The controversies associated with lean finely textured beef (LFTB) continues as one manufacturer of LFTB has declared bankruptcy, beef prices continue to fall, and some are calling for mandatory labeling. Here’s a snapshot of recent activities surrounding LFTB:
· Congress:Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME) has introduced the “Requiring Easy and Accurate Labeling of Beef Act (REAL Beef Act), which would require any beef containing “finely textured ground beef” to have a label at the final point of sale. Pingree commented, “Consumers have made it pretty clear they don't want this stuff in their food. If a product contains connective tissue and beef scraps and has been treated with ammonia, you ought to be able to know that when you pick it up in the grocery store. This is about choice and transparency. Parents and consumers want to choose whether or not they serve pink slime but they can't do that unless they know whether or not it's in the product they are buying.” Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Congressman Sam Farr (D-CA) have written Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack urging USDA to require products with LFTB to be labeled.
· USDA:The Department of Agriculture has indicated it does not expect delays for approval of labels for companies that plan to voluntarily label beef products containing LFTB. USDA said package labels could be approved to carry wording such as: contains lean finely textured beef, contains finely textured beef, or contains lean beef derived from beef trimmings.
· States:Iowa Governor Terry Branstad has written fellow governors calling on them to share the facts regarding LFTB with their public schools, restaurants and supermarkets, and “encourage them to continue using this product and not succumb to the negative, unwarranted hype that is attempting to destroy this product.”