Is "Pink Slime" In Local Beef?

March 22, 2012 Updated Mar 22, 2012 at 4:51 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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March 22, 2012 Updated Mar 22, 2012 at 4:51 PM EDT

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) – Some people may be shying away from red meat because of a filler known as "Pink Slime."

"Pink Slime is trimmings that are put into ground beef and often treated with ammonium," Wegmans Spokesperson Theresa Jackson said.

Once only used in dog food and cooking oil, Pink Slime is now in 70 percent of meat sold across the country. including in Western New York. Walmart and Sam's club both admit to using this filler but said they have alternate options for their customers.

Some stores such as Tops Markets said they don't use "Pink Slime" in any of their meat.

Wegmans also denies using the substance.

Wegmans Spokesperson Theresa Jackson said they use what are called trimmings. Their organic beef is all-natural.

"It is something that Wegmans does not use. Our organic beef and Feel Good Beef contain no trimmings. Our regular beef contains trimmings, but it is not treated with Ammonia.

How is this product made?

The waste trimmings are collected and simmered at low heat to make it easier to separate the fat from muscle. It's then put into a centrifuge and spun to finish the separation. Next, the mixture is sprayed with ammonia to kill bacteria. Finally it is compressed into bricks and flash frozen to ship out.

When people were shown this so-called meat product, no one had a clue what it was. Some said thought it was strawberry ice cream.

Although the substance is not appealing, Jackson said there is no cause for alarm.

"What we know about "Pink Slime" is that it is a safe substance. It's scientifically tested and safe to be in the food supply," Jackson said.