Nebraska Farm Bureau gives a high five to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for their decision to continue the purchase of lean, finely textured beef (LFTB) for the 2012-2013 school year as part of USDA’s National School Lunch Program. HHS is responsible for purchasing food for state school lunch programs and reiterated the safety and nutritional value of by opting to the product.
Nebraska is one of only three states opting to continue the purchase of LFTB, Iowa and South Dakota are the other states. Lean, finely textured beef is 100 percent beef recovered by a mechanical process that efficiently and effectively separates lean meat from fat. It represents about 30 percent of the animal when it is trimmed. Beef containing the lean, finely textured product is about three percent cheaper than beef that doesn’t contain the product.
Nebraska Farm Bureau sent a letter earlier this month to HHS Chief Executive Office Kerry Winterer to thank the agency for its decision to purchase the product.
“Your common sense response to the massive amount of negative and blatantly false information being circulated about LFTB is deeply appreciated by all within Nebraska’s agricultural community,” Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson wrote.
The product became a point of controversy when dubbed “Pink Slime” in a media report which resulted in a wave of misinformation in national and social media circles about LFTB. Most people don’t realize that we have been using this product since 1974.
Because of that misinformation, consumer confidence was lost, LFTB was unable to recover from the negative coverage and it prompted Beef Products Inc., the main company producing the beef product, to close three plants in Waterloo, Iowa; Amarillo, Texas; and Garden City, Kan. More than 700 people lost jobs as a result.
While there are many opinions about lean, finely textured beef – positive, negative or indifferent – the reality is it is just beef.