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.
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.