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Ground Beef at Supermarkets Contains ‘Pink Slime’

sounds nasty to me. but not totally unexpected.
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines...

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  1. Soylent Pink, anyone?

    All the more reason to grind your own.

    1. I had only briefly caught this on ABC News last night but couldn't really listen to it, as I was on the phone with a family member. Having read this article - I'm thinking this might be a good use for two W-S gift certificates I received at Christmastime... a meat grinder for my Kitchen Aid mixer.

      5 Replies
      1. re: LindaWhit

        Before you buy the Kitchen Aid grinder, you might want to look at this:

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/759360

        I'm very sorry I bought this and can no longer return it. I have another REAL meat grinder that I use to grind up chicken to feed my cats raw food. It's mentioned on catnutrition.org.

        1. re: walker

          Hmmm....too late. Ordered and shipped. I'll keep an eye out for this upon use, however - thanks! But great information on use of the grinder (especially by alanbarnes).

        2. re: LindaWhit

          LindaWhit

          By all means, add the meat grinder to the Kitchen Aid. I have had one for about 20 years. Great for making ground beef, and you can custom blend your beef mix to your taste.

          The flavor from fresh ground is much better.

          You can also grind pork, turkey, chicken, and lamb. Another benefit is making home made bread crumbs.

          1. re: Gary627

            Linda;

            Yes, do buy the grinder for your Kitchen Aid stand mixer. For all the reasons above + the topic of this thread.

            I quantify it this way: The total hours spent at the meat market or bakery can also be applied to the use with the stand mixer. 1 hour or 2 hours. Get the QUALITY of meat, fowl, or flour you want IN BULK, and enjoy using the machine.

            My routine is to keep items in the freezer or fridge, or in large containers, pull the stand mixer out, clean it, assemble it and use it. I hand wash most of the stand mixer parts by just letting them soak in hot, soapy water after use first. I use a small brush for the extruder and worm drive of the meat grinder, but if the parts all soak first, everything usually rinses out. Then wash, dry, and reassemble before putting everything away.

            Ground meat can be stored in the freezer and used whenever, and bread (or pizza ) dough in the fridge for use all week. Plus you know what you put in it: The little secret with the small meat services is ground meat could be any number of leftover cuts + fat.

            Compare it to Starbucks: If you have the same equipment and know the recipe, you can do a better job, and save a small fortune in a very short time.

            Anyone without access to a stand mixer might consider the value investment of a small meat grinder.

            1. re: SWISSAIRE

              Hi, SWISSAIRE:

              You couldn't be more correct. Would you please contact me at kaleokahu@gmail.com? I would like to take you up on your offer.

              Aloha,
              Kaleo

        3. This is not new news. Something came out at least a year or two ago about this I think.

          We started grinding our own beef years ago. Am so glad we did.

          1. No more disgusting then the pink goop in processed chicken that was revealed quite awhile ago. Disturbing, but certainly not groundbreaking journalism.

            1. Thanks for this link; I saw something about this, but hadn't read the ABC story. I do think this is important information. I wonder if pink slime is in ground sirloin? ground chuck? or just regular ground beef. This is something I want to ask my grocer. Perhaps we should all ask our grocers. If enough of us made a stink, perhaps there would be changes. McD has already taken this ingredient out of its hamburgers, I believe.

              34 Replies
              1. re: sueatmo

                It's in all ground meat. I wouldn't expect the grocer to give you an informed and/or honest answer, unfortunately. I have not bought meat from the grocery store in years and continue to learn more and more about where I CAN buy it that's not a crap source. It shouldn't be this difficult.

                1. re: rockandroller1

                  I would expect an honest answer. But I understand what you are saying. I emailed the grocer on his website and asked if all the ground meat had this in it. I also said I disapproved. The chain where I shop is local, and if they didn't answer truthfully, somebody does know the truth. I am interested to see how/if they respond. In the meantime, won't be buying ground meat unless it comes from Whole Foods. (I suppose their ground beef is safe?)

                  1. re: sueatmo

                    I had a look at ground beef today my grocer. No ingredients are listed. On the label it said "100% pure." Pure as defined by whom, I wonder?

