Lawmakers question USDA efforts to repair LFTB controversy

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

WASHINGTON, April 20, 2012- A group of 31 Congress members addressed their concerns about the “campaign of misinformation” regarding lean, finely textured beef (LFTB), known as pink slime, promulgated by “a few overzealous individuals of the media.”

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In their letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the representatives inquired about the steps USDA, specifically the Food Safety Inspection Service, took to educate consumers about LFTB. 

“Given the tremendous amount of simply incorrect information that has been released to the public about LFTB, it is no surprise that some consumers have begun to question the quality of this product,” states the letter. 

The letter noted the reputation of companies that produce LFTB, particularly Beef Products Incorporated (BPI), is unduly harmed. However, it emphasized BPI as a leader in food safety creating innovative ways to produce safer and healthier foods. The letter also said the controversy over LFTB may cause the cost of beef to rise, negatively affecting American consumers as well as producers. 

"Misleading propaganda has plagued the marketplace and is adversely affecting the beef industry," said Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, in a statement. "I hope that Secretary Vilsack will take steps to correct this media driven smear campaign. This issue impacts every American who buys beef; and they deserve an answer from the Secretary."

The following Congress members signed the letter to Vilsack: 

Steve King (R-IA) Leonard Boswell (IA-03), Tim Huelskamp (KS-01), Mike Ross (AR-04), Vicky Hartzler (MO-04), Jim Costa (CA-20), Tom Latham (IA-04), Dan Boren (OK-02), Adrian Smith (NE-03), Thomas Rooney (FL-16), Lynn Jenkins (KS- 02), Mac Thornberry (TX-13), Larry Buschon (IN-08), Kristi Noem (SD-At Large), Kay Granger (TX-12), Michael K. Conaway (TX-11), Mike Pompeo (KS-04), Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-09), Sam Graves (MO-06), Tom Graves (GA-09), Francisco Canseco (TX-2 3), John R. Carter (TX-31), Billy Long (MO-07), Steve Womack (AR-03), Renee Ellmers (NC-02), Randy Neugebauer (TX-19), Joe Barton (TX-06), Robert Schilling (IL-17), Mike Simpson (ID-02), and Bill Johnson (OH-6)

The letter is available here


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