'Pink slime' oozes from area stores
Dear Answer Man, since Hy-Vee has the most stores in Rochester, I'll ask this about Hy-Vee: Do they sell ground beef containing "pink slime" and if so, when will they quit? — Dolores
They're in the process of quitting — Hy-Vee Inc. announced Friday that they'll no longer sell ground beef products containing "lean, finely textured beef," or LFTB, which is the euphemism for what critics have counter-euphemistically called "pink slime."
What is it? It's finely ground beef that's ammonia-treated and used as filler in ground beef products. According to an Associated Press story, "The low-cost ingredient is made from fatty meat trimmings left over from other cuts. The bits are heated to about 100 degrees Fahrenheit and spun to remove most of the fat. The lean mix then is compressed into blocks for use in ground meat. The product is exposed to ammonium hydroxide gas to kill bacteria, such as E. coli and salmonella. The pejorative nickname came from a federal microbiologist who is critical of the product."
That "pejorative nickname" is so catchy and memorable that there's no way the pink slime industry can survive it. Several major grocery store chains have announced they'll no longer carry the products, including Supervalu (franchiser of Cub Foods), and Hy-Vee now joins the list. "We have notified our suppliers of this decision and are working to switch our product lines as quickly as possible," the news release says.
Walmart , for the record, announced this week that "Walmart and Sam’s Club will begin offering fresh ground beef that does not contain lean finely textured beef," which is somewhat less than Shermanesque on whether products containing LFTB will remain in the coolers. "We are working aggressively with our suppliers to have new offerings in our stores and clubs as quickly as possible," the Walmart news release says. "As these products become available, associates in our meat department and at our customer service desks will share updates with customers who inquire."
Trader Joe's and Target are among the national stores that say they don't sell products containing LFTB. But "pink slime" appears to be so ubiquitous that that may be a bold claim, and for other stores, it may take a while to squeeze it out of the food chain.