                    No answer from my email today.

                    1. re: sueatmo

                      Please, learn all you can about the food/produce that Whole Foods sell. Much of their food is shipped from countries that have no idea what organic even means. Standards vary greatly. Whole Foods is not all that people are led to believe. Research from reliable sources.

                        1. re: LindaWhit

                          There was a video circulating recently that was enlightening. I will try to get it.
                          It made me very skeptical.

                          1. re: LindaWhit

                            Linda;

                            Here is something from ABC News today:
                            http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines...

                            My apologies if this has been previously posted.

                            1. re: LindaWhit

                              A few years ago I looked at a package of frozen produce (can't remember what it was anymore) at WF and found that it was from China. Since then, I'd read articles about it. Apparently they've made some changes since then but I don't shop there much anymore anyway.

                              http://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/...

                            2. re: linda54

                              Well, I'm actually posting about ground beef, not produce.

                              You know--I have to shop somewhere. If I can't trust WF, who can I trust? I don't have yearlong access to farmer's markets. I want to respectfully suggest when you warn someone away from a resource, that you suggest a practical alternative.

                              1. re: sueatmo

                                Have you looked at Costco? I've liked what I've read about them. And, friends who are in the meat industry, have highly recommended them. It's where I buy most of mine now. Plus, the price is much better than WFs. Another option is Wegman's but those are few and far between. I also buy from Trader Joe's.

                                1. re: chowser

                                  I didn't think to check Costco yesterday! But I also admit I don't buy a lot of ground beef. At our next trip I'll have a look. No Wegman's in StL. I'm not sure beef from WF is in my future, although I am considering my options. I would be thrilled not to be consuming pink slime or antibiotics in my meat. But then, we've been eating less red meat in general for several years. Its really a budget thing for us.

                                  1. re: sueatmo

                                    Costco is listed as one supermarket that does NOT use pink slime, so that sounds like a good place for you, sueatmo.

                                    1. re: sueatmo

                                      WF might be fine for their meat; I haven't heard otherwise. I just find them cost prohibitive and I can buy from local vendors more cheaply if I want to go that way. I have been happy w/ Costco and like that they do their meats in house. I agree, less is better anyway.

                          2. re: sueatmo

                            i'm pretty sure this is a different ingredient than that removed by McDonalds several weeks ago.

                            1. re: KaimukiMan

                              What is your basis for that conclusion? What I have read is that this is exactly the ingredient that was removed.

                                1. re: rockandroller1

                                  besides going back to abc new's as they have upgraded their report,you should also go to www.huffingtonpost.com

                                2. re: GH1618

                                  my mistake, you are right... i only rememberd the ammonium hydroxide.

                                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                                    I once asked a butcher in a large California grocery chain how the meat was ground, and what cut they used.

                                    He said that the ground meat came from the leftover scraps and chunks that could contain sirloin, round, or " any combination of other cuts. " Beef, I supposed and hoped he meant. He went on further how they "tried" to keep the at 15% or less.

                                    From that point on I began using a hand-cranked meat grinder, and later, when I could afford one a stand mixer with a meat grinding attachment. So it has been about 24 years now. Better value, more clean, more fresh, no fillers, and little fat.

                                    I can say two points learned: One, I know exactly what I choose to grind ( and more importantly, what I don't wish in the mix ), and Two, I know I keep my grinding equipment clean and maintained at all times.

                                    Reading the linked article, one might well now understand how it is possible to actually achieve an advertised level of " lower prices and higher standards. "

                                    1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                      Like you I have a machine to grind my meat,but that really is not the point,If you and I went to the store and ate a donut without paying for it they'd be able to arrest us for stealing,so by them adding that junk to only 30 percent of the meat isn't that also stealing??? from us the public.

                                      1. re: mutti

                                        I concur.

                                        I must continue to buy meat, but remain selective where it comes from, the quality, and what I choose to, and choose not to put into our grinder. The suspect material is notably not a binder, but an addidtive FILLER to extend the volume of the end product. It would appear that the grocery chain executives have accepted the rationalization that being an animal product, it is somehow actually meat. No doubt this is a short concern enroute to the bank each Friday.

