"Pink slime" may be hiding in your ground beef

It's bad enough that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has recently bought 7 million pounds of "pink slime"--the same "meat" rejected by fast food chains like McDonalds, Taco Bell and Burger King--to feed to our children in public school. But now an ABC News investigation reveals that 70% of ground beef in supermarkets also contains this treated-with-ammonia substitute for real meat.  

If you're as disgusted by this as I am, the first question that comes to mind is: Why are we only finding out about it now? And then, quickly after, the second question hit me: where can I buy ground beef that doesn't include the "pink slime"? If you're looking for healthier meat for your family, there are still a few options around.  


Read more ¿Qué más? Why are schools feeding kids the "pink slime" meat rejected by McDonalds?

Although the president of the American Meat Institute, J. Patrick Boyle, says that the BLBT (Boneless Lean Beef Trimmings) are "a sustainable product because it recovers lean meat that would otherwise be wasted", the substance was originally sold only to dog food and cooking oil suppliers until the ammonia disinfecting plan was installed.  

If you're looking to buy meat that is safer (a.k.a ammonia-free) for your family, your best bet is to buy USDA certified organic beef (since this means it cannot contain any fillers) or learn to grind the beef yourself. But if those aren't cost-effective options for you, there are some stores that don't use it.

ABC News did some further investigating to find out which of the top 10 grocery store chains in America are using "pink slime" and which aren't. Although only 7 of them responded, they report that Costco, Publix, H-E-B and Kroger all said they refuse to use the meat substance.

My favorite response came from Craig Wilson, vice president of quality assurance at Costco, who humorously replied:

"Anything that we sell at Costco we want to explain it's origins, and I personally don't know how to explain trim treated with ammonia in our ground beef. I just don't know how to explain that. I'm not that smart."

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Although I've been buying ground beef from my local grocery store for as long as I can remember, I'm definitely going to switch now. There is no Publix, H-E-B and Kroger in my area, so my only options are Whole Foods and Costco. I have to admit, I am very happy that I have a healthy and a bulk-buying option available to me. Next time that I want to make hamburgers for my family, I'll breathe a sigh of relief knowing that it contains no "pink slime" thanks to my ground beef purchase from either of these grocery stores.

I may not be able to grind my own beef, but at least I can buy an ammonia-free, healthier-for-you option when that's what my family is craving.

What do you think about the new findings that "pink slime" is used in many grocery store's ground beef? Will you be shopping at those that don't have it or trying to make your own?

Image via The Big Scout Project/flickr