The company that makes "pink slime" is suspending operations at three of four plants where the low-cost beef filler is made amid a public outcry over concern about the ingredient.

A Beef Products Inc. rep today told the AP about the operations suspensions at plants in Texas, Kansas, and Iowa ahead of a public announcement about the plan. The company's plant at its Dakota Dunes, SD, headquarters will continue operations.

The ammonia-treated ingredient known by the industry as "lean, finely textured beef" has been used for years but recently became a target of activists seeking to have it banned from supermarkets and school lunches.

The US Department of Agriculture decided to allow school districts to stop using it, and some retail chains have pulled products containing it.