Beefy 'pink slime' is almost dead

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Because I know all about buying cheap meat when you're a bit broke, I'm pretty relieved to hear that all major grocery chains, plus Wal-mart, have basically opted out of selling beef that includes ammonia-treated boneless, lean, beef trimmings — or "pink slime."

Even better, the stuff itself appears to be dead, or so thinks the nation's largest meat processor.

“It’s pretty much over,” Cargill spokesman Mike Martin told The Daily, adding: “The retailer concerns are understandable, but it’s unfortunate that ‘finely textured beef,’ which is 100 percent beef and 95 percent lean, has been vilified.”

Yeah ... I guess if I were a company that either benefitted from the stuff, or made it myself — cough, the grossest-named food company in history: Beef Products Inc., cough — I'd think that a demand for something else, anything else, would be unfortunate too.

On a local level, at least some kids are free from its slimy presence. We contacted several Colorado Springs school districts today, but have only heard back from Academy School District 20 so far.

"Our district’s lunch program is managed by Sodexo," writes spokeswoman Nanette Anderson in an e-mail. "Sodexo researched this issue last week and the Academy District 20 Sodexo representative issued this statement: Sodexo does not use any ground beef products containing ammoniated lean beef."

Of course, BPI's not taking this lying down, either. It took out a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal touting all the nice things people (mostly employees) have said about the slime, and all the people who will lose their jobs as a result.

"It is simply amazing how this mis-information campaign can take a company and product that has long been recognized for its quality and safety and turn the public perception so negative that it now may result in the loss of over 3,000 jobs," cried BPI CEO Eldon Roth into his hands.

And the sob story continues — back to Martin, the Cargill spokesman, the worst is yet to come: Future mass-produced beef will be ammonia-free mass-produced beef.

“We’ll likely have to raise an additional 1.5 million head of cattle to make up for the loss,” he told The Daily.

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