stores, which are divisions of Safeway Inc.

"Safeway is committed to providing our customers with the highest-quality products. While the USDA and food industry experts agree that lean finely textured beef is safe and wholesome, recent news stories have caused considerable consumer concern about this product. Safeway will no longer purchase ground beef containing lean finely textured beef," the company said in a statement.

A recent ABC News investigation found that 70 percent of ground beef sold in the U.S. contains "pink slime." The trimmings are approved by the USDA and do not have to be on listed on the label.

According to experts, the filler is harmless. Safeway now joins Publix, HEB, Whole Foods and Costco, promising their beef is additive free. Many companies, such as Burger King, McDonald's and Taco Bell, have recently stopped using beef with the filler.

"I don't like it, and it would make me not want to buy beef, to be honest with you. And I am a beef lover," said Gail Lindquist of Burbank. "I won't buy it until I find out more information."

Experts said buying organic beef is one way to avoid purchasing products containing the filler.


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