Beef Products Inc., whose lean finely textures beef (LFBT) product is at the epicenter of a media and social media storm, came out in favor of USDA’s decision to allow companies that use its product to label it for consumers.
BPI emailed the following statement to Meatingplace:
“While ground beef is a single ingredient product (beef) and lean finely textured beef therefore is not required to be listed separately on any label, we believe USDA's decision to allow companies to voluntarily include information on their label regarding LFTB content will be an important first step in restoring consumer confidence in their ground beef. Based upon the numerous taste panel studies conducted using BPI's lean beef and strong consumer preference for ground beef that contains our LFTB, we feel this development will allow more customers to provide options to consumers and pave the way for BPI's lean beef to reestablish its place in the market.”
Iowa Gov. Terry Brandstad continued his crusade this week to set the record straight on the product seeking support from fellow governors and calling for a Congressional hearing on media coverage of the LFTB controversy.
“We are writing you today to join us in rejecting the smear campaign against lean, finely textured beef and instead embrace the science, data and facts that support this as a healthy and safe product,” Brandstad wrote in a letter to other U.S. governors. He also sent letters to all the school superintendents in Iowa asking them to support the product.
On Monday, Brandstad suggested a Congressional inquiry into the genesis of the media and social media reports about the product to U.S. Reps. Steve King (R-Iowa) and Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa). No hearings have yet been scheduled.
Meanwhile, bloggers and media pundits continued to debate LFTB and a trending thread is that of meat industry transparency.
Nancy Huehnergarth, co-founder and executive director, New York State Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Alliance, wrote this in a blog on Huffington Post:
“If the beef industry wants to undo the damage it has inflicted upon itself, and restore trust and confidence in its products and practices, it must alter its business model that seems to flourish on an imbalance of information. To date, the beef industry, in collaboration with the USDA, have made all the decisions about what is acceptable in our beef supply, leaving consumers entirely in the dark. Since it's now clear that consumers don't agree, the industry can begin to restore its reputation with full disclosure of all ingredients, additives and processing agents, in understandable English, on product labels. Then, the media, concerned parents, Congress and savvy consumers can turn their focus to why our USDA regulations and laws seem to protect the beef industry's profits rather than champion the consumer's right to know what's in our meat.”