The nations two largest beef packers, Tyson Foods and Cargill Meat Solutions confirmed with The City Wire, they have asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to approve new labels for ground beef products containing lean fined textured beef trimmings also known as (LFTB).
While Tyson doesn't make LFTB, but rather buys it from other suppliers, the company said it wants to continue offering products that contain the lean beef filler for the customers who want it.
Walmart has said it will provide its customers with a choice and plans to offer beef with and without LFTB. Walmart is a major customer of Tyson Foods Inc.. accounting for 13.3% or $4.3 billion of the meat giant's total annual revenue in 2011, according to annual filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Cargill Meat Solutions- based in Wichita, Kan., does produce LFTB in three of its meat slaughter facilities. Like Tyson, the company wants to have products available for those customers who request it.
USDA said earlier this week it would approve requests by ground beef product makers to voluntarily label their products that contain lean finely textured beef (LFTB) or similar products that have been the focus of media and social media reporting that has frightened consumers.
USDA spokesman Aaron Lavallee said several companies have voluntarily asked for product labels that will allow them to clarify the use of LFTB. He said the USDA will approve these requests so these companies can continue to provide a lean, safe and nutritious product to an informed customer base.