Effective last Wednesday, all USDA products made with ground beef – including hamburgers, tacos, and Salisbury steak – have temporarily been stricken from BPS menus.  In total, BPS has set aside about 62,000 pounds of USDA ground beef products,  awaiting information from the Federal Government as to whether these products containing Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB or “Pink Slime.”)  Any products found to contain LFTB will be discarded or donated, while LFTB free products will be returned to cafeterias for use.  Tracing and identifying meat containing LFTB is complicated because the Federal Government does not require any labelling indicating LFTB presence. 

New Director of Food & Nutrition Services, Michael Peck, was quoted in Friday’s Boston Globe questioning USDA food standards:  “It’s yet another form of the adulteration of food products in our food supply.  I am sure that it is considered generally safe, but I think we need to hold the USDA to a higher standard than ‘generally safe’ when, in fact, this product has been eliminated from many retail segments . . . because they felt it didn’t meet a high enough standard.’’

The USDA announced this week, amidst media attention and public criticism of “pink slime,” that next year, school districts across the coutnry will be able to choose beef products which do not contain LFTB.  That said, the USDA maintains all products purchased for the school lunch program that are safe, nutritious, and affordable, including  products containing LFTB.

Click HERE to read the entire Boston Globe story on this subject.