The list of grocers saying they will not purchase or carry ground beef containing lean finely textured beef (LFTB) continues to grow.
In addition to Safeway, Supervalu, The Kroger Co., Publix, H-E-B, Whole Foods and Costco who made announcements earlier this week about cutting the product from their counters, others like United Supermarkets, Hy-Vee, BI-LO/Winn-Dixie, Brookshire Grocery Co., Piggly Wiggly Midwest, Meijer, Giant/Eagle and Lincoln, Neb.-based B&R are saying they also will drop beef containing LFTB (at latest report).
What is LFTB?
Producers of LFTB start with beef trim. This is the “waste” meat and fat that results from trimming higher quality beef cuts (such as steaks) to customer specifications, and is usually used to make ground beef, according to Food Safety News.
The LFTB process begins by separating most of the fat from the beef. This is done by warming the trim and “spinning out” the fat in centrifuges. The result is a very lean beef: approximately 94 to 97 percent lean, according to Beef Products Inc. This lean beef can be mixed with higher-fat beef in order to produce low-fat ground beef and processed meat products.
But beef trim is notorious for carrying pathogenic bacteria—especially, E. coli O157:H7 and its close cousins, the non-O157 STEC bacteria. So Beef Products Inc. developed an ammonia gas treatment step to kill the microbes, the News reports.