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Mar 14, 2012 11:40 AM

Pink Slime (UGH!) - What are the safe brands?

In light of the expose about supermarkets and restaurants adding pink slime to their ground beef, are any hounds familiar with chains (both supermarkets and restaurants) that do NOT use pink slime in their beef? And does this trend extend to ground turkey (which suddenly seems MUCH more appealing!)

This expose was in the US - Do you hounds in other countries find that this happens there or are rules more stringent in your domiciles?

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    Among large grocery chains, Costco, Kroger, Publix, and Whole Foods verify they DO NOT use pink slime.

    2 Replies
    1. re: beachmouse

      It's interesting (and welcome) that Kroger, in my experience a relatively budget-minded chain, doesn't use it.

      We should use this thread to clarify which chains DO use it, too, no?

      I shop mainly at a good regional chain in northern Indiana (Martin's Supermarkets), and they say that their suppliers don't use it. Doesn't surprise me, because they also don't sell "enhanced" pork.

      1. re: Bada Bing

        Actually not all of the ground meat products at Kroger are free from pink slime. I emailed them yesterday about this very topic and here is the response I received from their consumer affairs area:

        Thank you for contacting The Kroger Company. We appreciate your inquiry regarding our Meat additives. Our Private Selection Ground Meats and meats sold from our meat counter in store are free of "Pink Slime" (ammonium hydroxide), yet this guarantee cannot be placed on our Kroger Brand or Kroger Value Ground Beef. The ground beef you find at your local Kroger has been purchased from USDA-approved suppliers who are required to follow all federal guidelines during the production of ground beef to ensure food safety and quality.

        We require our suppliers to follow all federal guidelines during the production of ground beef to ensure food safety and quality, including the USDA-approved process of Lean Finely Textured Beef. [The addition of ammonium hydroxide] is commonly followed in the food service industry, as it reduces the level of harmful bacteria including E. coli and Salmonella. Food safety practices are strictly followed at Kroger stores and we further encourage our customers to follow safe food handling techniques: keeping meats separate, keep your hands and preparation surfaces clean and cook meat to the correct temperature. If we can be of further assistance please feel free to contact us. Thank you for your patronage and have a wonderful day.

    2. My local market sent out emails explaining they don't use it, and in fact they grind their meat in-house.

      The idea of this vile stuff being fed to children (school lunch!) is disgusting.

      12 Replies
      1. re: coney with everything

        I may be going out on a limb here, but I would say that any grocery chain that has an in-house butcher shop (like HEB here in Texas) does not use the stuff. While on the other hand the union-phobes at Wal Mart who buy all their meat prepackaged (so they don't have to pay a butcher union wages) probably does. But then again I put nothing past Wal Mart.

        1. re: ericthered

          I kind of expect that Walmart would do this. But, in their defense, they also have some initiatives in the direction of organic foods, environmental sustainablity, etc. I seldom go there, but last time I went, I saw and bought a decently priced organic, free-range chicken...

          1. re: Bada Bing

            I think the public is being misled by Walmart's push to be sustainable or environmentally friendly.

            For Walmart, it's all part of a marketing ploy. Their organic and free-range stuff means very little when it comes to helping the environment.

            1. re: wreckers00

              Anything any company does to make their products more appealing to customers is a "marketing ploy". If you think that organic or free-range meat is safer or more environmentally friendly, it's something to be happy about if big businesses decide to sell it.

        2. re: coney with everything

          "Vile" sounds a bit dramatic here. What we're talking about is a matter of degrees. People have no problem slaughtering, eviscerating and breaking down animals but somehow making the most of meat scrap that we would otherwise have disposed of for lack of cost-effective processing suddenly becomes "vile"? There are people all over the world who would clamor for beef trimmings as a protein source. Oh, and ammonium hydroxide? It's already inside all of us and in the dilutions used in "pink slime" is a non-issue.

          1. re: ferret

            Well, yes. But we go to the market thinking we are buying 100% beef and find out that we aren't. And the ground beef is far more processed than we ever thought, and just in case it isn't clean, it gets a spray of ammonia. I'm sorry but this is just awful sounding. We aren't beggars finding something to keep body and soul together in the village garbage dump. We are buying this stuff, thinking it to be something else, and no one has mentioned this or put it down in black and white on the package. And, when people are outraged about eating this at McD's the government buys it to feed to kids in public school. I've heard the term mystery meat many times, and using that term seems to apply to this.

            I grant you that there are people poor enough in this world who might be thankful for this, and I grieve for their plight. I work in a food pantry. There is hunger and need right here in my community and grieve for those I try to help.

            But adulterating our meat secretly is not acceptable in this modern time.

            1. re: sueatmo

              >>>But we go to the market thinking we are buying 100% beef and find out that we aren't.<<<

              False. It is 100% beef, just not the parts you are used to.

              >>>adulterating our meat secretly <<<

              A) It's not a secret and hasn't been for years, and B) it's not adulterating. That is an incorrect use of the word. Adulterating is putting in a foreign substance, like putting sawdust into nutmeg. Putting cow into cow doesn't remotely qualify. It's 100% Beef, treated with a gas that occurs naturally in our systems, as the real scientific, non-hyperbolic, non-hysterical, non-panicky articles have established.

