A coalition of governors is joining forces to support the U.S. beef industry and set the record straight about lean finely textured beef, releasing a statement and conducting a Beef Plant Tour.
Lean finely textured beef is a 100% beef, 95% lean, nutritious, safe, quality and affordable beef product eaten by Americans for 20 years. The production and food safety technologies employed to make lean finely textured beef are USDA-approved, and it is produced in USDA-inspected meat processing facilities.
Govs. Terry Branstad (Iowa); Sam Brownback (Kansas); Lt. Gov. Matt Michels, standing in for South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard, who is on a trade mission in China; Dave Heineman (Nebraska); and Rick Perry (Texas) today jointly issued the following statement:
"Our states proudly produce food for the country and the world -- and we do so with the highest commitment toward product safety. Lean, finely textured beef is a safe, nutritious product that is backed by sound science. It is unfortunate when inaccurate information causes an unnecessary panic among consumers.
"By taking this safe product out of the market, grocery retailers and consumers are allowing media sensationalism to trump sound science. This is a disservice to the beef industry, hundreds of workers who make their livings producing this safe product and consumers as a whole.
"Ultimately, it will be the consumer who pays for taking this safe product out of the market. The price of ground beef will rise as ranchers work to raise as many as 1.5 million more head of cattle to replace safe beef no longer consumed because of the baseless media scare.
"We urge grocery retailers, consumers and members of the media to seek the facts behind lean finely textured beef. Science supports keeping the lean beef product on grocery store shelves for the benefit of American agriculture and consumers alike."
Already, more than 650 workers in Kansas, Texas and Iowa have been temporarily laid off. According to the National Meat Association, as many as 3,000 American jobs will be affected when suppliers are also factored in.
A coalition of governors and state leaders will conduct a Beef Plant Tour at BPI in South Sioux City, Neb. facility, Thursday, March 29. A full list of participants will be available tomorrow.
Four members of the media will accompany the governors on their Beef Plant Tour and pool their coverage. For broadcast, CNN will be the pool and will provide onsite HD playback of plant video after the press conference. Details for print media will be available onsite.
A news conference at the Marina Inn Conference Center (385 East 4th St., South Sioux City, NE 68776) will follow the tour for all interested media and will begin at approximately 2:30 p.m.