Today’s LFTB Link Round-Up

Before signing off, I wanted to share a few links related to yesterday’s remarkably high-wattage press conference, arranged by BPI yesterday to defend its lean, finely textured beef, also known as “pink slime:”

Helena Bottemiller of Food Safety News has a good recap and analysis, including a description of some heated exchanges between BPI’s panelists and Jim Avila of ABC News, who has reported extensively on this issue.

Michele Simon, long an observer of the food industry and its response to public scrutiny, has incisive commentary about the event.

Here’s a photo spread of what this media outlet called  the “pink slime plant tour.”

Marion Nestle describes what it’s been like to be on the receiving end of BPI’s intense lobbying, and also questions financial ties between some of the entities involved.  As Nestle notes, “This is breathtakingly high-level—and perhaps unprecedented—support for the public relations troubles of a private food company.”

There were even t-shirts handed out at the event, bearing what I’m sure the beef industry hopes will be a catchy slogan:

photo source: Food Safety News

Maybe they should have just gone with Jon Stewart’s proposed name for the substance?”


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  1. Vince says

    I saw your appearance on Anderson and I really like how this is putting the spotlight on the food industry. What this really is about is making sure food labels are complete in disclosing everything. I would love if, now that you have so much media exposure, you could next push that genetically modified food should be labeled as such.

    I think if genetically modified food is on the shelves, consumers should at least know whether it is or not so they can make the decision on whether to buy it or not.

    • Karen says

      It is labeled!!! Beef!!! This product is beef – how else do you label it? for the facts. Dude, it’s beef.

      • says

        Karen, it technically originates from a cow, yes. But unless I would actually use THOSE EXACT PIECES of the cow to cook in my own kitchen for my own children — which I wouldn’t, and couldn’t, because these scraps are not intended nor appropriate for human consumption — then I shouldn’t be essentially duped into buying them, processed and adulterated to make them “safer.” A cow’s ear is ALSO beef. So are its genitals, by your definition. And some people may want to eat those items, and more power to them; but if I don’t, then I shouldn’t have to. In answer to your question: You label it as “containing Lean Finely Textured Beef.” Because that’s what BPI calls it, that’s what it is, and that’s FINE. Just call it by its proper name.

        • says

          Mountain oysters… Mmmmmm…

          However, I wouldn’t like it if someone ground them up into my hamburger. Even though, technically, they are “beef” (meat that originates from beef cattle.)


          • Janet says

            They don’t use the parts that would be in mountain oysters. They use scraps of meat that are trimmed of roasts and steaks, either because excess fat is being trimmed off or someone’s knife cut too close and cut some of the actual meat off. There are no ears, tails, genitals, bones, grissle or any other unappetizing parts in it. Any bones and grissle are removed in the process.

        • Ginger says

          Just FYI most organ meats including genitals have a ready market in the US or overseas which brings a pricer higher than LFTB so those items are unlikely to be included therein. For instance bull testicles = calf fries. They are sliced, battered, fried and served with cocktail sauce much like fried shrimp. They sell for ~$4/lb in my area and are considered a delicacy. Many other parts we would consider gross have well established markets in the US and a variety of countries outside the US. Just so you know the rest of that story.

          • says

            Sigh. I wasn’t suggesting that there are ACTUALLY mountain oysters or any such thing in LFTB. If you re-read my comment, I merely pointed out that many items, including mountain oysters, may be edible and even desirable to some people — but that if I do not wish to eat those, I don’t have to, because I can avoid them in the stores. The trimmings used in LFTB may be edible, but I should be allowed to avoid them if I wish.

        • Becky says

          As a former employee of BPI and Tyson Foods, I know the ingredients used are the same as those used in ground beef. The process they use only separates the lean from the fat, which is what most people do not want in their diets. In all the time I worked there, I assure you I never saw ANY genitals, ears, etc. used in the process, only trimmings from beef processing plants that were not lean enough for ground beef production. They simply found a way to extract ALL the lean.
          Ever eat a hot dog or bologna? That IS where the hearts, tongues, etc. are used (OFAL is the term for these). I would eat LFTB before EVER putting either of those in my mouth.
          I left BPI on less than good terms so I really have nothing to gain, nor do I have an agenda. But, I do find it troubling that people can become so upset and cause such commotion before knowing all the facts.
          If you have any questions, feel free to ask and I will answer them as best I can.

          • says

            Actually, the term is “offal.” I am a big fan, having been a nose-to-tail eater from a very young age.

            In hot dogs and bologna, the scraps are COOKED – plus, all kinds of fillers (grain, etc.) are added, which is why they have a nutritional label and ingredients list. I have no problem with that.

            I have a problem with a multi-million dollar operation whose entire function is to cut costs by cutting corners – without disclosing what they’re doing. Why isn’t LFBT available on its own in stores at half the cost of regular ground beef ?

          • Becky says

            You’re correct; I did forget an “f” in offal. However, I guess I can’t imagine what corners anyone would think are being cut.
            The beef trimmings are delivered to the plant, the fat and the lean are separated, the lean meat is sold to the food industry and the fat is sold to, I guess, the animal food industry.
            I worked in Quality Control, not sales, but if I had to guess as to why it is not sold straight to the consumer market for consumption would be the quantity produced. The trimmings used are those the beef manufacturers have no use for, but still have lean meat attached. For example, when the “trimmers” at the beef plants trim fat from the loin, ribs, or whereever, they take some of the meat, but not much. This is what is sent to BPI. After separating, the fat far outweighs the lean because of the makeup of the raw material.
            As far as labeling goes, truly it is only beef, again, from the primal cuts (loin, rib, chuck, round). There are NO fillers in LFTB and it is cooked just as hamburger, when the consumer purchases it. I really can’t imagine how it could be labeled other than lean beef.
            I think it would be beneficial for everyone to know the process and in BPI’s best interest to educate the public; perhaps offer tours to anyone who might be interested instead of only political figures.
            The facilities and process are impressive and very clean. They adhere to very strict standards that are above those of the industry.
            As with any misunderstanding, the facts are important. It seems there are many misinformed people, which is very, very sad. :(

