Photo: Flickr/Ryan McDonough
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — National supermarket operator Supervalu Inc. says it will stop buying ground beef that contains the filler now known as “pink slime” due to customer concerns.The company owns stores under the Acme, Albertsons, Cub Foods, Farm Fresh, Hornbacher’s, Jewel-Osco, Lucky, Shaw’s/Star Market, Shop ‘n Save and Shoppers Food & Pharmacy banners.
Federal regulators say the filler meets food safety standards. But critics say the product could be unsafe and is an unappetizing example of industrialized food production.
Supervalu said Wednesday that customer concern prompted it to stop carrying products containing the filler. Public outcry over “pink slime” has grown sharply as images, media reports and online petitions about it have spread.
The low-cost additive, which has been used for years, is made from fatty bits of meat left over from other cuts. The bits of meat are heated, spun to remove the fat, compressed into blocks and exposed to ammonia to kill bacteria. Producers often mix the filler into fattier meat to produce an overall leaner product and reduce their costs.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced this month that, beginning in the fall, the National School Lunch Program will let school districts decide whether to buy ground beef that contains the filler. Previously, it was difficult for schools to know whether beef they bought from the feds had it or not.
As a result, a number of schools have said they will stop using meat with the controversial filler.
Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has spoken out against it, and fast-food chain McDonald’s Corp. decided last year to stop putting ammonia-treated meat in its products.
Shares of Supervalu, which is based in Eden Prairie, Minn., fell 7 cents to close at $6.20 Wednesday and rose 3 cents in after-hours trading.
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