              Look, you're perfectly free to not like the stuff and get grossed out by the idea of it and to avoid it completely. I feel that way about tripe and menudo, no matter how many people tell me how delicious it is.

              But you are not free to misprepresent the facts to try to bolster your point.

              1. re: acgold7

                very interesting points that everyone has made here. i am not sure what to think so that's why i am interested in everyone's POV. in our home, we eat meat - tho - yes -cringe at the sight of the droopy chickens in the transport truck on the freeway in the HOT or icey cold -- and the cattle too. There is a gas station in our suburbs where the packing house trucks park - "last ride transport" -- i kid you not, that is the label on the door of the big trucks. It's at Whatcom Road, exit 95 off the Trans-Canada 1 in Greater Vancouver.

                1. re: acgold7

                  And yet I doubt anyone would be defending businesses grinding up tripe into their ground beef and not labeling it.

                  I wonder how many of the defenders I've suddenly started seeing posts from on the internet are being paid by the businesses producing the products. It's certainly happened before. I can't think of anything else that would motivate someone to advance the obviously risible argument that somehow a product made from material that's primarily connective tissue is somehow "ground beef". Especially since there are plenty of other components of cows that can't legally be sold as ground beef -- bones and brains, for instance.

                  It wouldn't even be labeled as beef had the USDA not overruled the objections of their own scientists and decided that it could be added to our food supply without being identified.

                  1. re: Exy00

                    "suddenly started seeing posts from"

                    Sometimes it is instructive to look at the posting history. If they've only been posting for the last day, or in particular category of threads, there is a possibility that they are here solely for that issue, whether paid to do so or not. But if they've been posting for several years on multiple topics, it is quite unlikely that they are industry plants.

                    Your posting history is quite short, but diverse enough, so I don't suspect you of being an anti-industry plant. :)

                    1. re: paulj

                      I did just join, and I didn't mean around here in particular, necessarily. I've suddenly been seeing these people mocking the "hysteria" everywhere online that this is being discussed. Whereas I don't remember any defenses of this stuff from anyone but PR people until quite recently.

                      1. re: Exy00

                        It hasn't been on most peoples' radar until a news article came out claiming 'pink slime is everywhere'. It's quite normal for some people to react to articles like that with 'Ugh, how horrible!!!!', and others with 'what's so horrible?' Some ask questions, others prefer emotional descriptors.

          2. I'm thinking a lot of that 'pink slime' is primarily used in those 'chub' packs or ground beef tubes.

            Regardless, if you're in doubt, grab a chuck steak or something and have them grind it up for you right there.

            1. MysticYoYo, I found it quite interesting that when major chains quit purchasing Pink Slime (McDonalds, for instance), the U.S. Government immediately bought thousands of pounds of it for the public schools. Makes you wonder just how strong the lobbyist group is for Pink Slime.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Leper

                Or how incredibly impotent the USDA is. And just who's pulling the strings.

              2. Newspapers have been reporting about pink slime for at least two years now, and it was displayed on the first season of Jamie Oliver's food revolution show on American TV, which is also two or more years ago. In view of the fact that after seeing how this stuff was formed into burgers used in school cafeterias, the kids still wanted to eat them, it is no surprise that pink slime remains part of the school lunch program.

                I am not informed as to the nutritional value of pink slime, or whether it presents any health risks.
                The idea is offputting, to be sure. As long as private and public food budgets are being pared, I don't foresee an end to the purchase of pink slime.

                4 Replies
                1. re: greygarious

                  what i remember seeing on Jamie Oliver were chicken nuggets formed of mechanically separated chicken. did he also do one on beef? (not being snarky, i'm really curious)

                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                    I remember the nuggets but I do think he went into the pink slime issue too.....perhaps the latter was in the second season. I wouldn't want to bet my first-born child on it, though. Probably the more important take-away from Mr. Oliver's show is that if it's fried, the kids want to eat it no matter what raw materials it contains.

                    I live in the Boston area, where tonight's TV news reported that next year the school system will not be buying the USDA-supplied pink-slime beef, despite the cost savings they'll be giving up. I'd be happier about that decision if not for wondering what other corners will be cut to make up for the added food cost. If it's a matter of, say, pink slime vs. arts curriculum, I'd rather see the kids eat the cheap beef and keep the music and art classes.

                    1. re: greygarious

                      thanks g.g. i do remember the chicken part clearly. and i have mixed feelings about pink slime, i think the bigger issue is that we didn't know it was there.

                      If they sell it as ground beef, then it seems it should be ground beef. not finely processed parts that seem almost more like a beef byproduct than beef itself. most of us eat hot dogs, but we know full well that it has 'stuff' in it that we wouldn't eat by itself. But calling this stuff ground beef seems to be pushing the limits.

                      1. re: KaimukiMan

                        I am an omnivore and love meat, but I have not consumed a hot dog in....I'm not sure how long! Probably about 20 years???? I make sausage with ground pork from a reliable butcher....etc. Mystery meat is not only slightly scary, it is of low quality/taste.