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Weight of Pink Slime Furor Sends One Company Under

In recent weeks, slimeslinging over Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB) has reached fever pitch. Now public criticism of the stuff has heated up enough to send one meat company into bankruptcy.

Ground beef producer AFA foods filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Monday, citing “recent changes in the market” as the reason for its sudden profit loss, according to Huffington Post.

Public outcry at the discovery that LFTB is treated with a high level of ammonia has led many major grocery chains including Safeway, Kroger and Supervalu to stop purchasing this type of beef.

AFA, which uses the ammonia-treated beef in its products, is one of the country’s largest ground beef processors, putting out more than 500 million pounds of product each year.

The firm says it is now seeking a sale of some or all of its assets.

Beef Products Inc., which produces the controversial LFTB approved by the USDA in 2001, has also been hit hard by the controversy. Last week the company halted production at 3 of its 4 plants and decreased output at the remaining facility by 70 percent. As a result, 650 workers were temporarily laid off.

Over 3,000 companies source the beef from BPI and will be affected by the shutdown, according to the American Meat Association.

Estimates suggest that until a month or so ago approximately 70 percent of ground beef in America contained LFTB.

Last week, after BPI’s plant closure, three governors went to bat for the beef industry to try and salvage the market for the ground beef trim, now widely referred to as “pink slime.”

“Dude, it’s beef!” exclaimed Kansas Governor Sam Brownback during the press conference. “It’s good beef.”

But AFAs financial trouble seems to suggest that at least, so far, the plea of the meat industries and the politicians who support them may not be able to restore favor for a product with such a smeared reputation.

© Food Safety News
  • Ben Mark

    Before 2001 the industry could make ground beef without ammonia and now they can not and have to file for bankruptcy!? Interesting! I’m sure there are companies out there they do a good job and have now a better chance to sell a better product. Why would you put ammonia in meat when you know what it is? http://toxtown.nlm.nih.gov/text_version/chemicals.php?id=2

  • John Coryat

    I am a beef eater. I like muscle meat. I do not like ground up tendons and snouts that should be directly out of the human consumption path and into dog food.
    What seems to be lost in the “pink slime” debate is taste and quality. Have we all forgotten what a real hamburger tastes like? It’s supposed to taste like steak. Unless the source of that burger is 100% muscle, it won’t.
    The average American is so used to salted and spiced beef that they really don’t know the difference between a pink slime burger and a real one.
    -John Coryat
    p.s. My dog loves tendons and snouts!

  • Francis S. K.

    John, I humbly submit your dog, being man’s best friend, in addition to loving tendons and snouts also loves an ass in this instance.
    I’ve enjoyed burgers for years. Still do. Expect to continue enjoying them. If I am not conforming to your effete standards for palatability, well take out your peckish control issues on your poor dog. You see it everywhere: “Billions and Billions Sold”, which only proves you, John, are out of touch with the majority of American consumers.

  • Ben Mark

    You are funny, just because Billions Sold does not mean the quality is good. If you only get this type of food how can you think about any difference. That’s where the consumers get buffaloed. If they would have told the public at the time they started this, there would be Billions and Billions sold.