Will Pink Slime Impact Meat Prices?

March 29, 2012 Updated Mar 29, 2012 at 6:50 PM EDT

By Kyla Igoe

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March 29, 2012 Updated Mar 29, 2012 at 6:50 PM EDT

Buffalo, NY (WKBW) - One of its official names is Lean Finely Textured Beef, but its commonly referred to as 'Pink Slime' and consumers are demanding it be completely eliminated from meat products. Pink slime has been used in ground beef for decades in this country and is approved by the USDA. It's a food additive consisting of animal by-products, ground up, then treated with Ammonia to prevent bacteria, and then mixed in with regular lean beef. Recent media reports now have consumers demanding ground beef without any extra filler and that could now lead to higher prices.

Here in Western New York, Wegmans has decided to stop selling ground beef with the by-product.

"We've made a decision to stop selling ground beef that contains Lean Finely Textured Beef. Having grown up in the meat business, we have always been proud of our ground beef and eat it ourselves. Because of the sensationalism of this issue it has become a concern for our customers. Every decision we make is with our customers in mind. Our commitment remains the same. We will continue to source the best quality ground beef, now without lean finely textured beef," wrote CEO Danny Wegman in a statement.

Tops says it has never carried ground beef with this filler.

"Tops Markets does not add Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB) to the fresh ground beef sold in-store and we have been assured by our suppliers that they do not use lean finely textured beef in the fresh ground beef they supply to tops," wrote a spokesperson for the company.

Budwey's Supermarket says it's always ground their meat fresh on site, using what they call whole muscle meat for all it's beef products. Frank Budwey worries even though his customers have never consumed this by-product meat prices will start to soar.

"What that is doing right now is bringing up our meat prices especially for ground beef. We're looking at a 25 to 30 percent jump, which will impact the public," said Budwey. "We've never used pink slime and we're proud of that, but it's going to change all the prices now."