  2. Janet says

    Cow ears nor genitals nor any other part of a cow that I would not normally eat is not in lean finely textured beef! Let me ask you this. If you have a ham, do you ever boil the bone and make ham and bean soup? I don’t but many people do. It’s just salvaging that last bit of that ham. Do you call that scraps? I guess it is. Most people try not to waste food. But some can afford to. All BPI is doing is using that part of the cow that would be too time consuming/not cost effective for the processing companies to take care of. They “cut away” the fat and grind the leftover meat into a low fat product which is then mixed with fattier ground beef to make a leaner version. Yes, they do spritz it with ammonia, in the form of ammonium hydroxide, which is naturally found in beef, other proteins, and virtually all foods. It is widely used in the processing of numerous foods, such as baked goods, cheeses, gelatins, chocolate, caramels, and puddings. The ammonium hydroxide makes the meat safer by eliminating the possibility of e-coli and salmonella being present in the meat. This meat cannot be used by itself because there is not enough fat it in to hold it together so it is mixed with fattier ground meat. Both are ground beef! Would you be so upset if this process was done within the same processing and mixed together?

    If you want a hamburger without the lean finely textured beef, that is your prerogative. But just keep in mind that the bun, cheese, bacon and condiments EACH have more ammonium hydroxide than does the patty of meat with LFTB.

    I live in an agricultural area and understand the process of processing meat. I plan to continue to eat LFTB and will even ASK for it. Its nutritional value is the same as ground beef without LFTB mixed in and it is leaner and safer.

    • says

      Dear Janet,

      Which is exactly why I won’t eat the bun, cheese or ketchup. For me it’s really very simple: when the “food product” requires a PhD in Chemistry, lab coat and a “scientific” study to tell me it’s healthy, safe and nutritious – I run the other way.

      I can boil a ham bone in my kitchen- I can’t take the 100% beef scraps (aka LFTB) and cook them in my kitchen, same goes for HFCS, genetically modified seeds, antibiotic/growth hormone 100% beef – they all require a laboratory, chemistry degree and white lab coat – not an apron.

      Thanks again for your hard work and dedication Bettina. Thought your readers might enjoy Robyn O’Brien’s book called the “Unhealthy Truth”. Her insight in to the chemical cocktails that make up much of the American food supply (as noted in the above buns, cheese and ketchup example) are truly chilling.

      Best health always!

      • Janet says

        Ammonium hydroxide is a naturally occurring chemical in most foods. You should probably have that ham checked for it also, along with many of the other foods you eat–even if you grow it yourself. Your body also contains ammonium hydroxide.

        When I eat steak, I will cut away the fat and eat the pieces of meat that are in between. Same difference.

        I don’t have any respect for people who destroy businesses and other people’s live by passing on inaccurate information. I’d rather get my information from people who “wear white coats” and really know what they are talking about.

        • says

          Thanks for your reply. I had cancer 11 years ago (at age 38) and at that time had no idea about America’s highly processed, nutritionally void, fake food supply. I had taken the food and beverage infomericals hook-line-and-sinker. Now, I focus on the “quality” of our “real” food and not the “quantity.”

          Who knows, maybe America (and her children) will shed a few pounds when they eat an 1/8 of a pound of 100% ground beef (without the 100% beef LFTB filler) and a side of veggies instead of a 1/4 pounder with cheese.

          How is the following question passing along inaccurate information? Can I cook LFTB at home in my kitchen today and serve it to my family for dinner tonight?

          • says

            BTW…making beef stew with 100% beef that is free of antibiotics, steroids or hormones, organic carrots and four types of beans – will also bake some frozen bread (that’s GMO free) – all for under $15 bucks. Need to head out to the accountants in the meantime to pick up the taxes – don”t mind paying my fair share as long as my $$$ isn’t going to some factory farming subsidy that is actually making America (and her children) fat, sick and malnourished.

            p.s. Just read the bread label and there’s no ammonium hydroxide in it. I can actually pronounce all the ingredients.

            Best health always!

          • says

            SuperMom101 – if you mean “purchase LFTB as a standalone product, then take it home and cook it”, the answer is NO. You can’t. Because, it is not legal to sell LFTB directly to consumers (except, of course, as an additive to ground beef or some other processed deli meats.)

            I wonder why that is?


          • says

            Ed. T, in fact there is no legality issue with selling the Lean Finely Textured Beef, the simple fact is, it isn’t ground in the BPI facility, it is separated from the fat and sinew in the facility. It is then sold to a grinder who in turn adds it to other beef.

            I imagine a lego factory. This factory produces the skinny orange legos, and sends them to another place to be mixed in with the other sizes and colors of Lego and then sold in a box called “Legos”. The skinny orange legos are not less appropriate for play than any other lego, but it would not be much fun to just play with the skinny orange ones, ya gotta have a bunch of different legos. (I have not asked for nor do I presume to eventually gain permission to use the trademarked name Lego in my opinions.)

            It’s not illegal by any means, it’s just not ground up yet. BPI is not grinding this beef at their facility. It is lean beef that is sold to a grinder, and they grind it in with fattier meat to make a patty. The reason that LFTB is not sold at retail is because it is finely textured. Another analogy compares different textures of salt side by side. Rock Salt and Table Salt. Craig Letch, director of Quality Assurance for BPI said that when ground beef goes through a meat grinder it appears more coarse in texture, (Rock Salt). LFTB is more like fine table salt, hence the name “finely textured.” Neither process changes the beef in any way other than the texture or fat content. Hence, the words “lean” and “texture.” The molecular composition of the beef is still beef, no matter what process is used to remove the muscle from the fat.

