"Pink slime" is giving ground beef a bad name.
That's why local stores and schools are looking to either eliminate or scale back use of the controversial ground beef additive.
Spokespersons for local grocery stores said they either do not carry the product or will phase out ground beef containing the controversial additive made from leftover fatty meat.
In recent weeks, pink slime has made headlines after social media exploded with worry.
Clovis Municipal Schools Child Nutrition Director Paul Klien said he will reject any beef product that carries pink slime.
"We don't have any product right now in our warehouse that have that," he said.
Pink slime, also known as lean, finely textured beef, is made from processed leftover fatty bits of meat, which is spun and heated to remove the excess fat then treated with ammonium hydroxide gas to kill bacteria such as E. Coli and salmonella. The resulting mixture is compressed into blocks to be added to beef products such as ground beef.
Stansell's manager and co-owner Randy Stansell said his store does not stock ground beef with the additive because it is ground in-house.
Albertsons spokeswoman Christine Wilcox said the company is working with its suppliers to stock its stores with additive-free ground beef by April 23, but it will not pull any ground meat it already has on its shelves.
"Right now, according to the USDA and FDA there are no known health issues associated with the product," she said.
She said once the supply cycle is set, the additive-free ground beef will be marked.
Lowe's store manager David Figueroa said he did not know if the ground beef the store stocked contained the additive. Corporate officials could not be reached.
The additive garnered negative press about three weeks ago after reports the U.S. Department of Agriculture purchased 7 million pounds of ground beef with the additive in it for the National School Lunch Program.
"It's categorized as a beef byproduct, to me it wouldn't be edible," said Klien who became aware of the additive after the controversy. "It looks like it says."
Klein said about 85 percent of the beef Clovis schools buys are hamburger patties from Tyson Foods. Klein said the company has said its beef does not contain the additive.
The rest of the beef the schools' stock is from the USDA. The beef is used in meals such as spaghetti and tacos. Klein said he does not know if the beef from the agriculture department contained the additive since it was not listed in the analysis of the product.
However, Klein said the USDA has given schools the option to reject ground beef.
"I can't see any school district accepting it," he said. "We're going to reject it."
Mike Martin, a spokesman for Cargill Meat Solutions, which has a plant near Friona, said concerns from the additive are based on misinformation.
"It's a safe, quality and affordable product ... and Americans have been eating it without concerns for 20 years," he said.
Martin said the company will scale back production of the additive as supermarkets and groceries are demanding ground beef without the additive. He said ground beef product that contains the additive is a small percentage of the plant's overall production.
According to the company's website, the Friona plant employs nearly 2,000 people and processes 4,500 cattle a day.
The maker of "pink slime" suspended operations Monday at all but one plant where the beef ingredient is made, acknowledging recent public uproar over the product has cost the company business, according to an Associated Press report. Beef Products Inc. will suspend operations at plants in Amarillo, Garden City, Kan., and Waterloo, Iowa.
The company's plant at its Dakota Dunes, S.D., headquarters will continue operations.