As a follow up to the recently published article on the lean, finely textured beef that has consumers in an uproar, I would like to add the cattlemen’s side of the story.
My husband and I raise more than 1,000 baby calves, mother cows and steers on our farm outside McPherson each year. We care for the animals on our farm during the winter months and send them to pasture for the spring and summer months. Whether on our farm or out to pasture, we always ensure our animals have access to a nutritionally balanced diet that keeps them healthy and strong.
As with any business, our product is our spokesperson. We produce a good product because we want to retain and recruit new customers. My husband and I would never feed our animals anything that wasn’t nutritionally sound and would never slaughter a cow that wasn’t fit for human consumption. We care for our animals and for you – our consumers.
That belief extends to the lean, finely textured beef that has recently made headlines as a product that is somehow unfit for human consumption. It is not a dirty, hidden secrete of the beef industry. It is yet another protein product the industry creates to ensure that everyone has access to safe, affordable protein sources.
The method for creating the textured beef is no different than pulling the remaining beef off of a roast or chicken off a thighbone. The beef is no different than what is in steak or hamburger and it is 90 to 95 percent lean and a good source of 10 essential nutrients including protein, iron, zinc and B vitamins.
Beef companies do sometimes treat the beef to reduce the potential for bacterial contamination. But that’s nothing new. Ammonia is commonly found in hundreds of other foods including baked goods, cheeses, gelatins, chocolate, caramels and puddings.
Lean, finely textured beef has been approved for human consumption and has never been the source of a major food contamination outbreak.
The public reaction to lean finely textured beef has put hundreds of hard working Americans out of work and shuttered entire processing plants.
I commend Kansas Governor Sam Brownback and other leaders for standing up for the beef industry. The industry committed no crime and should not be punished as it had.
As a consumer, if you have a question about your beef products, please ask questions before making assumptions. My husband and I are always willing to speak with weary beef consumers. We will show you exactly what goes into our beef and answer any questions you may have.