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The number of food retailers discontinuing the sale of products featuring lean finely textured beef (LFTB) -- also known as boneless lean beef trim (BLBT) or, less appetizingly, “pink slime” -- continues to grow, with Giant Eagle, mega-retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and regional independent B&R Stores among the most recent defectors. The chief reason for the decisions continues to be customer demand.
“While BLBT is USDA and FDA approved and has been considered safe and nutritious for more than 20 years, recent media attention … has prompted questions, confusion and a decline in consumer confidence in the product,” Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle noted. “After careful review of feedback from our customers, Giant Eagle has decided that effective immediately the company will no longer source fresh ground beef containing BLBT.”
“As a result of customer and member feedback, Walmart and Sam’s Club will begin offering fresh ground beef that does not contain lean finely textured beef (LFTB),” said Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart. “We are working aggressively with our suppliers to have new offerings in our stores and clubs as quickly as possible. As these products become available, associates in our meat department and at our customer service desks will share updates with customers who inquire.”
In common with Giant Eagle, Walmart stressed the safety of the discontinued item: “While the USDA and experts agree that beef containing LFTB is safe and nutritious, we are committed to listening to our customers and providing the quality products they want at prices they can afford.”
"We value the opinions of our customers, and we're committed to providing high-quality food they can feel good about serving to their families," observed Pat Raybould, president of Lincoln, Neb.-based B&R, which operates four store concepts in cities across Nebraska and Iowa. The company also noted that LFTB had been "approved by the USDA for safety and quality."
Additionally, after checking with its suppliers, Springfield, Mass.-based Big Y affirmed that its fresh and frozen ground beef products don't contain LFTB. United Supermarkets LLC of Lubbock, Texas, noted that it sources all of the fresh ground beef for ifs Genuine Texas Beef program from Cargill in Plainview, Texas, while its 90 percent Certified Angus Ground Sirloin and Certified Natural Angus Ground Sirloin both come from Tyson Foods, and that none of these products contain LFTB.
Progressive Grocer will keep readers apprised of further updates in relation to BLBT.