'Pink slime' maker halts some plants
The company that makes "pink slime" is suspending operations at three of four plants where the low-cost beef filler is made amid a public outcry over concern about the ingredient.
Beef Products Inc. spokesman Craig Letch on Monday (March 26) told The Associated Press about the operations suspensions at plants in Texas, Kansas and Iowa ahead of a public announcement about the plan. The company's plant at its Dakota Dunes, SD, headquarters will continue operations.
The ammonia-treated ingredient known by the industry as "lean, finely textured beef" has been used for years but recently became a target of activists seeking to have it banned from supermarkets and school lunches.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture will offer schools choice in ground beef buys amid growing concern over the product.
Under the change, schools will be able to choose between beef patties made with the filler or bulk ground beef without it. The policy will affect food at schools this fall because of existing contracts.
A USDA official with knowledge of the decision says the agency wanted to be transparent and school districts wanted choices. The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity ahead of the official announcement.
The USDA buys about a fifth of the food served in schools.