BPI suffers setback as school districts choose beef without LFTB
DAKOTA DUNES, SD (KTIV) -
Despite BPI's efforts to put its product in a positive light, only three states have chosen to serve meat in its schools that contains Lean Finely Textured Beef, or LFTB.
Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota have signed on.
But the rest chose not to serve it as part of the National School Lunch Program, a program run by the US Department of Ag.
The fallout means parents and taxpayers will be paying more.
It's been fighting the firestorm for more than two months, and the news that only the three Siouxland states have ordered its product is another blow for Dakota Dunes based Beef Products Incorporated.
Lean Finely Textured Beef came under fire after what the company calls "misinformation" about its product exploded on social media and on some national media outlets.
BPI takes beef trim pieces and uses heat and a spinning process to reduce the fat.
It's then treated with a puff of Ammonium Hydroxide to kill bacteria before being blended with ground beef.
It's been deemed safe and nutritious by the US Department of Ag, and part of the National School Lunch program for the last 14 years.
The USDA said in March it would offer for the first time schools the choice to purchase beef without or without LFTB for the upcoming school year.
States ordered more than 20 million pounds of ground beef products without LFTB and only one million pounds with it.
The USDA says districts were even warned about the higher cost involved, running about 3% higher.
BPI's Director of Food Safety and Quality Craig Letch called it an "example of how a fictional media story can damage a product that has been used safely in the Agricultural Marketing Service program for over 14 years."
He said, "We will continue our efforts to provide accurate, factual information about our quality, lean beef and look forward to supporting these and other school districts in their purchasing decisions."
Since the frenzy about LFTB, a USDA report says a pound of ground beef is up $.50.
BPI has since closed three plants and reduced hours at its remaining plant in South Sioux City.
You might be wondering about the school support in those other two states with plants.
While both Governors came to Siouxland in March to show support for BPI and LFTB, a spokesperson for Kansas Governor Sam Brownback said the Governor had "no comment" on the matter.
Texas Governor Rick Perry's spokesperson has not yet responded to our request.
For more information on LFTB or BPI click here and here.