AUGUSTA — Maine’s Education Department is saying no thanks to ground beef containing so-called “pink slime.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced last week that school districts can now choose whether or not the beef they get through the federal school lunch program contains the ammonia-treated filler.

The Maine Department of Education announced Thursday that the USDA beef it gets next year won’t contain the filler. But that doesn’t mean that all beef served at public schools will be free of it.

Education officials said schools get 10-15 percent of food from the USDA, and the rest from other food suppliers. If local schools want to be totally free of “pink slime,” they’ll have to talk to their food suppliers regarding the beef that isn’t purchased through the U.S. Education Department.