Friday, April 6, 2012

How has the pink slime backlash affected the beef industry?

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about one of agriculture's hottest topics-- pink slime. The stir from consumers over pink slime (also known as lean, finely textured beef or LFTB) created quite a backlash in the retail and foodservice industry to the point that many are racing to eliminate it from their ground beef. Large chains like Safeway, Kroger, and ShopRite are advertising "pink slime-free beef" to attract customers who have showed concern about the filler.

After such a controversy, where does the ground beef industry go from here? The Lempert Report discusses some of the things we may be seeing in the near future. Most certainly, it will mean higher prices because there isn't a filler. Also, we may see a rise in food borne illnesses because LFTB is treated with ammonia gas to kill pathogens. On a positive note, butchers may make a return to the supermarket or neighborhood shop. While a butcher grinding meat on demand for customers is not pathogen-free, it may help customers regain faith in ground beef.

Photo from

As an ag business owner, how has this pink slime backlash affected you? Are your customers asking for pink slime-free beef? How much extra will it cost to produce pink slime-free beef?

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