CHICAGO – US meat packers have seen near-record losses because of the controversy over lean, finely textured beef, according to a report from Reuters.

Margins for meat packers have been declining for several months as consumers began to push back against high prices at retail in order to cope with rising gas prices. In response, processors have reduced slaughter rates in an effort to maintain beef prices.

But public backlash over LFTB, which caused many retailers to drop ground beef containing LFTB, accelerated the drop in prices for cattle in the futures and cash markets, according to Reuters. According to HedgersEdge, packer margin losses totaled $101 per head.