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Local grocers on ‘pink slime’ meat

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The slaughterhouse leftovers and trimmings recently tagged as “pink slime” that are present in many meats has brought nationwide attention to the content in store-bought meats, and The Daily published a graphic on Monday showing which large retailers do and don’t stock “pink slime.”

The Sacramento Press looked at some local grocery stores and asked if they carry “pink slime,” and other local options, such as Safeway and Target, were included in the larger report.

Locally, representatives of both Corti Brothers and the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op said they do not sell “pink slime.”

“Corti Brothers grinds its own ground beef,” said Corti Brothers Owner Darrell Corti. “Corti Brothers has nothing to do with pink slime.”

Corti said that the meat stocked in his grocery store, located at 5810 Folsom Blvd., is ground in a refrigerated unit by small machines.

“There is no such thing as pink slime this way,” he said. “That’s done with machines that are very high-tension.”

He said the heat generated by machines at large processing plants creates what the industry calls “lean finely textured beef,” which is often treated with an ammonia formula to kill potential contaminants such as E. coli.

“Friction causes heat. That’s what produces pink slime,” he said. “We don’t have that.”

Paul Cultrera, general manager of the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op, said Monday that most of the store’s red meat is organic and sustainably produced.

“There’s no pink slime here,” he said. “Frankly, until this issue came up, I was not even aware of what pink slime was.”

The co-op, located at 1900 Alhambra Blvd., began selling red meats about seven or eight years ago, he said, and the demand has steadily risen.

Cultrera said he is not sure whether the rise in meat sales is because customers are specifically seeking locally sourced sustainable and organic meats or if it is a natural effect of the store’s recent entry into the meat market.

“It’s easy to grow from (not having it before), but we have seen consistent growth in the department, with people seeking what we have,” he said. “It tends to be more expensive, but people are obviously seeing the value in it.”

According to The Daily, Safeway, Target, Walmart and Albertsons all carry “pink slime” in both store-ground and prepackaged meats. Costco and Whole Foods are two of the large chains that do not carry “pink slime,” and others, such as Winco, carry “pink slime” in prepackaged products, but not in store-ground meats.

Calls for comment to the corporate offices of the locally owned Grocery Outlet and recently opened Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market on Monday were not returned by press time.

Brandon Darnell is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press. Follow him on Twitter @Brandon_Darnell.

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