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Tuesday, 17th April 2012

Lean Finely Textured Beef: The “Pink Slime” Controversy

Source: Congressional Research Service, via Federation of American Scientists

From the summary:

Since early March 2012, the use of lean finely textured beef (LFTB) in the U.S. ground beef supply has come under a barrage of media criticism and consumer backlash. The depiction of LFTB in the media as “pink slime” raised the product’s “yuck” factor and implied that there were food safety issues with LFTB, mainly because ammonium gas is used as an antimicrobial intervention in the production of LFTB. Also, the fact that ground beef purchased for the school lunch program could contain LFTB triggered consumer calls for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to immediately end the practice.

The meat industry saw media sensationalism as a campaign of misinformation to undermine a product used for more than ten years to supplement lean beef supplies used in ground beef. Ground beef is the most popularly consumed beef item among American consumers, and consumers have increasingly demanded lean ground beef. USDA approved the process that Beef Products, Inc. (BPI), the primary producer of LFTB, uses to produce LFTB, and USDA continues to affirm that LFTB is a safe, nutritious beef product.

Although LFTB received negative press in previous years, the uproar starting in March 2012 has had greater impacts.

+ Direct link to full report (PDF; 248 KB)


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An Info Pro, librarian, entrepreneur, author, worldwide connector and book-lover, Heather Negley is recognized for her new ways of thinking about librarianship, research, social media and creativity. Heather is the founder of HelpALibrarian.com and Zing Information Services. She has most recently been an Information Research Specialist with the Congressional Research Service at the Library of Congress where she provided business research for members of Congress and their staffs. Heather also worked as a research reporter for U.S. News and World Report and as a technical advertising producer on the washingtonpost.com. She received her MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College in Boston, MA.

Heather can be reached at heather.negley@freepint.com

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