                                        Not being the advertised 100% meat that is packaged, that isn't honest. Using that creative logic, one could then include ground up feet, cow hooves, tails and other parts into the "100% meat" extrusion.

                                        Breadcrumbs, flour, sawdust, and the Michael Palin/Maggie Smith film " A Private Function " comes to mind.

                                        If " lower prices and higher standards" is taken into account, that would actually translate into " lower standards ( 30% - 33% connective tissue, non-meat additive, included in ground meat ) will ultimately equal someone higher profits. "

                                        1. re: mutti

                                          I agree that for those who grind their own meat, this isn't a big deal. But the vast majority of us don't grind our own meat. And, yes if we are buying what we think is "pure" ground meat, but it isn't really pure, then we've been deceived. But I am more interested in the healthfulness of this practice. This practice hasn't been studied, surely. How can it be justified in terms of the health of the person who consumes it?

                                          1. re: sueatmo

                                            from what I have read, it is pure ground cow with an organic amonia wash

                                            1. re: Bellachefa

                                              and it's used to "clean" meat that isn't fit for human consumption.

                                              1. re: Bellachefa

                                                Does the term "hamburger" imply only muscle or just beef? From what I'm understanding, the "pink slime" is all beef products treated with a little ammonia to kill off potential salmonella & e coli. Hamburger (ground beef) with pink slime still appears to be 100% beef.

                                                Hmm - I wonder what's in an all-beef hotdog.......

                                                1. re: Clams047

                                                  someone must have a great hamburglar joke to add to this thread!

                                                2. re: Bellachefa

                                                  <re: sueatmo from what I have read, it is pure ground cow with an organic amonia wash>

                                                  And why would ANYONE think that's a good thing to eat -- or to feed their kids? Ammonia in any amount is not intended for human consumption, regardless of what the meatpackers would have you think.

                                                  Not only that, but what's in that high end hamburger you get at a restaurant (that's not a fast food joint)?

                                                  1. re: ChefJune

                                                    >>>Ammonia in any amount is not intended for human consumption<<<

                                                    From the article linked below:

                                                    "Ammonia is formed naturally in the body as a result of protein digestion ...as ammonium hydroxide.... It is normal and usual to find a certain amount of ammonium hydroxide in meat.

                                                    "Ammonium hydroxide has been used as an antimicrobial agent in meat for more than 40 years. Its safety was reviewed in 1974 by the US Food and Drug Administration's Select Committee on GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) Substances, who had this to say:

                                                    "Ammonia and the ammonium ion are integral components of normal metabolic processes and play an essential role in the physiology of man... There is no evidence in the available information ... that demonstrates, or suggests reasonable grounds to suspect, a hazard to the public when they are used at levels that are now current or that might reasonably be expected in future."

                                                    "Ammonium hydroxide also is included in the USDA's list of Safe and Suitable Ingredients ... It is used as a pH control agent in brine solutions for meat products, and as an antimicrobial agent for beef carcasses..."

                                                    Really, if everyone would just read this article, there'd be a lot less silly panic over this.

                                                    But if it makes you uncomfortable, the obvious solution is to grind your own, as I've been doing for about thirty years now. Better quality, you can customize the grind and it's cheaper, too.

                                                    1. re: acgold7

                                                      It's not a panic, but a "WHY?" questions. "normal metabolic processes" and adding an additional sheen of ammonia wash are two different things.

                                                      And those meat brines you find in cryovac'd meats in the stupidmarkets? Just make the meat mushy and tasteless.

                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                        With all due respect, using a phrase like "sheen of ammonia wash" is indicative of an irrational panic and fear of science and facts, when there isn't the slightest evidence that it is accurate.

                                                        Using hyperbolic phrases unsupported by fact only feeds panic and irrationality. Besides, Ammonia, like Chlorine and Alcohol, is pretty volatile and burns off and evaporates pretty easily, and it is doubtful that significant amounts remain in the product.

                                                        The "Why" is pretty obvious: To use, rather than waste, perfectly edible meat instead of throwing it away, to keep prices low(er) and profits high(er), assuming said meat can be made safe(r) and pathogen free(r).

