Pink slime has Tyson concerned
Posted: Monday, April 2, 2012 7:00 pm
By The Associated Press
Tyson Foods Inc. executives say the negative publicity over the filler known as “pink slime” has hurt demand and will reduce beef supply in the long term.
A number of consumers, schools and grocers announced in recent weeks that they are shunning products that contain the common, low-cost filler, described by the meat industry as “lean, finely textured beef.”
“The ground beef issue caught a lot of publicity and put … a fair amount of pressure on ground beef consumption,” James Lochner, chief operating officer of Tyson told investors at a conference last week.
Tyson’s top executives said they expect demand to recover quickly, but the market will have to adjust.
They estimate there will be a 2 percent to 3 percent reduction in supply.
Shrinking supplies traditionally drive up costs for consumers.
The additive is made from bits of leftover meat that are heated, spun to remove the fat, compressed into blocks and exposed to ammonia to kill bacteria.
Producers often mix the filler into fattier meat to produce an overall leaner product and reduce their costs.
The filler has been used for years, but concern about it has been on the upswing recently.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently decided that school districts may opt to stop using government meat that contains it, which brought more attention to the issue.
Tyson says the trend is unfortunate because it was a safe, wholesome, nutritious product.
The company, based in Springdale, Ark., is one of the world’s largest processors and marketers of chicken, beef and pork.
Tyson Foods operates a poultry processing plant in Union City.
Published in The Messenger 4.2.12