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Citing “customer concerns,” The Kroger Co. will no longer purchase ground beef containing lean finely textured beef, joining Safeway, Supervalu and others as the latest supermarket chain to turn away from the ground beef filler this week.
“Kroger listens to our customers carefully to provide the high quality products they want at the great prices they deserve,” the company said in a statement. “Our customers have expressed their concerns that the use of lean finely textured beef – while fully approved by the USDA for safety and quality – is something they do not want in their ground beef. We highly value customer feedback, and the recent flood of news stories has diminished their confidence in the product. As a result, Kroger will no longer purchase ground beef containing lean finely textured beef.”
The nation’s largest traditional grocery retailer, Kroger’s rejection of the so-called “pink slime” comes in the wake of Safeway and Supervalu’s declarations against the filler just a day earlier. Meanwhile, other grocers, including Food Lion, HEB, Whole Foods, Costco and, most recently, Ahold USA's Stop & Shop, Brookshire Grocery Co., Hy-Vee, the recently merged Bi-Lo and Winn-Dixie, ALDI, and Giant Eagle, have likewise declared they will not sell ground beef that includes the finely textured product.
Lean finely textured beef is made of beef trimmings treated with a puff of ammonium hydroxide gas to minimize growth of harmful bacteria. The product is intended as a way to reduce waste to the processor and cost to the consumer.
Kroger operates 2,435 supermarkets and multidepartment stores in 31 states under two dozen local banner names including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Jay C, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith’s.