More schools bring controversial beef product back to menu

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More than a year after lean finely textured beef, also known as “pink slime,” initially made headlines yielding consumer outrage, the product has been added to 2013 school lunch menus in four more states.

Ground Beef National media attention put the beef product in a negative spotlight last March, prompting the USDA to give schools the choice to order LFTB or beef without the filler for the 2012-2013 school year. While most schools participating in the National School Lunch Program chose beef without LFTB, three states continued to order the BPI product: Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota.

Politico reports four more states have purchased LFTB for the 2013-2014 school year. Counting orders completed before Sept. 3, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Texas joined the other three states to order about 2 million pounds of LFTB.

The LFTB product produced by Beef Products Inc. is a budget-friendly option for school districts facing financial worries. Margo Wootan, head of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest tells Politico the school food budgets are under more pressure after new school lunch nutrition standards were passed last year.

The “pink slime” debate led to the closure of three of BPI’s four plants, resulting in the loss of about 650 jobs. BPI saw business drop by 80 percent in just 28 days in early 2012.

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September, 11, 2013 at 10:22 AM

I think the first thing we need to do in the beef industry to start promoting our products especially the products that offer a cheaper source of ZIP (zinc, iron, protein) with a very low fat content is to stop labeling them with terms that are negative sounding. Case in point in the 2nd paragraph 1st sentance of this article this "beef industry" author refers to the LFTB as "filler". LFTB is not a filler, it is not a by-product, it is lean muscle tissue from cattle that is 100% safe to consume and is a lower cost meat product that provides high levels of vitamins, minerals, and protein at a cheaper cost to the consumer. As a beef producer I support all of the products that come from the animals that I raise and feel 100% safe feeding them to my family. If what we publish with in our industry sounds negative how in the world do we expect those who know nothing about beef production to have confidence in the safety and wholesomeness of the products we produce????

Wyo  |  September, 11, 2013 at 09:38 PM

Great about IF we just stop telling consumers to limit the amounts of our products they eat.........ala........checkoff funded misguided junk science "nutritional guidelines"?

larry hagedon    
Milton IA  |  September, 12, 2013 at 04:13 PM

This is an example of a brain dead media creating a story from nothing by inventing a wildly derogatory name for a perfectly good, wholesome product. If they make a beef baby food, surely they make it from finely textured beef. Were they using such a smear campaign against any ethnic minority, the activists would be up in arms about it. As Oprah showed us, beef is fair game for attack no matter how dishonest and irresponsible the charges.

Amarillo, TX  |  September, 16, 2013 at 04:03 PM

Why don't we as an industry and individuals educate ourselves and the public about the beef business? WE tell the facts before the media can make a mess of things and 650 people lose their jobs. How many of us heard the term "pink slime before the uproar? Beef is nutritional, savory and can be affordable to anyone.

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