Pink Slime Scare May Increase Price Of Meat

March 29, 2012 Updated Mar 29, 2012 at 8:40 AM EDT

By WKBW News

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March 29, 2012 Updated Mar 29, 2012 at 8:40 AM EDT

Buffalo, N.Y (WKBW) – You could be paying as much as $.25 cents more a pound for beef that does not contain the so-called Pink Slime additive. Now, there is a major push by the grocery industry to answer questions about the additive.

Pink Slime is made from trimmings infused with Ammonium Hydroxide, and added to increase the volume and leanness of the beef. If you take it away, the American Meat Institute said 1.5 million more cows will have to be slaughtered ever year, which will increase prices.

The Pink Slime scare is also affecting the lives of many Americans in other ways. The maker of the additive, Beef Products Incorporated, has suspended their operations, threatening jobs at several of its U.S. plants. Now, officials are fighting back saying the product is safe.

“Something we have said literally hundreds of times, in print media, in broadcast media and radio is that this product is safe. There is no question about that. We've said that repeatedly, and will continue to say it,” Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey said.

Northey is one of many speaking out. Others groups are also defending additives, including Wegmans Supermarket. The store did sell some ground beef with additive, but not the Pink Slime.

Even so, Vice President of Wegmans Mary Ellen Burris defends the use of the additive.

“Not using it is wasteful in a world where red meat consumption is increasing, and available supply is declining,” Burris said in a Blog.

The USDA refuses to ban the additive. They said it’s been tested and used for decades with no health risks. Due to consumer pressure, many stores are taking meat with additives off their shelves. The USDA warns because of this, prices are expected to rise.