NCBA President J.D. Alexander says his group is in favor of a probe into what Iowa Governor Terry Branstad is calling a smear campaign against lean finely textured beef and the phrase ‘pink slime’, going on to say he wants a Congressional investigation into how it got started.
“We’d be in favor of a Congressional Hearing and looking into it a little bit more, because there certainly has been some negative ideas with this and the public perception is totally wrong.”
Alexander says LFTB is an entirely safe product – and the smear phrase touched off what he terms a viral spiral that’s gotten out of control. Since the phrase got out – several grocery chains discontinued using the product, some schools quit purchasing it for their school lunch programs and three of four BPI plants that process LFTB suspended operations. Also – on Monday – meat processor AFA foods of California filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy – saying that a sale of its assets is the best way to preserve its company value in light of the recent backlash.
Johanns Criticizes USDA’s Hesitancy on LFTB
Former Secretary of Agriculture and now Nebraska U.S. Senator Mike Johanns criticizes USDA’s handling of the controversy surrounding lean, finely textured beef:
“It had this almost hesitancy from the USDA on that issue and my attitude on that is WHY? We’ve got a product that is safe. We’ve got a product that is lean. It’s a great beef product. Why would there be any hesitancy whatsoever?”
Johanns blames anti-meat activists for creating the controversy:
“There are so many groups out there that are anti-agriculture. They are anti-anything in the food supply from any animal, groups like PETA etc. They are going to use every opportunity they can to distort this and pin a name on it. It is absolutely wrong.”
Mike Johanns – U.S. Senator from Nebraska.
Voluntary Product Labels with LFTB
Responding to the uproar over "pink slime" and seeking to inform consumers, several companies plan to voluntarily label beef products containing Lean Finely Textured Beef.
USDA's Food Safety Information Service does not anticipate any delay for approval, and processors will soon begin incorporating labels into their product packaging.
Farmers Have New Way to Connect Through Social Media
Social media is all the rage these days – and now there's a website especially dedicated to connecting farmers. Growmark has officially unveiled its new ag social networking website – www dot crop nation dot com (www.cropnation.com). Heather Thompson – an Electronic Communications Specialist with the company – explains the goal of the site is to help producers get connected with their neighbors or across the country:
“CropNation is a brand new social network developed just for farmers to be able to talk to one another about their operations, share information and ideas, ask questions and post pictures. It’s all based on a map so when you log on you can see the posts happening right around you. You can see if neighbors are online or check farmers from across the country.”
The goal is to create a ‘virtual’ coffee shop for agricultural producers.