The company will begin labeling products with "Contains Finely Textured Beef" before the start of the 2014 grilling season. Cargill Beef has produced USDA-approved finely textured beef since 1993.
The company made the decision based on 18 months of consumer research that showed consumers want the product labeled. Cargill Beef said its research showed consumers want transparency, and beef products containing finely textured beef should be clearly labeled so that consumers can choose whether to buy the product. Cargill Beef said finely textured beef has a role to play in providing affordable food to consumers.
“Our research shows that consumers believe ground beef products containing Finely Textured Beef should be clearly labeled,” said John Keating, Cargill Beef president. “We’ve listened to the public, as well as our customers, and that is why today we are declaring our commitment to labeling Finely Textured Beef.”
The company also found that consumers had positive attitudes about the finely textured beef upon learning the product is 100 percent beef and 95 percent lean. Consumers can find more information and videos about how finely textured beef is made at http://www.groundbeefanswers.com, a website dedicated to the product.
Beef Products Inc. (BPI) was embroiled in controversy over a similar product called lean finely textured beef (LFTB). Media coverage critical of LFTB forced BPI to shutter most of its processing plants, while King of Prussia, Pa.-based AFA Foods, Inc. was forced into bankruptcy.
BPI filed a defamation lawsuit Sept. 13, 2012, against ABC News alleging the network’s news coverage of LFTB misled consumers to believe the company’s product was unhealthy and unsafe.