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Once called pink slime, Cargill will label it 'finely textured beef'

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Cargill says it will let consumers know when the ground beef they're buying contains the ingredient that critics have dubbed pink slime.

Cargill plans to begin using a label that reads "Contains Finely Textured Beef" before next summer's grilling season, the Associated Press reports. The story explains that the ground beef is made with a technology that allows the use of meat scraps and trimmings that once would have been sent to rendering plants. The AP notes that the beef meets federal safety standards and no label is required.

But in making its announcement, Cargill says its research found overwhelmingly that consumers think meat containing the product should be labeled.

According to a Reuters report, publicity about the processing method and the negative public reaction that followed led to an 80 percent drop in the demand for the product, which Cargill sells to supermarkets and restaurants. Sales have rebounded somewhat since then, the report says.

The Pioneer Press reports Cargill feels it was unfairly slimed last year. The paper quotes Ryan Cox, a University of Minnesota assistant professor of meat science, who said of finely textured beef: "It is for all intents and purposes ground beef. It has just been separated in a different manner."

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