CINCINNATI — Kroger, Stop & Shop, Bi-Lo, Winn-Dixie and Brookshire Grocery Co. today became the latest major supermarket chains to announce that they would no longer purchase ground beef containing lean finely textured beef as filler. Wal-Mart Stores, along with Safeway and Supervalu, made similar announcements on Wednesday.
Made from beef trimmings that have been treated with ammonia gas to kill bacteria, then heated and spun in a centrifuge, the ingredient is considered safe by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. However, a former USDA scientist’s description of the ingredient as “pink slime” has caught the public’s attention. Petitions to keep the ingredient out of school meals have sprung up on sites such as change.org, and activity on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook has helped consumer criticism build.
"Kroger listens to our customers carefully to provide the high quality products they want at the great prices they deserve,” the company said in a prepared statement. “Our customers have expressed their concerns that the use of lean finely textured beef — while fully approved by the USDA for safety and quality — is something they do not want in their ground beef. We highly value customer feedback, and the recent flood of news stories has diminished their confidence in the product. As a result, Kroger will no longer purchase ground beef containing lean finely textured beef."
Statements from Stop & Shop, Wal-Mart, Bi-Lo, Winn-Dixie and Brookshire's were similar, noting that no safety concerns were associated with the ingredient, but that consumer concern had led to each company’s decision.