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'Pink slime' ground beef no longer sold at Kroger stores

Packages of ground beef are seen in this undated file photo.
March 22, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Kroger Co., the nation's largest grocery store chain, announced on Thursday it will no longer buy ground beef that contains the filler known as "pink slime."

Kroger, which operates Ralphs and Food 4 Less, joins other grocers that have taken "pink slime" off store shelves, including Safeway, Whole Foods, Costco and Supervalu, which operates Albertsons and Lucky, .

The filler, officially called "lean finely textured beef," is waste trimmings that undergo a process to separate muscle from fat. The mixture is then sprayed with ammonia to kill bacteria, and added to ground beef as a cheaper filler.

"Kroger listens to our customers carefully to provide the high quality products they want at the great prices they deserve," Kroger said in a statement. "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."

"Lean finely textured beef" meets food safety standards, but critics say it's unsafe and less nutritious than fresh ground beef.

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

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


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