Safeway Pulls 'Pink Slime', Whistleblower Vindicated Years After BPI Retaliation
Today, ABC Newsreports that Safeway – the nation's second largest supermarket chain with 1400 stores – will no longer sell ammoniated beef trimmings known as 'pink slime' due to "considerable consumer concern."
The announcement comes amidst non-stop news coverage of pink slime as school districts and retailers answer questions regarding its presence in their ground beef products. The slime, made by Beef Products, Inc. (BPI), is used as a filler ingredient for other ground beef.
Former BPI employee and GAP client Kit Foshee was interviewed by ABC News and The Daily earlier this month about his previously raised concerns regarding the ammonia process used to make pink slime, and what he says are BPI's misleading safety claims about it. The additional move by USDA to give schools a choice on whether they purchase the pink slime illustrates the need to better protect whistleblowers like Foshee who are fired or otherwise harassed for speaking up.
Foshee is thankful concerns over ammoniated beef are finally getting such wide-scale coverage. Too bad all of this validation in recent weeks didn't occur back when he first blew the whistle years ago, losing his job and livelihood in the process. As Foshee made clear at FIC's food whistleblower conference last year, becoming a whistleblower is an incredibly difficult path to take.
A great recap of his speech appeared in the Huffington Post this week. You can watch his full conference presentation about ammoniated beef and the impacts of BPI's retaliation against him in the video below (starting at 35:50):
Aside from Safeway, other supermarket chains who have asserted they don't sell pink slime include Whole Foods, Costco, Publix, and HEB. Several school districts, including New York City and Florida's Miami-Dade school system have announced they will be phasing out pink slime products from their lunch menu.
Thank you, Kit Foshee!
Sarah Damian is New Media Associate for the Government Accountability Project, the nation's leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization.