Saturday, March 24, 2012

Pink Slime in Ithaca?

With all the talk about pink slime in the national media, what's happening right here?

Ground beef straight from local farms is free of pink slime.

But what about grocery stores in the Ithaca area?

Lansing Market announced that its ground beef is 100% pink-slime-free.

In an email to me, a BJ's Wholesale PR Manager said: 
"The beef ground in our clubs does not contain boneless lean beef trimmings (BLBT) also referred to as “pink slime,” and BJ’s currently offers all-natural ground beef, including the fresh NatureSource ground beef and frozen Earth’s Pride ground beef that is BLBT free. BLBT is not an ingredient; it is pure lean beef, but the process in using it and the way it has been reported on by media, raises questions from our members. BJ’s pre-packaged ground beef does currently contain BLBT but by April 20, none of our pre-packaged ground beef will contain it."

Wegmans customer service told me in an email:
"While most ground beef contains a small percentage of boneless lean beef trimmings, our processor (Cargill Meat Solutions), does not use ammoniated meat products in the production of fresh ground beef for Wegmans. Our supplier tests all of our ground beef products for E.coli O157:H7 before it leaves the plant and the boxes are numbered so it can be tracked once it gets to the store and is packaged for retail sale. Our supplier abides by all regulatory requirements in making ground beef. Additionally, all Wegmans specifications are met in the process."
After my initial correspondence with Wegmans, they sent this follow up:
"You recently contacted us concerning ground beef. We explained that our ground beef did not contain ammoniated meat. In spite of that fact, Danny Wegman issued a statement today announcing that we will soon transition to carrying ground beef that does not contain lean finely textured beef, even though our product was not treated with ammonium hydroxide. Here is the statement:

“We’ve made a decision to stop selling ground beef that contains Lean Finely Textured Beef. Having grown up in the meat business, we have always been proud of our ground beef and eat it ourselves. Because of the sensationalism of this issue it has become a concern for our customers. Every decision we make is with our customers in mind. Our commitment remains the same. We will continue to source the best quality ground beef, now without lean finely textured beef.”

"We are working with our supplier to transition to the new product as soon as possible. Until then, we will continue to carry ground beef that contains lean finely textured beef. As a choice, we offer Wegmans Organic and Wegmans Food You Feel Good About ground beef, neither of which contain lean finely textured beef."


  1. This is helpful information. I'd love to hear from Ithaca Schools and maybe a few local restaurants on this issue as well. Thank you.

  2. Good questions! I'll see what I can find out...