USDA announcement on lean finely textured beef

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced March 15 that school districts  will have choice whether to include lean finely textured beef in purchases of ground beef for the National School Lunch Program. USDA said in a statement that their decision was in response to requests from school districts across the country.

In their statement they said that, “due to customer demand, the department will be adjusting procurement specifications for the next school year so schools can have additional options in procuring ground beef products.”

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President J.D. Alexander issued the following statement in response to the USDA announcement.

“Cattlemen and women nationwide firmly agree with USDA’s commitment to ensuring the health and safety of the food served to more than 31 million schoolchildren every day. The fact remains that lean finely textured beef is a 100 percent beef product produced from beef trimmings that yields an additional 10-12 pounds of lean, nutritious beef from every beef animal. The production of lean finely textured beef prevents lean, nutritious beef from being wasted. This lean beef product, like all beef, is naturally rich in nutrients like zinc, iron, protein and B vitamins. It can be added to other cuts of beef to produce ground beef. Lean finely textured beef offers affordable nutrition for kids, which is critical given shrinking school budgets, rising food costs and the fact that for many kids, school lunch is the best chance at getting a well-balanced meal during the day. Hands down, lean finely textured beef is a safe, nutritious product that school districts can choose to include in their school lunch plans.

Source: USDA, NCBA

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