NCBA Statement on USDA Announcement on Lean Finely Textured Beef
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today, March 15, 2012, that school districts will have choice whether to include lean finely textured beef in purchases of ground beef for the National School Lunch Program. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President J.D. Alexander issued the following statement in response to the USDA announcement.
“Cattlemen and women nationwide firmly agree with USDA’s commitment to ensuring the health and safety of the food served to more than 31 million schoolchildren every day. The fact remains that lean finely textured beef is a 100 percent beef product produced from beef trimmings that yields an additional 10-12 pounds of lean, nutritious beef from every beef animal. The production of lean finely textured beef prevents lean, nutritious beef from being wasted. This lean beef product, like all beef, is naturally rich in nutrients like zinc, iron, protein and B vitamins. It can be added to other cuts of beef to produce ground beef. Lean finely textured beef offers affordable nutrition for kids, which is critical given shrinking school budgets, rising food costs and the fact that for many kids, school lunch is the best chance at getting a well-balanced meal during the day. Hands down, lean finely textured beef is a safe, nutritious product that school districts can choose to include in their school lunch plans.
“When I go to work every morning, my top priority is to raise healthy cattle because healthy cattle are the foundation of a safe, wholesome and nutritious beef supply. Like all beef producers, I take pride knowing the safe, wholesome and nutritious beef from my operation in Nebraska is served on dinner tables, in school cafeterias and in restaurants nationwide and around the globe. It is truly unfortunate and a severe disservice to our nation’s beef producers and all consumers that media outlets have resorted to misleading the American public and sensationalizing this safe, lean beef product. As school districts and parents work to make decisions about the food they serve their children, they should feel confident, regardless of the type of beef they choose, that they are serving the safest, most wholesome beef product in the world.”