The days of “Let them eat pink slime” are over. Today Safeway Inc., the second-largest supermarket operator in the country, said it will stop buying the ammonia-treated beef filler “because of widespread customer concern,” MSNBC reports. Since Safeway owns Vons, hamburger sold at Vons will also be pink slime-free. As Maximilien Robespierre once observed, “The general will rules in society,” adding, “Even the French wouldn't eat this crap.”
However, the markets will be selling their existing stock of pink slime-tainted beef, so buyer beware.
In euphemistic meat industry terms, pink slime is dubbed “Lean Finely Textured Beef.” In layman's terms, it is slaughterhouse scraps with no nutritional value but potentially lots of bacterial contamination, treated with ammonium hydroxide to kill germs. It has been a part of the U.S. food supply since the 1990s, mixed in with as much as 70% of ground beef. But pink slime outrage reached a tipping point a couple of weeks ago when it was reported that the USDA would be shipping 7 million pounds of the stuff to public schools as part of the National School Lunch program. (Following widespread public uproar, the government agency said schools can now choose filler-free ground beef.)
Although the Department of Agriculture claims the filler is safe, “Recent news stories have caused considerable consumer concern about this product,” Safeway said in a statement explaining why it would no longer carry hamburger mixed with pink slime.
Follow Samantha Bonar @samanthabonar.