The Montana Public education system should allow Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB) or “Pink Slime”, as the public knows it, back into school lunches. Last week, four more states officially returned the product to school lunch menus, bringing the total number of states to seven. Montana should join South Dakota, Texas, Illinois as well as several others and lower food expenditures by serving LFTB again. Just over one year ago, the news broke that LFTB was being utilized in food products by beef producers and consumers reacted, not only pulling it from public schools but from consumer’s diets as well. Pink Slime is the laboratory nickname for the trimmings that come from a beef carcass, which unfairly colored public perception of the product.
LTFB is a category of beef products that uses high technology food-processing equipment to separate lean meat from fat. By using this technology the producers are able to lower food prices and raise effectiveness of the beef industry. LFTB products prevent the waste of valuable, lean, nutritious, safe beef by using technology to do what hands cannot. As a result, if public schools in Montana allowed LFTB, costs can be decreased while also providing children with a safe, nutritious, healthy product.
The fact is that LFTB is not an additive, it’s not a substitute, it’s not synthetic—it’s beef. Beef that is one hundred percent genuine, the same eaten today, just with a different name. When steaks and roasts are cut from a carcass, there is leftover meat that doesn’t fit into steaks, roasts and other retail cuts. The point of LFTB was to use that meat, not waste it.
[pullquote align=”right”]“If this beef is not used in fresh ground beef products, approximately 1.5 million additional head of cattle would need to be harvested annually to make up the difference, which is not a good use of natural resources, or modern technology, in a world where red meat consumption is rising and available supply is declining.”-American Meat Institute[/pullquote]
The American Meat Institute says of LTFB, “If this beef is not used in fresh ground beef products, approximately 1.5 million additional head of cattle would need to be harvested annually to make up the difference, which is not a good use of natural resources, or modern technology, in a world where red meat consumption is rising and available supply is declining.”
LFTB was designed to save consumers money and produce a healthier product and less wasteful production process, by utilizing every part of the carcass. All types of lean finely textured beef are sustainable products because they recover meat that would otherwise be tossed out. LFTB ensures that the products remain as affordable as the producers can make it while helping to feed America and the world.