          • says

            Lauren – according to the video I watched (shot in one of BPI’s own plants), their process is to take the trim, heat it, spin it in a centrifuge, then treat it with the ammonia gas, then flash freeze it, pack it, and ship it. It appeared to me from the video that, somewhere between exiting the centrifuge and being flash frozen into blocks, the lean beef resembled a slurry (sort of like pureed beef.)

            There is no reason whatsoever that a meat grinder would deliberately over-grind LFTB to make it “finely textured” – because over-worked ground beef is really not all that appetizing to a lot of folks. With this in mind, and given that BPI is the one calling it LFTB, it really makes sense that it is becoming “finely textured” in their processing facilities.


    • Amy says

      “But just keep in mind that the bun, cheese, bacon and condiments EACH have more ammonium hydroxide than does the patty of meat with LFTB.”

      Correction: That info graphic you are describing uses ammonia levels in a 1.6 oz burger patty. When was the last time you made a 10:1 burger? That’s a slider size at best.

      It is not lean”er” or safe”er”. It is only as lean as the blend it is added in to make & it is no more safe than any other form of making ground beef.

  3. Crystal says

    These people don’t get it. I really don’t care about how much sciency stuff is in the meat. I just hate big food companies and anything that hurts them helps me feel smarter and healthier. Who cares what some food expert dude thinks. I have my own opinions that I get from Bettina and everyone should respect us. Just like religion you really get people hopping mad when you start in questioning facts and truths everyone knows. Pink slime is icky and I hate it.

    • Bettina Elias Siegel says

      Hi Crystal. I responded to you on another post, where you accused me of censorship, but in case you don’t see it, here’s an FYI: In almost two years of blogging, I have never once censored a comment because it expressed a viewpoint that contradicted my own. But as of today, I’m going to be far less easy going about allowing comments like this one to appear. It is devoid of substance, adds nothing to the discussion and and is, frankly, obnoxious. Your IP address has been placed in my spam filter and your comments will automatically be rejected from this blog without my even seeing them, so don’t waste your time sending another.

  4. Janet says

    SuperMom101–Are you sure your beef does not contain antibiotics, steroids or hormones? And what about your organic carrots and 4 types of beans? And what about your frozen bread? It’s possible your beef contains antibiotics to make sure the cow is healthy. And maybe steroids or hormones to make it grow faster. You will probably find it also contains ammonium hydroxide since that is a natural substance occurring in most foods. The same goes for all of your other ingredients. Even if you grow it yourself, it probably contains ammonium hydroxide (again because it is a naturally occurring ingredient). Also, do you know what preservatives are in your frozen bread? Or what other additives that are not labelled?

    • says

      She is sure, actually — I can say that with some certainty as I know she sources her food the way I do, and we consciously seek out beef that is absolutely free of those items. Our beef does NOT contain antibiotics, partly because grass-fed cows do not require antibiotics to keep them healthy the way grain-fed cows do. Farmers who produce our meat pledge not to use antibiotics with their animals, and they disclose it whenever they have the rare occasion to do so. They also don’t use steroids or hormones to make their animals grow faster, because profit is not their only motive. It is possible to buy meat that is produced this way, and many of us do; I wish everyone could.

      • Janet says

        I’m quite sure the farmers don’t produce these cattle without doing it for profit! You pay them, right? And I’m sure they tack on extra for their time and effort. Do you know what they put on their grass?

        I was also talking about all the other ingredients she was talking about using. I’m sure you don’t know everything that is in them. Even if you grow the veggies, they will contain naturally occurring ammonium hydroxide.

        • says

          Double sigh. I said profit is not their ONLY motive. ONLY. I did not suggest that they do not make a living from their work.

          Yes, often, I am able to find out what they put on their grass. And as to the rest of the ingredients you mentioned, I neither felt compelled nor interested in giving a detailed rundown of how and where I source my food, nor why naturally occurring compounds in food are somewhat different from the addition of chemical versions of those compounds. (This is why I always shrug when people tell me that celery has nitrates and therefore is no different from the chemical nitrates in hot dogs…)

          • Janet says

            I wasn’t asking for a rundown. I was just suggesting that you don’t necessarily know what is in them. And the frozen bread probably has preservatives of some kind in it and maybe ammonium hydroxide or other chemicals. LFTB is far from the only product that uses ammonium hydroxide in its products. It has been used since the 70’s.

          • Erin says

            I know you and I have had a lot of back and forth…I completely respect your decision on how you feed your family…and I am glad you have the means to do that…however some of the other consumers in this country can not afford any other cost of product to go up…as is gas is out getting out of control…..if LFTB a perfectly safe product is taken out prices for meat with go up! I struggle with my cost already…I have 3 children …this product is proven safe and I choose to keep eating it!

      • Ginger says

        A couple of things in the interest of fuller understanding. In my experience grass fed cattle do not have resistance to infection that is greatly different from cattle that are grass fed and grain finished. BTW most cattle in the US are grass fed for the majority of their lives. Most are grass+ nursing until 6-8 months, then grass and no grain or a little grain from 6/8 mos through ~12 mos and then grain + hay/alfalfa from ~12 to ~15-16 months at which point they are harvest ready. It’s important to note that all of these stages are in a pasture setting except the last 90 – 120 days which would be in a feed yard in most but not all programs – some are grain finished while continuing to have access to pasture. But I digress – ranchers that choose the no antibiotics route have some unique management challenges. Grass-fed cattle are subject to bacterial infections and in those cases the rancher/producer has to manage the infection/illness without antibiotics or if things get out of control deal with the consequences or treat with antibiotics and cull that animal from their program.

