FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Chris Waldrop March 26, 2012 202-797-8551
Statement of Chris Waldrop, Consumer Federation of America’s
Director of Food Policy on Lean Finely Textured Beef
Today’s announcement by Beef Products Inc. that the company will suspend operations at three plants in the wake of the controversy over lean finely textured beef (LFTB) is unfortunate.
Eldon Roth and BPI are recognized as industry leaders in food safety. The company pioneered food safety interventions to significantly reduce the risk of the LFTB product they produced. Their use of ammonia, while considered “icky” by some consumers, was used to reduce the risk of pathogenic E. coli in their product. The levels used in the product did not pose a health risk to consumers. BPI was also one of the early promoters of “test and hold” and was one of the first companies to voluntarily test for six additional deadly strains of pathogenic E. coli. USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has now adopted test and hold for products the agency tests, and last year FSIS announced that it would consider the six additional strains of E. coli as adulterants in ground beef.
CFA is concerned that manufacturers of hamburger patties may replace LFTB with something that has not been processed to assure the same level of safety. We are also concerned about the potential chilling effect this recent controversy may have on companies who seek to apply innovative solutions and new technologies to enhance food safety.
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Consumer Federation of America is an association of nearly 300 nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy and education.