                                                        I'm not a fan of pre-brined meat either, but I don't know what that has to do with this topic.

                                                        1. re: acgold7

                                                          Pre-brined meat - you quoted "Ammonium hydroxide also is included in the USDA's list of Safe and Suitable Ingredients ... It is used as a pH control agent in brine solutions for meat products,"

                                                          As for "perfectly edible" - that's a matter of opinion, isn't it? How about LIST IT on the ingredients list and let *me* choose whether or not to buy a product that has pink slime in it.

                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                            Ah, got it. Didn't make the brine connection.

                                                            And I agree, it should be listed so we can choose.

                                                      2. re: acgold7

                                                        Be careful where you get your information. The beef industry is in damage control mode telling people that this garbage is good for you. Pink Slime has not been around for 40 years. It wasn't invented until 2001. Doping meat with ammonia is not "the norm" or safe. The panic, is far from silly. People are freaking out a bit because they finally realized what is in their food and feel betrayed because not a thing about this goo is in the labeling.

                                    2. I'm okay with eating the pink slime so long as it tastes the same.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: redfish62

                                        " Not only is this product a potential source of killer pathogens if the ammonia levels are not controlled properly, but that the overall protein quality of the beef hamburger is compromised by the inclusion of LFTB," former US Department of Agriculture microbiologist Gerald Zirnstein said.

                                        Dr. Zinstein is the Microbiologist that coined the term " Pink Slime. "

                                        Further:

                                        A 2012 ABC News investigative report indicated that the USDA has received, but concealed information indicating that 70 percent of beef contains the substance, and that the USDA has allowed the substance to go unlabeled at the objection of its own scientists.

                                        A 2008 Washington Post article suggested that the Pink Slime content of most beef patties containing the substance approaches 25%.

                                        25% or more is hardly a simple " organic wash. "

                                      2. I posted earlier that I had emailed my grocer to ask whether there was pink slime in their ground beefl I did receive an answer today. Here is part of what they wrote:

                                        Dxxxxxxxx carries three ground meats that are verified from the manufacturer that they do not contain FTB:
                                        * Naturewell Ground Beef (93 % Lean 7% Fat) Sold in 32 oz. packages.
                                        * Angus Beef Ground Sirloin Tip (91% Lean 9% Fat) sold by the pound.
                                        * Angus Ground Beef (75% Lean 25% Fat) Sold by the pound.
                                        Other ground meats offered are sourced from suppliers that follow FDA and USDA regulations and may add USDA inspected boneless lean beef trimmings into the ground meats.

                                        -------------------------------------------------------------------

                                        OK, now I know which ground meat I would buy from this market. I encourage you to contact your markets and ask about this. If enough people ask about this, grocers will get the message, maybe, that consumers don't like adulterated food.

                                        Does anyone know if WF ground meat has FTB?

                                        7 Replies
                                        1. re: sueatmo

                                          Whole Foods responded to ABC News' query the day after their original story aired, and NO, they do not carry ground beef adulterated with pink slime.

                                          http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines...

                                          "ABC News emailed the top 10 grocery chains in America. Only Publix, Costco, HEB and Whole Foods responded, saying they don’t use pink slime. No word yet from the rest."

                                          1. re: sueatmo

                                            I e-mailed Raley's, where I shop, but have not received a reply. They do advertise their ground beef as having no additives or extenders, whatever that means.

                                            1. re: GH1618

                                              It took about 3 days to get an email from my local chain. If you hear from them, please post.

                                              1. re: sueatmo

                                                I'm awaiting a reply from a local chain, Hannafords. Just Emailed them yesterday.

                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                  And a very nice quick reply from them this afternoon says:

                                                  "Thank you for contacting Hannaford. We are pleased to have the opportunity to respond.

