Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Just The Facts

The Facts About Lean Finely Textured Beef
by The American Meat Institute

The above link to a five minute video is an excellent, credible source for the "debate" on lean finely textured beef, odiously nicknamed 'Pink Slime' by news media. It is from the American Meat Institute. Everyone should take the time to review it - only five minutes of one's life to get informed.

This week nearly a thousand workers in the BPI plants lost their jobs because of media lies and misinformation. Businesses that support BPI and their workers, (a leader in food safety interventions for meat products), are suffering along with them. And Americans will pay the price for this. Beef prices will climb steeply, and the product replacing this will be less safe.

In major news stories this week in the LA Times and Chicago Tribune, this product was characterized as "filler" made from "scraps ordinarily processed into pet food". Both of these are completely untrue. It is not a filler, it's just ground beef, made from the trimmings of mechanically cut steaks and roasts. Meat that's closer to the fat and thus more difficult to get at. It would take a surgeon's skills to do so, in fact. But years ago BPI figured out how to utilize this good meat by heating it slightly and putting it in a centrifuge. This spins off (literally) the fat and leaves pure lean beef trimmings. It's the same beef trimmings used in ALL ground beef. Not destined for your pet's dish, but your barbecue.

USDA and industry biologists and food safety experts have said this meat is safe for consumption and just as nutritious as any ground meat product. Any. BPI, as a leader in food safety interventions has added a step in the processing of lean beef trim - a puff of ammonium hydroxide gas, that dissipates, leaving only ground beef, virtually free of pathogens like E-coli 0157H7 and salmonella that are present in ANY ground meat product.

Chef Jamie Oliver ran a much discussed segment about school lunches, completely mischaracterizing the processing of this meat by dumping an industrial cleaning agent over a tub of ground meat and saying that is what happens to school lunch ground beef in processing. NOTHING could be further from the truth. That he is cited in some articles as having to do with any food safety debate is laughable. He is just a chef entertainer, looking for viewers with sensationalistic antics that are both irresponsible and complete misrepresentations. Using the incendiary moniker "pink slime" is equally disturbing, presenting an impression that the product is substandard or unsafe. It is neither.

Americans do not understand how their food is processed and what food safety interventions and innovations have been put in place to protect them. If they did, this lean beef trim brouhaha would have never been a story or blown up in the media to begin with. When the average shopper enters their local grocery chain and sees a neatly wrapped pound of ground beef, or chicken breasts, sausages, or any meat protein, they never think about what it took to get that into their hands in that package. If they did, they wouldn't eat most of the things in the grocery store. That food processing is "icky" is true. However, it's necessary. We the growing population must be fed, and there are companies out there such as Beef Products, Inc. that really care about the safety of what they bring to market. In over 300 BILLION servings made of their product, NEVER ONCE has there been an issue with food borne illness. Never. Pretty impressive. That's the kind of meat I want to serve my family.

Get educated. Watch the video attached to this post - an EXCELLENT AND ACCURATE depiction of what lean finely textured meat really is. And don't listen or read all the sensationalistic articles. Get the facts first. Then ask for LFTB at your grocer. It's the safe stuff.

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