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Another major supermarket chain drops 'pink slime'

March 21, 2012|By Michael Muskal
  • This file photo shows ground beef containing what is derisively referred to as "pink slime," or what the meat industry calls "lean, finely textured beef."
This file photo shows ground beef containing what is derisively referred… (Jim Cole / Associated Press…)

The nation’s third largest supermarket chain announced Wednesday that it was joining with other major retailers and would stop selling ground beef containing “pink slime,” also known as “lean, finely textured beef.”

Supervalu Inc. announced its decision in an e-mail to reporters. Earlier Wednesday,  Safeway Inc., which operates Vons in California and Nevada, announced it was dropping the product.

“While it’s important to remember there are no food safety concerns with products containing finely textured beef, this decision was made due to ongoing customer concerns over these products,” Supervalu said in its statement. “All current beef products in our stores meet strict safety and quality standards approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture."

Supervalu operates Acme, Albertsons, Cub Foods, Farm Fresh, Hornbacher’s, Jewel-Osco, Lucky, Shaw’s/Star Market, Shop ‘n Save and Shoppers Food & Pharmacy.

The beef product, which has recently gained a large amount of negative publicity, is made from lower-quality meat scraps treated with an agent, such as ammonia, to prevent the growth of microbes.

The meat industry has repeatedly defended the product, saying it's safe and that the anti-microbial agent is not an additive and therefore doesn't need to be noted on food labels.

Recent media reports, however, raised questions about the use of the product and whether ammonia is an additive that should be listed.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced last week that it would disclose which of its suppliers use the product so that school officials can make their own decisions about usage.

The chains join Publix, HEB, Whole Foods and Costco, which have said they will sell only ground beef that is additive-free.

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michael.muskal@latimes.com

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