LFTB back on more school menus - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

LFTB back on more school menus

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Beef Products Incorporated was forced to cut hundreds of jobs in Siouxland and at plants around the country last year when businesses and restaurants stopped selling their main product, Lean Finely Textured Beef.

In fact, schools stopped serving it in their lunch programs despite repeated calls from the USDA saying LFTB products are safe for all consumers.

Now there's word some states and schools have changed their minds and now plan to serve it.

After some critics dubbed LFTB a derogatory name, the USDA gave schools a choice last year. They had the final say on whether to serve ground beef with or without Lean Finely Textured Beef. Only three states chose to serve it: Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota.

But there's a sign of renewed out-of-state trust.

School districts in Illinois, Texas, Pennsylvania, and Virginia will soon be serving it again in their schools at part of the National School Lunch Program.

Lean Finely Textured Beef comes from beef trimmings. Through a centrifuge process, much of the fat is reduced to produce 94% lean ground beef. BPI's plant in South Sioux City, Nebraska is the largest producer of it.

A statement from Craig Letch, BPI's Director of Food Safety and Quality Assurance reads in part, "BPI is pleased that these additional states have opted to provide this choice to their school districts. USDA has repeatedly affirmed that lean finely textured beef is safe, wholesome, and nutritious 100% lean beef."

As of September 3, the seven states have ordered approximately 2 million pounds of ground beef that may contain LFTB. Company officials tell KTIV it will not create new jobs, but they are excited to have renewed interest by these states in their product.

BPI, meanwhile, has filed a $1.2 billion defamation lawsuit against ABC News, two former USDA microbiologists and its own former corporate quality assurance manager.

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