        • says

          I’m sure you’re correct that cattle are started on pasture. The reason that feedlot cattle are grass-started and grain-finished is that feeding the animals only grain from the beginning would probably kill them. Cows are just, quite simply put, not anatomically suited to consumption of grain. So they must be slowly worked up to eating grain, and fed antibiotics along the way, in order to keep them alive. By the time the 90-120 days on the feedlot has expired (“access to pasture” or not), they’ve lost all the benefits to their health — AND ours — that come with eating their natural diet.
          Ranchers that go no antibiotics have the same challenges ranchers always had, until the revolution of cattle farming came about and dictated that steer be fattened and killed by the time they were under 2 years old, rather than raised slowly and carefully for slaughter at age 5 or 6. Grass-fed cattle are no more prone to bacterial infections than grain-fed cattle are prone to feedlot polio, bloat, diarrhea, and overpopulation of their guts by deadly bacteria (that may not kill them, but may end up in our meat and could kill us). Clearly, judging from the success of many grass-fed ranchers in this country, it’s more than possible to raise cattle without grain, without antibiotics, and without steroids or hormones. And it HAS been documented that, while the cows themselves may not show outward symptoms of illness, the digestive tracts and droppings of grass-fed cows contain significantly lower levels of e. coli than the digestive tracts of grain-fed cattle.

  5. FreeMarket says

    Janet, consumers cannot purchase LFTB that has not been mixed with anything. The only response I’ve received to the question of “if it’s all beef, why can’t I purchase 100% LFTB?” is that “it won’t stick together without the fat.” I’ve not been able to find anyone addressing the fact that the maximum allowable percentage of LFTB that may be included in a single serving of the USDA-purchased ground beef is 15 percent. Why is there a limit on the allowable amount?

    • Janet says

      No, you cannot purchase LFTB. It made specifically to be mixed with regular ground beef. I’m not sure why it is not marketed separately–maybe because there is not an abundance of it. My understanding is that LFTB won’t stick together because there is not enough fat in it to hold it together. I believe it is 94% lean ground beef. I’ve only seen 93% lean ground beef in my stores. I’m not sure of the percentage that can be mixed with fatter ground beef. Maybe because then it will not hold together in patties. If someone purchased ground beef to make hamburger patties and they fell apart, they would not be happy. If someone were to purchase ground beef to make something else where they don’t need it to stick together, it would be fine. Some people may prefer not to eat LFTB for whatever reason. I think it is probably a lot healthier than a lot of other products on the market. I have more of a problem with beef that is treated with growth hormones. I would worry about them causing cancer. I will search out any stores left that at selling ground beef with LFTB. I think it is a safe product and has been the victim of the extremely bad (and uneducated) publicity.

      I know a lot of people are saying to buy this product to keep the plants open that make it so people will not lose their jobs. I would hate to see people lose their jobs, but not if it means selling a product that is not safe or healthy. I hope the correct information gets out there to keep these plants open because I think they have a quality product.

      Also, if LFTB is not used, there will be a large shortage of beef. (Remember Texas sold or killed off a lot of their herds because of the drought.) So beef is already in short supply and it will get even worse when the LFTB is not included. This also means that the price of beef will be much more expensive.

      Ammonium hydroxide has been used in products since the 1970’s and has been found to be safe which is why it has been approved by the USDA. The list of products that have ammonium hydroxide put in them is quite long but nobody has had a problem with that until now. This is one of those “rumors” that have gone viral.

      The plants where LFTB is made are inspected regularly and are found to be safe. I also understand that the plants where it is made are extremely clean.

      • says

        Janet, I’m curious; where has it been documented that the beef used for LFTB was not treated with growth hormones, steroids, or antibiotics? Those are the hallmarks of all conventional grain-fed beef production, and that’s where BPI gets their beef from…so if they’re making LFTB from the scraps of conventional beef, then how is LFTB not also tainted with the hormones and steroids used to produce that beef?

        • Janet says

          I never said it wasn’t. I’m just saying that people are so worried about the product being scraps and having ammonium hydroxide added but think if they get the ground beef without it, it is healthier. It contains the same thing.

      • says

        There isn’t an “abundance” of LTFB? Last I heard there was like 1.5 million cows worth. Which is, as they say in these parts, “a lot of beef”!


      • Laura says

        Janet, thank you for putting forward so much information, very respectfully and clearly articulated. I very much appreciate your information and perspective.
        All the best –

        • Janet says

          Laura, Thank you. I live in Iowa within 10 miles of the BPI facility; therefore, I probably have more information available to me than a lot of people. Just because the facility is close to me does not mean that I will stand behind it if I think things are being misrepresented. I certainly don’t want to put any more bad things in my body than necessary. If I thought there was any problem with LTFB, I certainly would not eat it, nor would I stick up for it or the company.

          In case you are not aware, our local Chamber of Commerce put on a free hamburger feed yesterday using the locally processed ground beef with LTFB. Over 15,000 people showed up to eat and support the company.

          • says

            That’s fantastic. And it proves the point many of us have been trying to make: If you label it, they will come. :-) Something like that. If 15,000 people in one small part of Iowa will still happily and knowingly eat LFTB, then doesn’t that show that a simple matter of labeling beef as “contains up to x percent of LFTB” — the same way chicken nuggets, etc. are labeled as “containing mechanically separated chicken” — would allow the whole controversy to be put to rest, with little or no final damage to BPI’s bottom line? Let the consumers decide and let your product come out on top, if that’s what will happen. Seems fair to me. And then everyone can go about their business grumbling about us liberal elitist foodies and our crazy ideas. We won’t mind.

  6. Kevin says

    “Pink Slime” is just the ‘Tip-of-the-Iceberg’ in the meat industry.

    The core problem is that meat sellers intentionally deceive consumers about the product sold. It is outright fraud, sanctioned by the Federal government bureaucrats.

    BPI had to shut down this week when consumers discovered what they were actually selling. No surprise at all — that’s why they concealed the true nature of their product; they knew how consumers would react.

    The dodge that pink-slime is “safe” to eat avoids the primary fraud. Processed cat/dog/rat meat would also be safe to eat… but few Americans would knowingly eat it. And few would buy/eat pink-slime — if they knew the disgusting beef “by-products” within it. Any tissue from a cow can generally be called “beef” — but there’s nobody here who would eat all the tissue-types/flesh found on cows (except if disguised in ground meat products).

