Ground beef processor AFA Foods filed for bankruptcy protection today, citing the media storm over so-called "pink slime."
AFA is one of the largest ground beef processors in the United States and produces more than 500 million pounds of ground beef products annually. The company sells its products, including frozen hamburgers, ready ground beef and beef skillet mix, under the brand names "Moran's" and "Miller Quality Meats."
Processing plants regularly treated boneless lean beef trimmings with ammonia hydroxide to kill pathogens, resulting in the product. The term "pink slime" was first used by a former USDA microbiologist. Gerald Zirnstein coined the term in a 2002 email to co-workers after having toured a Beef Products, Inc. plant. Several major supermarkets, including SUPERVALU, the parent company of Albertsons, suspended sales of any ground beef containing the product. Fast-food retailers and school districts nationwide joined in the ban.