                                                  Hannaford does not add lean finely textured beef (LFTB) to the ground beef we produce in our stores. Nationally, many ground-beef suppliers include lean finely textured beef (LFTB) in their products. LFTB is created from small beef trimmings where the fat has been separated from the lean beef. Because the inclusion of lean finely textured beef is common and approved by USDA as safe, we cannot rule out that some ground beef in our stores contains this food product. All of our beef suppliers follow stringent food safety guidelines and produce products in accordance with federal rules and USDA regulations. Our 80% Ground Beef and our Nature's Place Ground Beef offerings do not contain LFTB."
                                                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                                  So anything they sell EXCEPT their 80% and their Nature's Place is suspect. So I'll limit myself to those 2 choices.

                                                  I've got an Email into BJ's Wholesale Club as well.

                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                    And BJ's responded with a much quicker response - received within less than 6 hours:

                                                    At BJ's, there is nothing more important to us than the wellbeing of our Members, and we are dedicated to providing exceptional service and products that meet and exceed their expectations. BJ's has made the decision to eliminate ground beef containing boneless lean beef trimmings (BLBT) or lean finely textured beef (LFTB), which has been called "pink slime" in recent media reports. As of April 7, BJ's will only offer BLBT- or LFTB-free fresh ground beef, and by April 20 will only offer BLBT- or LFTB-free frozen ground beef.
                                                    ~~~~~~~

                                                    That works for me.

                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                      So Linda, in one month + that store (BJ) will then eliminate LFTB ?

                                                      Good move. Better late than never.

                                          2. Here's a link to an item from Food Safety News on the subject:

                                            http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/03...

                                            8 Replies
                                            1. re: GH1618

                                              Thanks for the excellent link to a balanced, fact-based article that was remarkably short on hysteria and hype. Based on the actual facts, I have a hard time getting worked up about this. Isn't this what the pretentious "snout-to-tail" foodies have been preaching about? Using every bit of the cow?

                                              And what about the love for head cheese, scrapple, haggis, cheeks and tongue and pig ears and feet and all the other dishes that use "offal" and cast-off trimmings? And the hip restaurants devoted to same?

                                              I happen to grind my own meat most of the time, but I always save all the trimmings and scraps from when I break down large subprimals, and they get ground and put into my ground beef as well. So I guess I'm doing mostly the same thing, but without the ammonia.

                                              What the article doesn't talk about, and what I still can't find any info on, is why these scraps and trimmings are more prone to contain salmonella and e.coli than the rest of the meat.

                                              1. re: acgold7

                                                Well, it's certainly less wasteful. It doesn't match the foodie "snout-to-tail" methods so well in that it doesn't showcase the uniqueness of each part. For example, beef tongue is delicious and quite distinct from a normal steak, which isn't so obvious if it's mixed with the rest.

                                                The increased risk of salmonella and e.coli comes from the processing temperature, and because it's in such small pieces, it's much easier for a small amount of beef to contaminate a very large amount. If they were able to get it off the bone without processing that reduced it to tiny pieces, it wouldn't be a problem. (It's similar to why rare hamburgers are much riskier than rare steak).

                                                I do wish they'd label the stuff though. It'd give those of us who aren't bothered by odd bits of the animal a fantastic deal.

                                              2. re: GH1618

                                                The only problem I have with offal is that it is not listed as present, and most Americans don't expect to find it in their ground beef. Beef like that would not be suitable to use for Tartare, for instance. Let's just say that I don't want to purchase/consume/serve anyone meat that has had ammonia ADDED to it.

                                                1. re: ChefJune

                                                  I agree with you -- it should be disclosed.

                                                  But this brings up an important semantic issue -- what is the difference between "treated with" and "added to"? And does it matter? Because this is the crux of the USDA's argument: the ammonia doesn't have to be disclosed because it is a processing agent, not an additive. If the meat were sanitized using UV light, would that have to be disclosed? What about irradiation? Genetic modification? Where do you draw the line? If chickens are dipped in a water bath to "clean" them, does the water have to be disclosed? This "fecal soup," as it has been called, is arguably more hazardous than anything else we've been discussing here, as it provably, statistically, contaminates a major portion of the food chain and demonstrably causes illness.