    We rightly expect “ground-beef/hamburger” to contain ONLY normal beef-cow muscle meats (chuck, round, sirloin, etc.) — NOT cow snouts/cheeks, hoof meat, intestines, ears, etc.

    Check the USDA web site for what your government legally permits to be labeled “Ground Beef” or “Hamburger” — you will be greatly shocked. Every cow-part other than bone, cartilage, and connective-tissue can basically be thrown into meat grinder… as long as the overall fat content stays below 20%. Yum.

    The poultry industry is just as bad. Carefully check the primary ingredients in most turkey-sausage at your local supermarket — you’ll find the term “mechanically-separated” turkey. It’s a nasty extrusion process to get ALL the tissue off turkey carcasses. No doubt it’s being widely served in school cafeterias across the nation daily.

    Meat consumers have legal right to know exactly what meat sellers are delivering.

    • says

      Dear Kevin,
      The Beef Products Inc (BPI)plants that closed temporarily did so because consumers were not careful to educate themselves about what BPI is doing, process-wise, regarding the removal of fat from around muscle, the removal of sinew from the product, and the subsequent raising of pH to remove possible eColi and other contaminants. The consumers believed the scare tactics of certain media portrayals of the BPI process, as evidently did you.

      I do not understand what “normal” muscles are, compared to the muscles found in FTLB? If a cow has 300 muscles and only 25-ish can be obtained by a human with a knife as a roast or steak, why is it somehow acceptable to waste the rest of the muscle? (My reference of number of muscle is attributable to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations website here: How is the muscle such as a roast or steak which is easy to cut out of a carcass with a knife more “normal” than muscle which can be found encased in fat, and why indeed should the other 275 muscles not be utilized, especially if they can be effectively removed from the accompanying fat? I’m just baffled, how many different ways are there to label beef? It’s just beef. If you want to grind up special “normal” beef with the stipulation it was the type easily removed from the carcass, you have always had that option.

      I think your statement “Processed cat/dog/rat meat would also be safe to eat… but few Americans would knowingly eat it. ” is very very telling of your complete disregard for anyone unlike yourself. If a consumer wishes to eat offal such as tripe or tendon, (I eat them on a regular basis in my Vietnamese Pho,) those items can also be found on the shelf at the market. They are delicious.

      In Diomede, Alaska, United States, resources include bearded seals, ringed seals, spotted seals, walrus, and polar bears. In summer, the community harvests migrating water fowl such as auklets, puffins, and murres, along with their eggs. (Referenced from:

      For hundreds of years humans in America have used every edible part of the animal carcass. It is only recently that some Americans have developed a marked sense of entitlement, to the point that they now believe only the easily obtained meat is “normal” and suitable for consumption.

      Ultimately, I support that you should be able to eat what you so desire (If you are lucky enough to be an American living near a supermarket with a meat department, it should be easy for you, just point to a roast or steak to the guy behind the meat counter and he will grind it up right there in front of you), and I ask of you, please do not presume to speak for me. I should be able to also choose, to eat Puffin, tripe, tendon, Pork Feet, squirrel, rabbit, turkey, seal, the clams from the Walrus stomach, duck, alligator, or Finely Textured Lean Beef, which is a lean, safe, beef product.

  7. stacy says

    i apologize, i have not read any of your blog posts, i am here because i have heard you are the one that started this whole thing with the LFTBeef and had it removed from school lunch programs. what i would like to know is that since they removed the lean beef product, what exactally has it been replaced with? from what i understand LFTB from BPI is super lean ground beef (4% fat or less), it is added to fattier ground beef made by other meat processors to make it more lean. i guess i dont quite understand what the big deal is. is it the cuts of meat that bpi uses? because from what i know, if you buy a package of beef at the store it is also made from beef trimmings, unlike 100% ground sirloin or chuck you get at the meat counter. is it the ammonia hydroxide used in processing? ammonia hydroxide is used in alot of processed foods, even tofu. so whats the big deal?

  8. says

    I’m curious if any of the “ground beef patties” in the following USDA recall (over one million pounds) had LFTB in it?

    WASHINGTON, August 6, 2010 – Valley Meat Company, a Modesto, Calif. establishment, is recalling approximately one million pounds of frozen ground beef patties and bulk ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

    Had a good friend end up in the hospital with severe dehydration from vomiting, etc. after he ate a sausage. He was told it’s “just the flu” and sent home 24 hours later. Two weeks later – USDA recalled – the sausages. Wonder how many more Americans are told, “it”s the flu” when actually it’s food poisoning.

    Cheap food can be very expensive!

    p.s. I understand that the food product “LFBT” is not in sausage and that’s why I’m asking the question about the 1,000,000 lbs of recalled frozen ground beef patties.

    p.s.s. It’s also not necessary to comment that if the meat is thoroughly cooked then it is “safe” to consume.

    • Janet says

      BPI has NEVER had any recall of their product for e.coli or any other problem. I will not say that the other ground meat it was mixed with did not. BPI’s meat is probably safer than a lot of other meat products. BPI found 2 cases of tainted meat but that was internal–before it ever went outside the facility. They are very conscientious about safety. Their reputation is their product and right now that is being totally attacked unfairly by uninformed people and media.

      • says

        Janet, I hate to correct you on your assertion, but BPI HAS had recalls — you state that they’ve never had one, for e. coli or any other problem, which seemed not quite right to me. Here’s the first thing I found on a random Google search of “bpi recall.” You’ll notice it’s dated August 6, 2009, and appears on — which is run by Marler-Clark, coincidentally.
        A few more minute of effort turned up this article:
        That one shows that BPI’s record is not at all stainless. There have been contaminations with e coli and salmonella, citations of BPI plants, suspension of use of BPI’s products in school lunches, and problems with the levels of ammonia in the product over the past several years. Do I think these problems are necessarily any WORSE than any other meat producer? No, likely not. But if we’re asking for factual information to be given, let’s remain factual and not make assertions that there has never been a recall or an issue with any BPI product. It’s simply not true.

