Thursday, April 05, 2012

'Pink slime' mess getting worse for beef industry

The public uproar about lean finely textured beef, dubbed "pink slime," has caused beef processing companies to close plants, lay off workers and in one case, file for bankruptcy. It's clearly caused an economic impact on the beef industry, and as Ken Anderson of Brownfield Ag News reports, that impact may be worse than initially thought.

CattleFax's Kevin Good estimates the controversy is costing U.S. cattle producers $15 to $20 per head in lost value, Anderson reports. Good also said that if lean finely textured beef isn't used in the U.S., customers will pay higher prices for ground beef. Oklahoma State University livestock market economist Derrell Peel told Anderson the fall of pink slime could mean the end of the dollar menu in fast food chain restaurants, and increase imports of ground beef. (Read more)

In response to requests from beef processing companies, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will now allow companies to label meat that contains lean finely textured beef, telling them the processed product is in the meat they may buy, Bob Meyer of Brownfield reports. "The idea is the labeling would allow companies to continue to provide the beef to an informed consumer," Meyer reports.

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