For much of March and April, The Lunch Tray was dominated by the issue of “lean finely textured beef,” i.e., a beef filler made from heated and ammoniated slaughterhouse scraps and popularly referred to as “pink slime.”
As you know, on March 6th I launched a Change.org petition here on the blog which asked USDA to cease the inclusion of this product in beef procured by the agency for use in the National School Lunch program. The petition went on to garner over a quarter of a million signatures in a matter of days. On the ninth day of the petition USDA changed its policy, for the first time giving school districts the choice of purchasing either pre-formed beef patties containing LFTB or bulk beef without the filler.
Though this result was a clear victory for those supporting the petition, I questioned at the time whether the latter choice would be an affordable option for schools, given the extra labor needed to use the bulk beef. Today, however, the Associated Press reports that the vast majority of districts in America are taking advantage of the non-LFTB option:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the vast majority of states participating in its National School Lunch Program have opted to order ground beef that doesn’t contain the product known as lean finely textured beef.
Only three states – Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota – chose to order beef that may contain the filler. . . .
. . . . as of May 18, the agency says states ordered more than 20 million pounds of ground beef products that don’t contain lean finely textured beef. Orders for beef that may contain the filler came to about 1 million pounds.
For those of you who signed on to the petition, I wanted to share this news with you. It’s yet more indication that your voices on this issue were clearly heard.
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