        • Janet says

          BPI ground beef is not sold to school lunch programs as a stand-alone product. It is ALWAYS mixed with other ground beef. Have they determined it was the ground beef specifically from BPI or was it the other beef it was mixed with that had the e.coli?

          I was quoting an article about the BPI facility in Nebraska, since it is the only one currently operating, which I did not specify.

          I wish everyone was as concerned about actual facts as you are.

          • says

            In the cases I cited, it was in fact directly BPI’s product. Now, again, I don’t cite these to say that BPI has a worse record than any other meat producer, and in fact, I have little trouble believing that they’re probably better in overall safety than many. I just wanted to make sure we were all dealing with recorded fact, because as you say, Janet (and thanks, by the way, for a number of very cordial exchanges — you’ve been very classy, which is appreciated), actual facts are what’s important here.

        • Matt says

          I assure you this. If you look at BPI’s Finished Product sampling program and compare it to any other beef producer, you will be amazed. Far…far…better. That’s all I’m going to say.

        • Erin says

          Okay first you are listing a different company…the company that makes LFTB is Beef Products Incorporated out of Dakota City,Nebraska, Garden City,Kansas, Amarillo,Texas

  9. Janet says

    Ed, I’m not sure whether to believe any of that article since you were the author of it and seem intent on doing everything you can to damage BPI. You sound like a former disgruntled worker who was fired for some reason and are intent on destroying them?! Get the facts straight! PLEASE! There is plenty of correct information out there.

    • says

      Janet – I would suggest you take a look at the date on that article. Also, the name of the “press advisor”. I mean… “Ms. April Pfeulz” – could I be any less subtle!?

      Happy April 1!

  10. Matt says

    What is so bad about LFTB? Isn’t it just beef? I guess instead of doing their own research, people just rely on other people’s opinions to develop an opinion of their own then run around and tell all their friends it’s FACTS. What a shame…what a shame.

    • Lenée says

      You underestimate the research done by those commenting in this group, as well as the determination, wherewithal, conscientiousness, and intelligence held by the members here…….what a shame, unfortunately, for you. Most of what you read here is based on sound research, information gathered from both sides of the issue, and countless hours of combing over every aspect of said issue available to the general public, rather than “people’s opinion.” Our opinions have been developed on fact, fact that the general public is privy to with a bit of time and research, and with an approach of an open mind. We do not dive blindly into any aspect of this, we each take the time to fact-check and research for ourselves BEFORE we agree to anything stated.

  11. Nicole Black says

    So is labeling really the issue?! What else would you like labeled on beef, that it’s beef? You have taken information from uneducated individuals such as Jamie Oliver, which let me remind has exposed several of his customers to E.coli and made decisions about a product that you have no factual information about! You say the concern is for our school children? Then why in the world would you want to feed them something that is not only fattier, but unsafe as well. BPI has taken an innovative way of taking our beef and making it not only leaner but safer. If obesity is such an issue, why would we choose to feed our children food that will contribute to the obesity epidemic?! I am behind BPI 100%, and I have to add that I am not being bribed, my decision is based on facts.

    • says

      Nicole – If, in fact, LFTB is “just beef”, then why is it illegal to offer it for sale direct to the end user? Why must it be mixed in with other ground beef? And why at a maximum of 15% LFTB?

      Lastly, what is BPI so afraid of that they feel it best to keep the food-eating public in the dark (so to speak) about what their product is in?

      Until I get satisfactory answers to these questions, I feel totally justified in refusing to eat anything with LFTB in it – and to encourage lawmakers to keep it out of our schools and prisons and military bases, as well.


      • Erin says

        Edt, Beef Products Incorporated is a small company that works hard to produce a safe and quality product….the Lean Finely Textured beef can’t be sold by itself because it is very fine in texture. If you want facts go to

      • Janet says

        EdT, I don’t know that it is “illegal” to sell LFTB. It just isn’t because the intent for use of the product was to be mixed in with courser, fattier ground beef. It must be mixed with other ground beef because it is to lean (not fatty enough) to stick together by itself. I don’t know that there is a “maximum” to be incorporated, but it might be just a standard that they have. Too much LFTB and the hamburger patty will fall apart which is not good.

        BPI is not afraid to let the food-eating public in the dark. I have been aware of what BPI does since it started. There is no secret. It is in other fattier ground beef. Have you asked BPI about what is in their product and they have refused to answer? Just curious.

        We who are in the know about LFTB prefer to eat it and encourage our lawmakers to support it and keep it in our schools, prisons and military bases, and even in the “fast food” market.

        We who live near the processing companies and know the REAL story, totally support the product, eating it and wanting it served where we, our children and other family members and friends eat!

        Please don’t accept the false rumors of those who don’t know the truth about LFTB and want it gone.

      • Matt says

        EdT. If you claim to do so much research on the LFTB topic and claim it’s “illegal” to offer as direct sale, cite the CREDIBLE source where I can find the “fact” that it is “illegal”.

        • says

          Matt – Since I doubt that any source I were to cite would be deemed “credible” by you, let me answer your question with a question: why can’t I, as an end user, purchase LFTB as a standalone product (i.e. not mixed in with other ground beef product.)


          • Janet says

            Besides the fact that LFTB is specifically made to be combined with fattier ground beef, fat does add flavor to meat. Therefore, LFTB might not have that much flavor on its own.

  12. says

    Bri, here I take issue with the fact that you are claiming “I just wanted to make sure we were all dealing with recorded fact, ”

    when in the link you produced:

    and stated they had a recall, you are quoting sources about one company called Beef Packers Inc. as found also here around the same date, from CALIFORNIA.

    when in fact, Beef Products Inc. of South Dakota is the company we are here today to discuss.

