Gov. Sam Brownback may have a beef with signs posted in the local grocery store. The signs alert customers that the store’s beef does not contain an additive called “pink slime,” also known as Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB).
Brownback, in a statement with governors of three other states, is urging retailers to continue selling beef that includes LFTB.
“We urge grocery retailers, consumers, restaurants and members of the media to seek the facts behind lean finely textured beef,” the joint statement reads. “Science supports keeping the lean beef product on grocery store shelves for the benefit of American agriculture and consumers alike.”
The Kansas Governor was joined by Govs. Terry Branstad of Iowa, Dave Heineman of Nebraska, Rick Perry of Texas, and Lt. Gov. Matt Michels of South Dakota.
“By taking this safe product out of the market, grocery retailers and consumers are allowing media inaccuracies to trump sound science,” they said. “This is a disservice to the beef industry, hundreds of workers who make their livings producing this safe product and consumers as a whole.”
LFTB is made using meat cutting scraps treated with ammonia to kill bacteria.
According to the governors’ statement, LFTB is lean, nutritious, safe and approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. However, the USDA recently issued a directive saying school districts are not required to use the beef additive in school lunch programs.
USD 231 does not use the filler in any of its school lunches, according to district communications director, Leann Northway.
Beef Products Inc. has suspended production of LFTB at three of its four plants, including one in western Kansas. That resulted in the loss of 200 jobs in Kansas and another 450 more in Texas and Iowa.
Ultimately, Brownback said, beef consumers will pay the price.
“The price of ground beef will rise as ranchers work to raise as many as 1.5 million head of cattle to replace safe beef no longer consumed because of the baseless media scare,” he said.
The beef industry generates more than $6.5 billion in Kansas each year. According to the National Meat Association, as many as 3,000 American jobs will be affected when suppliers are also factored in.
“Our states proudly produce food for the country and the world – and we do so with the highest commitment toward product safety,” their statement reads. “It is unfortunate when inaccurate information causes an unnecessary panic among consumers.”