DISCLOSURE: I am not saying I am for nor against this product. Below are facts that I have come across doing my research.
There has a lot of recent press about the “pink slime” that is used a filler in ground beef. It is always so hard to know what this is, and if the press has made it worse than it is or if the stores are trying to cover things up. Who knows!? However, before you can determine if you want to avoid this product in your beef, you should conduct your own research. You need to know what this product is and what it contains.
First of all, it really isn’t “pink slime.” The photo of a pink toothpaste-like substance that is circulating on the internet isn’t even beef at all – it’s actually chicken! Lean Finely Textured Beef is 100 percent beef, and it looks like ground beef.
Lean Finely Textured Beef is not “filler” – it is 100 percent beef. Rather than being cut from the carcass with a knife, it’s separated from the fat trim in much the same way cream is separated from milk.
Lean Finely Textured Beef is a wholesome, nutritious product. It has the same nutritional value as 90 percent lean ground beef – because it IS lean ground beef.
Lean Finely Textured Beef has been included in fresh ground beef for 20 years. There have been NO health concerns cited in connection with this product.
The ammonium hydroxide process is safe and widely used on all kinds of food products. It is not an “ammonia bath” or “soaking in ammonia,” as some news accounts have portrayed it – it’s a puff of gas used to reduce the risk of harmful bacteria such as salmonella or e coli. Ammonium hydroxide has been used since the 1970s in the processing of foods such as baked goods, cheeses, chocolate, pudding and gelatins, and has been safely used on beef trimmings since 2001. Again, there have been NO health concerns cited in connection with this process; even the critics who came up with the term “pink slime” admit that it is safe.
Lean Finely Textured Beef is a sustainable product that helps meet world demand for high-quality protein. The inclusion of a small percentage (no more than 15%, and usually less than 10%) of LFTB in ground beef increases the lean content of the ground beef and makes use of quality beef that would otherwise go to waste. The beef industry estimates that discontinuing the use of LFTB (which is included in approximately 70 percent of ground beef sold in supermarkets) would require an additional 1.5 million head of beef cattle to be slaughtered each year, and would raise the price of ground beef by approximately 20 percent.
WHERE TO SHOP
So, now that you have some background about the fillers used, you might be curious as to whether your store includes this product or not. I contacted our local stores and share this information below.
The following is the information sent to me by their corporate office:
Hy-Vee ground beef in rolls is purchased through Tyson. Tyson includes a small percentage of Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB) in its ground beef to increase the lean content of the beef. The LFTB in Tyson’s ground beef is treated with a puff of ammonium hydroxide gas during processing to reduce the risk of harmful bacteria.
Hy-Vee ground beef sold In tray packs is supplied by Cargill. It also includes a small percentage of LFTB, but Cargill does not use the ammonium hydroxide processing method. Instead, its ground beef is treated with citric acid to reduce the risk of harmful bacteria.
Hy-Vee’s Amana 85 Percent Lean Ground Chuck From Trim contains no LFTB.
Your Hy-Vee meat specialist can suggest other ground beef options for customers who do not wish to purchase ground beef containing lean beef trim.
PRICE CHOPPER (KS/MO)
Here is the response sent to my from Price Chopper:
Due to recent news stories that have diminished consumer confidence in ground beef products containing Lean Finely Textured Beef, we are contacting all of our beef suppliers and instructing them to discontinue shipping any ground beef that might include this filler. While these products meet USDA standards, we will not purchase ANY ground beef products that contain LFTB. Price Chopper has always taken pride in having butchers in our stores and providing fresh cut beef and fresh ground beef to our customers, and thousands of Kansas Citians that visit our stores each week can continue to rely on Price Chopper to provide them with healthy and nutritious foods.
Price Chopper stores have always had a strong commitment to providing our customers with the freshest and highest quality meat products. As Kansas City’s largest grocer, we feel this is the right thing to do for our customers. Any questions about this issue should be directed to our Customer Service number, 1-877-233-9072, or can be sent to us via mypricechopper.com.
I actually did see a sign at my local Cosentino’s that said that they don’t use the additives.
Here is what Hen House advised me:
At Hen House Market we carry only USDA Choice Certified Hereford Beef and Good Natured Family Farms All Natural Beef. Both of our Fresh Beef Programs are additive free, containing NO LFTB or what the news media is calling “Pink Slime”
Of course, that is information, but only you can draw your own conclusions as to whether you want to avoid this product or not. What one family does is different from what other families do. I am not here to judge nor to say what you should or should not do. That is not my right. What I am here to do is to help educate consumers so that each of you can make the right decisions for your family. I ask that everyone else do the same.