    • says

      Correct. My oversight, for which I apologize. The NY Times piece, however, is the correct BPI. Thanks for setting that straight.

      • Erin says

        I appreciate your apology as all we are asking is for the consumer to be shown all the TRUE facts and then decide for themselves….ABC got this smear campaign going with all false info to begin with….it is hard to stand by and watch a fantastic company, an American Company, get put through all of this for no good reason. I understand and believe everyone needs to make their own choices however this has been blown way out of bounds and now has taken the choice away from consumers.
        Nancy Donley is a women I believe in…since her sons death she is all about food safety and finding out the safest foods and guess what Beef Products Incorporated is on her list of safe foods!

  13. Erin says

    I first want to say I am a mother who loves and watches what I fees my children….second I want to say after all the first images of the so called “pink slime” came out into the media…the one that looked like playdough I looked into facts….I tend to stay away from believing media hype due to past issues with it being blown out of proportion. I found that that image wasn’t even beef it is seperated Chicken!
    Also that Beef Products Incorporated is backed by Nancy Donley a mother that lost her child do too ecoli almost 20 years ago…they reason see backs it because of how safe it is…then I looked further this product has never had 1 consumer sick in 30 years. Wow! I guess as a mom those facts about LFTB I what I go by….not media hype!

  14. Erin says

    Also recently Jim Avila from ABC news was in our town and talked to our local news station and said this was never about the safety of the product because it is safe. It is about it being labeled correctly it is Beef. I looked into the product it was never dog food, Ammonium Hydroxide is used in pretty much all food production and is a naturally found pathogen killer in fruits and veggies, therr is more ammonium hydroxide in bread and cheese then beef. All I’m saying is as a mom educate yourself make your own decisions and then choose….I did and this product is the safest out there.

    • says

      No, LFTB was never dog food. Because LFTB was invented to sell the scraps as people food rather than dog food. The SCRAPS used to make LFTB used to be dog food, until BPI figured out how to remove the fat by heating, centrifuging, and blast chilling the meat. That’s where the “dog food” chatter comes from.
      The thing is, when LFTB first hit the ground beef — before the ammonium hydroxide — it was found to introduce more pathogens into the meat than had previously been there. In other words, without the ammonium hydroxide treatment (which I think must actually be anhydrous ammonia anyway, since ammonium hydroxide is a liquid and anhydrous ammonia is the gaseous form), LFTB was more dangerous for humans than plain old ground beef without LFTB. Then the ammonia came into the picture and got rid of the extra pathogens. As far as I’m concerned, that makes it a draw in terms of safety — now LFTB meat is no less safe than responsibly produced ground meat without any fillers or chemical processes, like the stuff I get from my butcher or my local beef farmer. It’s not that I think LFTB is unsafe, but I’m not sure that it’s safER than the non-LFTB beef my family eats. It’s only safer than non-ammoniated LFTB.

      • Erin says

        Okay don’t assume things unless you are a scientist so please don’t make statements like I assume this or that…..the facts are this product is 100% safe and makes our hamburger leaner and more nutrious…..also we produce ammonium hydroxide in our bodies naturally!
        Get the facts and post fact! Show me facts of what you are saying and just FYI ABC info is not based on fact so give me something else

        • says

          Erin – please don’t tell others what they can think, or say. That is crossing the line into incivility, and adds nothing of value to the discussion.

          (And yes, despite what some may think, I have found this ongoing debate to be of value.)


          • says

            Edt, I wasn’t trying to come across that way I was talking about the anhydrius ammonia comment….and this is completely different so all I am saying is its time to get the facts out there.
            Everyone will have their own opinions that is a given but at least read facts before making your decisions and let’s all not assume everything we read in the national media is correct because they are a business for ratings

        • says

          I didn’t make any statement that said “I assume…” I’ve re-read the comment I posted to which you responded, and the word “assume” is nowhere in there.
          Also: Nowhere did I say it was unsafe. And if you’re looking for facts, several times within this thread there have been links posted to both the 2009 New York Times piece regarding the production of LFTB, and the 2003 industry study that BPI itself paid for. Just so we’re clear, I never even saw the ABC news segments with Jim Avila that everyone appears to be so concerned about. I’ve read a whole bunch of stuff on the subject, including BPI’s own information, and I have come to a different conclusion than you have regarding whether or not I want to feed this product to my children. That’s all.

          • says

            And that is all we want is for people to read the facts and choose for themselves….mass media has taken the choice out of the consumers hands..
            Jamie Oliver is another one that needs to read fact….he critized BPI yet his own resturants are under investigation for eColi out breaks maybe he should use LFTB

          • says

            Erin – you claim that mass media has “taken the choice out of consumers[sic] hands…”

            However – wasn’t it BPI and the USDA, who are producing this product and allowing it to be placed in food we eat without telling us it is there, which has taken away our ability to make informed choices?

            Also – if you read this site at all carefully, you would notice that Bettina in fact criticized Jamie Oliver’s “demonstration” during the first episode of his last series.


          • says

            Okay sorry making the assuming comment….I am not a scientist obviously either okay but all I know is everything I have read is saying this is a very safe and proven product….I like PROVEN products for my family!

          • says

            Bri – it is possible that BPI’s “puff of gas” is in fact a very fine mist, which would allow it to be ammonium hydroxide while still appearing to be gaseous. I am going to try and look up the patent (presuming it is available for review at the USPTO and I have time to do the research), and see what it actually says.


            • Todd DeMoss says

              I believe it is a gas until it is mixed with the moisture within the meat itself, thus creating ammonium hydroxide.

      • says

        About Alan Caruba: “Best known these days as a commentator on issues ranging from environmentalism to energy, immigration to Islam…”

        In other words, he is a talking head. Not a scientist, nor an expert – but just someone with an opinion, who is being paid (one would assume) to write it down for others to read.


        • Janet says

          He may be a “talking head”, but he did take the time to take a tour of the facilities and talk to the owner. He is reporting on what he saw and his conversation with the owner and creator of the process. This is a lot better than someone just “assuming”!

