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Grocery Stores Respond To Pink Slime Outcry

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Most shoppers can't believe that some of the leading grocery chains have been adding something called pink slime to their ground beef.

It's an additive that the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) says is safe but which many consumers question.

Veronica Baker of Ross Township is one of those consumers.

"I think it's disgusting," Baker says, "I wouldn't want to buy it, and I would probably think twice about the store, too."

Karen Policicchio, also of Ross Township, agrees.

"It's terrible. They shouldn't be adding anything extra to our foods," Policicchio says.

There is nothing quite as American as that good old-fashioned hamburger and the notion that somebody is adding something to our ground beef is pretty offensive to many.

George Ott has been a butcher at Kuhn's for 30 years and he says adding pink slime is a form of cheating.

"The people trust us, the public, to feed them, and give them quality products, so anyone who would be using it I think you're cheating the public," he said.

That sentiment seems to be hitting a number of the major grocery chains in this region.

Only two local grocery chains never added pink slime to ground beef in the first place were Costco and Kuhn's.

Kuhn's store manager Sam Guido told KDKA Money Editor Jon Delano Kuhn's has never used this safe but controversial additive.

While Giant Eagle's ground beef has contained the additive, the chain has just announced that it will be phasing it out over the next few weeks.

This is a reversal for the company. Two weeks ago, Giant Eagle sent out a memo to its store managers reaffirming the safety and use of the additive, but on Friday, the chain released the following statement:

"Recent media attention on (pink slime) has prompted questions, confusion, and a decline in consumer confidence in the product. After careful review of feedback from our customers, Giant Eagle has decided that effective immediately the company will no longer source fresh ground beef containing (pink slime)."

Shop 'N Save is doing the same, although individual stores may continue the practice.

Other local stores that did sell meat with pink slime -- Aldi, Bottom Dollar, and Sam's Club -- now say they'll offer ground beef without pink slime.

Kuhn's store manager Sam Guido thinks he knows why most grocery chains are now pulling the slime.

"They don't want the bad publicity or they wouldn't have reacted as fast as they did," Guido says.

Whatever the motive, customers seem happy to have pure ground beef.

With the summer grilling season approaching, and hamburgers always popular, maybe it's no surprise that the major grocery store chains have acted so quickly in response to that pink slime controversy.

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