                                                  1. re: ChefJune

                                                    Should any ground meat be used for Tartare? To maximize sanitation, a freshly cut (all surfaces) piece of meat should be chopped on a clean board, or ground in a sanitized grinder. In other words, it should be treated like cooked meat, and never come into contact with other raw meat (even indirectly).

                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                      I agree. But all meat should be cut on a clean board, and ground in a clean grinder.

                                                      Tartare is normally not made using ground meat from the market chains. Never, ever. Other reasons prevent it from being introduced in this discussion, but the use of poor quality meat scraps and the bouquet of an ammonia wash are two off the top of my head.

                                                      Handling as mentioned is paramount to safety. If you know where the meat originates, how and who grinds and mixes it, you should be fine. Any good restaurant you patronize should be proud to show you the kitchen, and introduce you to the staff.

                                                      Would one like a 100% warranty on Tartare then? It is doubful you would receive anything but blank stares. Let us not forget that in Europe (where the dish originated) it is traditionally served with a raw egg, in a broken half shell, on top of the finished meat. In France, and Japan, that can be horsemeat, which is legal.

                                                      But Tartare raw or not is meat, and not a by chemically-treated by product.

                                                      1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                                        But there are a lot of 'chemically-treated by product' meats. Salamis, mortadellas, blood sausage. Salt and nitrates, as well as the fermentation at the early stage are forms of chemical treatment. Cooking is a chemical process.

                                                        http://books.google.com/books?id=PC_O...

                                                        p417 - lactic acid and ammonia are formed during the fermentation of sausage

                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                          Quite accurate.

                                                          And poorly made, non-inspected salami can make you ill.

                                                          But they are sausage products, not by-products, and are not described as 100% beef. Here we are discussing ground meat, and adding a filler washed in ammonia to increase the volume, make it safe hopefully, and thus acceptable to the public.

                                                          Please note that nowhere in this discussion has anyone stated or cited the meat industry revealing that fact openly with the public when they introduced the process, until just recently as a counter to the news articles.They were hardly forthcoming.

                                                2. Publix does not use pink slime, that's where I buy my ground beef

                                                  1. Trader Joes quickly answered my question about pink slime...and here it is:

                                                    RE: Trader Joe's General Feedback Form Inbox
                                                    Web Customer Relations <webRelations@traderjoes.com> Fri, Mar 16, 2012 at 2:16 PM

                                                    Thanks for the email. We have been receiving lots of inquiries as a result of this information that's circulating. The "pink slime" referred to is ground up beef that has been treated with ammonia hydroxide. Please be reassured that this is not something that would be permitted in our products--NO pink slime in our meats!

                                                    We only work with reputable suppliers, many of which are actually generally much smaller in comparison to other markets, just so that we can ensure the quality and integrity of our products. We also have third party audits of our products and vendor facilities to ensure that our standards are met.

                                                    At Trader Joe's, food safety is of the utmost importance, and we take seriously the work done to ensure our products are wholesome and safe; after all, we're customers, too - and we would not sell anything we would not eat, drink, or use ourselves.

                                                    I hope this helps!
                                                    Regards,
                                                    Kerry
                                                    Customer Relations

                                                    1. ...also according to the "KOSHER" board here on Chowhound....no supplier of kosher meat allows this process...

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: ChowFun_derek

                                                        No, the comment was that no kosher meat supplier is doing this process, and not that it is not allowed. It may not be economical for them to purchase the equipment needed for the size of their operations, I would not be surprised that if it was economical for them to purchase the equipment they would do so.

                                                        1. re: chazzer

                                                          They absolutely would. If it's economical to use this process then it would be wasteful not to, and that's a religious prohibition (bal tashchis).

                                                      2. So, does anyone know if hot dogs have pink slime in them? I think I heard a newsreader on NPR mention this this morning. I bet they do. I wonder how you find out which brands have it?

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: sueatmo

                                                          I think you can assume that most do. Koshers, maybe not so much.

                                                          As Costco has taken a pretty clear stance on this, I'd assume their Kirkland brand is safe as well.

                                                        2. This article has a good factual write up about what it is. Sadly many people are falling for the beef industry's recent PR blitz that has some outright lies in it about pink slime http://www.thelunchtray.com/has-lftb-...