          • Erin says

            Okay yes he did do that and he also critized a mother Nancy Donley who lost her son 20 years ago from eColi asking if she came to the press conference because she was paid off by Eldon Roth (co-founder of BPI) He has no tact! Of course Nancy after loosing her son is now a huge spokes women on food safety…she was there because she has worked with BPI to make sure the best and safest product is put out there.
            Jim Avila was not heard of really until all this, ratings, headlines might improve his career a bit….just take the smaller American founded companies down in turn.
            I watched the press conference live…he has no class and is very one sided…he was not hearing any of the facts and just was ignoring any questions directed towards him about where he got his information.
            The only good thing about his visit was when he said on our local news that he has never reported this being an unsafe product…he said it is safe…all he was reporting is it should be labeled….which is bull because he and Ms.Diane Sawyer both have a smear campaign going…he was asked to not use the term “Pink Slime” anymore as the original report of Pink Slime was images of seperated chicken…he then said he would continue to use that term because the nation knows it as that and wouldnt know what LFTB or lean finely textured beef was….hmmmm guess he doesnt think the population could deal with the actual name of it….come on

  15. Janet says

    Bri, This would not let me reply directly under your post. I don’t think the main problem is the labeling. Yes, people want to know what is in their food, but, in this case, the problem is with LFTB. People have the wrong idea about what it is, so even if it is on the label, people will have an issue. The main thing that needs to happen is that people understand that LFTB is just a different batch of ground beef mixed together with another one. I would hate to try to figure out how many packages of ground beef come from 2 different batches of hamburger.

    So I guess what I am saying is that people need to be educated in LFTB (and the media needs to quit calling it “pink slime”) so they understand it is just ground beef with all the extra fat taken away. If that is done, then I don’t think there would be a problem with labeling ground beef that contained LFTB.

    The question is: How is that accomplished?

    • says

      All I want is to show that in our population there is illness and we has humans get vaccinations to prevent illness so why on earth if there is a safe way to prevent deadly bacteria wouldn’t we use it!

      • says

        The question really is, why is the deadly bacteria there to begin with? That’s what I think most of us should really be asking. Because my ancestors farmed cattle and ate beef without LFTB for generations, with no ill effects. So what’s causing all the e.coli in the beef supply now?

        • Janet says

          E.coli gets into beef because it is contained in the digestive system of the cattle. Occasionally something happens (possibly the prick of a knife point into the digestive system) that can contaminate a part of the carcass and that can spread to other parts. Your ancestors may have e.coli and not have known it. They may have also died from it and no one knew what they died from. LFTB has been treated so that it is not a carrier of e.coli and therefore not mixed in with beef.

        • says

          I agree! I don’t know although I do know the worlds population as it grows you see new diseases come up…no scientist here. BPI is not putting eColi into Beef though just to kill the bacteria….they do the process to prevent and kill any that is present. This is a good proven company

        • says

          Some of the new, nasty strains of e.coli started appearing in elevated levels in cattle after they started feeding them a diet of grain. (It appears e.coli doesn’t survive as well in the guts of grass-fed cattle.) The conditions under which these cattle are raised means they stand in their (and other cattles’) feces pretty much 24/7. Then, during slaughter, the bowels tend to empty (the same thing has been observed in humans being executed), and if the feces gets on the hide (again, not uncommon) and isn’t removed… e.coli in the meat.

          Unfortunately, the slaughterhouse is a nasty, messy business under the best of circumstances. The factory-style processing houses are orders of magnitude worse.


  16. Kevin says

    BEEF is BEEF is BEEF is BEEF (??)

    Every speck of cow-flesh from lips to anus is the same… except to a few silly-fussy consumers who irrationally distrust blended mystery meat ?

    Why does the USDA even bother grading beef into 9 categories if it’s basically all the same ?

    Specific handling & processing procedures for “Beef” have absolutely no relevant effects on its quality/safety — Beef is Beef (??)

    Foolish buyers pay much more for beef tenderloin than for low-grade hamburger — but it’s all the same at the molecular (..and retail) level ?? What dopes.

    This BEEF=BEEF=BEEF dodge is constantly repeated in the comments here. It is manifestly untrue.


    Also, this BPI Ammonium Hydroxide Gas stuff doesn’t make any sense.

    Ammonia is already a gas {NH3}.

    In contact with water, you get liquid “Ammonium Hydroxide”

    {NH3 + H2O —> NH4+ + OH-}

    NH4 is the ammonium ion… while NH3 is ammonia gas.
    Ammonium Hydroxide is merely ammonia gas dissolved in water.

    So how & why does BPI magically change this liquid ‘back’ into a gas, as claimed ??

    Both ammonia gas and ammonia liquid are widely used as cleaning agents and disinfectants. Most folks have the liquid at home in various commercial kitchen/bath cleaning products.

    Suspect BPI was actually “misting/spraying” their mystery meat with the standard liquid Ammonium Hydroxide. Perhaps the ‘gas’ claim was intended to deflect any concerns about residual amounts of the liquid disinfectant remaining in the product ?

    That December 2009 NY Times article indicated BPI attempted to minimize the Ammonium Hydroxide concentration due to complaints about the off-flavor of the “meat”. Of course, minimizing the disinfectant also heightens the bacterial infection risk. Did they get it right ??

  17. Norma V says

    Most of the grocery chains and restaurants have chosen to not carry or use ground beef with LFTB and yet governors, the beef council, USDA, American Meat Institute among many others are defending it.
    The meat packers must have a lot of people in their pockets, but the grocers and restaurants seem to know the housewife has made her decision…

  18. Think says

    It is not beef as we know it, in my opinion, it is not even pet food. If you are so confident about your product and comfortable calling it “beef” let people make the choice whether they want to consume it or not by labelling it as “LFTB”. Also, why use ammonia if it is beef? to kill e-colli bacteria found in fesses.

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