Hy-Vee Discontinues Use Of “Pink Slime” Beef Additive

By Emily Busse, Reporter

In this undated image released by Beef Products Inc., boneless lean beef trimmings are shown before packaging. The debate over �pink slime� in chopped beef is hitting critical mass. The term, adopted by opponents of �lean finely textured beef,� describes the processed trimmings cleansed with ammonia and commonly mixed into ground meat. Federal regulators say it meets standards for food safety. Critics liken it to pet food _ and their battle has suddenly gone viral amid new media attention and a snowballing online petition. (AP Photo/Beef Products Inc.)

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By Jaime Sharer

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - In response to concerned customers, Hy-Vee joined several store chains nationwide Thursday in discontinuing the sale of beef that contains an additive commonly called “pink slime.”

As the Associated Press reported, the “slime” is actually “Lean Finely Textured Beef” treated with ammonia to kill bacteria. Though the ground beef substance meets USDA quality and safety standards, critics said the substance could be unsafe and is an unappetizing aspect of industrialized food production.

In a statement Thursday, Des Moines-based Hy-Vee said they will no longer purchase products containing the finely textured beef due to a “loss of consumer confidence in the product.”

The statement also said Hy-Vee officials have already notified their suppliers and are switching product lines “as quickly as possible.”

For some local Hy-Vee customers, the store made the right choice.

According to 34-year-old Cedar Rapids resident Sarah Oviatt, she and her family don’t eat beef with the additive. Instead, she said, she always opts for ground turkey.

“It’s just a healthier choice,” said Oviatt, as she left the Hy-Vee on 1st Ave. Thursday night.

According to the Associated Press, Hy-Vee joins several other chains in steering clear of “pink slime,” including Kroger Co., Stop & Shop, Safeway, Supervalu, and Food Lion. Also, Walmart and its Sam’s Club stores announced they would start selling beef options that did not contain the filler.

The employee-owned Hy-Vee operates 235 retail stores in eight Midwestern states, and the statement noted it is ranked among the top 25 supermarket chains in the United States.

“We want to thank our customers for sharing their feedback on this issue and assure them Hy-Vee will continue to listen and respond to their concerns, just as our company has been doing for more than 80 years,” the statement said.

Oviatt said she’s glad Hy-Vee listened to customers’ concerns and is stopping distribution of the product. However, as a mother, Oviatt said she’s more concerned with getting the beef additive out of the school lunches.

According to the Associated Press, the Agriculture Department announced recently that schools using the national lunch program will have the chance to opt out of using food with the beef additive next fall.

“It’s nice that it’s out of [Hy-Vee], but it’d be better if it was out of the school district,” Oviatt said.

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