False claims on LFTB hurt consumers, employees

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OAKLAND, CA - Today’s announcement by Beef Products, Inc. (BPI) to temporarily suspend production of Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB) in three of its four U.S. plants has delivered a significant negative economic blow not only to workers in the beef industry, but to the millions of consumers who enjoy beef every day. 

BPI’s move today has resulted in more than 700 workers in Kansas, Texas and Iowa being temporarily laid off, but ultimately impacts more than 3,000 suppliers and others that rely on BPI’s business. Moreover, the ripple effect of this shutdown stands to have a huge impact on everything from farm to fork.  

Consumers are already seeing a big increase in the price they pay at the meat case for ground beef and ground beef products because fewer cattle are coming to market.  The increases will  continue as ground beef producers seek additional sources – many of which will need to come from imported sources – to help deliver the ultra-lean ground beef products (90 percent lean and above) that many consumers demand, particularly heading into the busy summer grilling season.   LFTB serves as a primary source of lean high protein which is added to most lean ground beef to produce lean ground beef. 

Despite overwhelming support from industry leading food scientists, USDA officials, consumer advocate organizations and esteemed academic institutions across the country – all of whom adamantly support the product as safe, wholesome and nutritious – Lean Finely Textured Beef has been vilified in the media over the past several weeks and given the moniker of “pink slime” in an effort to discredit its safety, quality and value to millions of consumers worldwide.

“At a time when so many Americans struggle to put a healthy, nutritious meal on their family’s dinner table, the unfounded mischaracterization of Lean Finely Textured Beef as ‘pink slime’ is unconscionable,” said Barry Carpenter, CEO of the National Meat Association. “I am sure the public is not aware of how widespread and potentially devastating the consequences of allowing public misperception to trump sound nutritional science are.”

As the primary source of high-quality, safe, pure 100% lean beef protein, LFTB is used in high-demand products such as 90% lean ground beef, which makes up a significant percentage of all ground beef sold in the U.S. today. To meet consumer demand, the depletion of the supply of lean ground beef must be filled somehow, which may require the slaughtering of thousands of additional cattle or importing beef from outside of the U.S.

National Meat Association is a non-profit trade association. Since 1946, NMA has represented meat packers and processors, equipment manufacturers and food suppliers who provide services to the meat industry. The association has members throughout the United States, as well as in Canada, Australia and Mexico.

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Jim Thomas    
Slidell, LA USA  |  March, 26, 2012 at 04:14 PM

Another example of Main Stream Media run amuck. Thank you for bieng a voice of reason, too bad most consumers will not see it and will believe what they hear.

Jackson, NE  |  March, 27, 2012 at 09:48 AM

THANK YOU!!! Great article and valuable information on how much backing this company has from national organizations in the beef and food industry. I hope that people who know the truth about the oustanding products BPI supplies, will make their voices heard and stand up for what is right. And more than that, I hope the people whose beliefs are being guided by the media, will take a moment to learn the real facts -- and then spread the word!

Virginia  |  March, 27, 2012 at 02:27 PM

You may claim the demand for beef had to be filled ‘somehow’ (disturbing), but it was never about seeing to the needs of consumers, it was about trying to obfuscate the fillers existence in order to to increase net profit margins. Yeah, it stinks that people are going to lose their jobs, however, consumers are willing to pay more for a product not containing a filler, thus receiving the more of the product they are truly paying for. In a few months when beef prices rise, they won’t come crawling back. Frame it as a frenzy of ignorance fueled by the media and tout the science behind FLTB all you want, at the end of the day people do not want it in the products they are consuming.

OMAHA, NE  |  March, 27, 2012 at 03:11 PM

It's not a filler, its beef. Get the facts. Beef is BEEF.

Virginia  |  March, 27, 2012 at 05:29 PM

@IrritatedByIgnorance Let me be a little more clear. I’m not arguing that it’s not of beef origin. When I say it’s filler what I really mean is that it’s mechanically recovered meat and an industrial byproduct created from low quality beef trimmings treated with ammonia gas then sourced into random products of various cuts. It’s *not* from the same cuts of meat that it’s being added too, thus_it_is_filler. So please, get your facts straight. Definition filler, something that is used to fill gaps. “To meet consumer demand, the depletion of the supply of lean ground beef must be filled somehow...” and instead of slaughtering additional cattle, or allowing market prices to control consumption they added a filler to “meet consumer demand.” @kristin - aka MOM See above.

kristin - aka MOM    
Sioux City, IA  |  March, 27, 2012 at 10:35 PM


SD  |  April, 01, 2012 at 08:25 PM

No matter how often mis-characterization of this product is made, a lie doe not make the product something other than pure beef, containing the same vital nutritientsin other pure beef. No additives. NO fillers. Recovering good muscle tissue (MEAT) from along the bone and in fatty areas is good use of the meat. Removing excessive fat is good for the health of consumers. It is more sustainable to use all the available muscle meat in a carcass instead of throwing some of it away! This meat has no less value than any other part of the hamburger trim, with the exception of the fat, much of which is discarded from the saleable meat products to make them more healthful. Consider, please, the fact that some are trying to harm the businesses involved, the consumer (by raising meat costs to her) and the environment by needing more cattle to serve needs of consumers for the purpose of serving their own political agenda of anti-meat promotion and to raise prices for their 'organic/natural/grassfed beef!

SD  |  April, 01, 2012 at 08:30 PM

Further, as a cook for many cowboys for the past 55 years, I have personally cut up many pieces of meat where I spent many hours sorting out tiny bits of beef from the fat, especially on short ribs and some roasts from home-grown beef we had processed. Small processors do not have time to trim really closely, and certainly not to cook the ribs and sort out those most flavorful bits of meat from the fat, cool the meat in the broth and pull the chilled fat off the top to make a lean, very flavorful beef product to either grind, pull for sandwiches, or use in stews. I will continue to eat this hamburger meat when we go out and will not be patronizing businesses boycotting this process for recovering some of the most flavorful meat on the carcasses.

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