WASHINGTON – Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad held a press conference March 28 to defend the use of lean finely textured beef in the US food supply.

The news conference comes ahead of planned tour of the remaining Beef Products Inc. plant where LFTB is produced. A coalition of governors will tour the plant in South Sioux City, Neb. along with local, state and national media with the goal of restoring public confidence in LFTB and BPI’s patented process used to make it.

Vilsack reaffirmed that LFTB is safe, and that USDA has no intentions to ban the product. He encouraged consumers and grocery chains to make a choice based on science. At least one grocery chain is listening.
The Hy-Vee grocery chain has changed its position on lean finely textured beef, saying the store would use signs to identify products containing LFTB and include them in meat cases along with beef that does not include LFTB.

“Following our recent decision to stop purchasing ground beef containing Lean Finely Textured Beef, we heard from many customers who asked us to continue carrying this product,” the company said in a statement. “They’ve sent us a clear message: They want a choice when it comes to ground beef, and they want to support companies that provide thousands of jobs in our Midwest trade area.

“In response to this feedback, Hy-Vee has made a decision to offer both kinds of ground beef – both with and without Lean Finely Textured Beef,” the company said.

Hy-Vee operates 235 retail stores in eight Midwestern states.