Recent reports have indicated that as much as 70 percent of ground beef products sold at grocery stores today contain “boneless lean beef trimmings” – a product fondly referred to as “pink slime” and the star of a whole lot of controversy over the past few weeks. But that number may be decreasing considerably. Supermarket chain Safeway has now joined the ranks of McDonald’s and Taco Bell by becoming the newest major U.S. food retailer to swear off the sale of pink slime-containing ground beef products at all of its stores, including Vons and the upscale Pavilions.
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According to today’s ABC News report, Safeway released a statement that they still stand with the USDA in believing that the meat filler is safe to eat – but, with that said, they also appear to stand by the notion that the customer is always right:
"Safeway is committed to providing our customers with the highest-quality products," the company said in a statement. "While the USDA and food industry experts agree that lean finely textured beef is safe and wholesome, recent news stories have caused considerable consumer concern about this product. Safeway will no longer purchase ground beef containing lean finely textured beef."
Safeway may be the newest retail outlet to go BLBT-free, but it isn’t the first: the chain is in good company with Costco, Publix, and Whole Foods. With in-store brands like Bright Green, Open Nature, and O Organics, this also isn’t Safeway’s first foray into product choices that are more simple and natural. But every continued step forward is a valuable one in proving to consumers that, when it comes to food safety concerns, savvy businesses are willing to listen and their voices will be heard.