Cargill, the world’s largest producer of hamburger, has begun labeling its products that contain the company’s finely textured beef product.
Finely textured beef
The company describes finely textured beef as “100-percent beef that is exceptionally lean. It’s safe and nutritious, and families have been eating it for decades.” It is derived from beef trimmings, during a process the company says is similar to separating milk from cream, and treated with citric acid to reduce the risk of pathogens. Finely textured beef, which is very lean, is mixed with the company’s ground beef products to achieve the right percentage of fat.
Cargill said both its consumer products and bulk products, including the “Our Certified” brand, will carry the label that says, “Contains Finely Textured Beef.” The company has also launched a website — GroundBeefAnswers.com, to answer questions about finely textured beef.
Cargill’s decision to label products containing finely textured beef is undoubtedly a response to the objections of a similar product made by Beef Products Inc. Beef Products Inc.’s product, called lean finely textured beef, was treated with ammonia to cleanse the product of bacteria, rather than Cargill’s method of using citric acid.
In 2012, the product was much-maligned after ABC News ran a series of stories calling the lean finely textured beef ‘pink slime.’ Beef Products Inc. eventually sued ABC News after the stories cost the company 80 percent of its business, resulting in more than 700 layoffs.