Questions and Answers About Lean Finely Textured Beef

Some misleading media reports have raised concerns about LFTB without the benefit of facts from those that produce or use it. These questions and answers aim to provide those facts.

What is Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB)?

Lean Finely Textured Beef, or LFTB, is 100% beef.

It is simply the lean beef trimmed from sirloins, ribeyes and other whole muscle cuts of beef. No organs, tendons, bones or fillers are used.

It is very lean meat, typically 93-97% lean. Mixing with other whole muscle cuts of beef creates the wide variety of ground beef lean points you can find on grocery store shelves, from 73/27 to 93/7.

This makes ground beef more affordable and available. In numerous taste panels, consumers consistently choose hamburgers made with LFTB for their taste and tenderness.

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How is Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB) Made?

Fresh trimmings from sirloins, ribeyes and other whole muscle cuts of beef are sent through a patented process that separates the lean beef from the fat to make leaner beef trimmings.

LFTB is 100% USDA inspected beef from only the best beef producers in the world. When a butcher divides the beef into cuts, 53% go to steaks and roasts and 47% are cuts for ground beef known as beef trimmings. These trimmings are just a knife cut away from being a steak.

To make leaner ground beef from these fresh trimmings, some trimmings go through a specially designed centrifuge; the same method used to separate milk from cream. It spins at high speeds to  separate heavier materials, like lean beef (or milk) from lighter materials, like fat (or cream). Once the fat is removed, the beef from these trimmings is 95% lean.

 

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Is Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB) Safe?

Yes! LFTB is a safe beef product that has an unsurpassed food safety record. It undergoes rigorous and comprehensive testing, is processed using validated food safety systems and meets the toughest quality control standards in the industry. 

 

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Is Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB) regulated and inspected?

Yes! LFTB is 100% beef and all beef is strictly regulated and inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) carry out USDA’s responsibilities under the Federal Meat Inspection Act. These laws protect consumers by ensuring that meat is wholesome, unadulterated, and correctly labeled and packaged. Inspectors are present in plants where these products are made to ensure they are produced in accordance with established regulations in a safe and wholesome manner.

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Is there ammonium in Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB)?

Yes. In fact, there is no such thing as “ammonium-free” beef. Ammonium is an essential nutrient already present in foods, including meat.

In our process, the natural amount of pure ammonium in beef is increased by a minute amount because it is a powerful defense against potential germs. Although not required to make LFTB, we added this innovative step because it is important to us to provide the safest beef possible to our customers.

Having been thoroughly reviewed and approved by the USDA and FDA, ammonium has proven to be one of the most effective advances in food safety today.

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When Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB) is blended into ground beef, will it be labeled?

Ground beef is a single ingredient product (beef) and LFTB is 100% beef; therefore, it is not required to be listed separately on any label. We believe USDA’s decision to allow companies to voluntarily include information on their packaging regarding LFTB content is an important step in restoring consumer confidence in their ground beef.

BPI has strongly and publicly supported the USDA’s decision to allow companies to voluntarily include information on their packaging regarding LFTB content. Beef Products was the first company to publicly support the USDA’s decision; we were also the first to encourage our customers to exercise this option. We feel by exercising this option, companies can continue to provide a lean, safe, and nutritious lean beef product to an informed customer base. We want all consumers to have confidence in their ground beef choices.

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What do the experts say about Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB)?

Experts such as Dr. Gary Acuff, Director of Food Safety and Professor of Microbiology  at Texas A&M University and Dr. James Dickson, Professor of Animal Science and a Microbiologist with Iowa State University, among many others, have consistently reaffirmed that LFTB is 100% wholesome, safe, and nutritious lean beef . Many meat scientists, academics, food and safety experts, governmental officials, and consumer advocacy organizations have spoken on behalf of the food safety record and quality of LFTB. These experts include Dr. Richard Ray Raymond, former Under Secretary for The Food and Safety Inspection Service; Dr. Randy Phebus, a Meat Scientist and food and safety expert with The Food Science Institute at Kansas State University; Dr. Thomas Powell, Executive Director of the American Meat Association; and Sally Greenberg, Executive Director of the National Consumers League, just to name a few.

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Is it really necessary to try to get every small bit of beef from a carcass?

Necessary? No. Is it the right thing to do? Absolutely!

LFTB production makes it possible to have more of the leaner ground beef blends consumers desire at affordable prices. According to industry calculations, if LFTB were not produced, 850,000,000 lbs. of lean beef a year would need to be generated from some other source to meet consumer demand. It would be like throwing away 5,700 cattle a day. In a world where population is increasing*, red meat consumption is rising, and available supply is declining, it would seem that getting all the lean meat from every animal is the absolute necessary and responsible thing to do. 

*According to the World Health Organization the world population is increasing by 220,000 people every day.

For more information, visit www.beefproducts.com

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Why is BPI involved in a lawsuit with ABC?

BPI Technology, Inc., Beef Products, Inc., and Freezing Machines, Inc. (collectively, “BPI”) filed a suit against the American Broadcast Companies, Inc. (ABC), ABC News, Inc., three ABC News reporters, and others for knowingly and intentionally publishing false and disparaging statements regarding BPI and its product, lean finely textured beef (LFTB). BPI alleges that ABC and others launched a concerted disinformation campaign against the companies, which had a significant adverse affect on BPI’s reputation, as well as a significant negative financial impact on the companies.

As a result of the disinformation campaign, BPI sales declined from approximately five million pounds of LFTB per week to less than two million pounds per week, three BPI facilities closed and more than 700 employees lost their jobs.

You can read the complaint and more about the lawsuit here.

 

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