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Statement in Response USDA Announcement On Lean Finely Textured Beef

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Washington, DC, – “We respect the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s  decision to offer schools a choice about the beef available through the National School Lunch Program. 

At the same time, we remain committed to helping consumers understand why beef products that include lean finely textured beef (LFTB) are a safe, wholesome and responsible option.  We urge consumers to consider USDA’s comments today in announcing the new school lunch option:

The Department wrote in a press release, 'USDA continues to affirm the safety of Lean Finely Textured Beef product for all consumers and urges customers to consult science based information on the safety and quality of this product. Lean Finely Textured Beef is a meat product derived from a process which separates fatty pieces from beef trimmings to reduce the overall fat content.'

LFTB is nutritionally equivalent to lean ground beef.  It is important to recognize that, while some reports have called LFTB an additive or a filler, these terms are absolutely inaccurate.  LFTB is simply a beef product that starts with wholesome, inspected trimmings that result when large carcasses are cut into smaller portions.   These trimmings can look much like bacon, where fat and lean meat are intertwined.  The processed used to make LFTB removes the intertwined fat from the lean and the result is a 95 percent lean beef product. 

Other foods also are processed by machine, from milk to orange juice, but we still call them milk and orange juice.  In the same way, LFTB is beef and slang terms should not be used to characterize it.  Ground beef packages that contain LFTB are accurate in being called simply ‘ground beef.’”

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