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      Cargill To Label Finely Textured Beef Products

      Food giant Cargill says it will start labeling meat that contains Finely Textured Beef. Cargill's product is similar to Lean Finely Textured Beef, which is produced by Dakota Dunes-based Beef Products Incorporated.

      In a series of reports in 2012, ABC News referred to LFTB as "Pink Slime." BPI claims that negative attention led to the closing of three plants.

      But the negative attention given to LFTB didn't just affect BPI. Cargill says it was also a big factor in the February closing of a 21-hundred employee beef plant in Plainview, Texas.

      "The main reason for doing it was the drought depleted cattle supple but a significant contributing factor was that the finely textured beef that had been produced there, that volume went away and the revenue stream from that went away," said Mike Martin, Spokesperson for Cargill Inc.

      Martin says Cargill saw an 80% decrease in the volume of Finely Textured Beef last year during the media frenzy surrounding the products.

      "Retailers we're being questioned by consumers and advocacy groups and activists about the use of this product in ground beef," he said.

      But even still, Cargill stuck by the product. Why? Because it says FTB is far too valuable to stop using and the consumer would see a hike in price when they go to buy meat.

      So Cargill set out on a mission, to ask consumers what the company needed to do to keep their loyalty and keep them buying their beef products. The answer Cargill got was pretty simple.

      "We did our homework and we did that in the form of consumer input that came from focus groups and from surveys that we conducted over the last year or so, we ultimately got feedback from more than 3000 consumers who are purchasers of ground beef. Overwhelming they told us, we just want it labeled. We just want to know its part of our ground beef," he said.

      And BPI seems to think that honesty is the way to go. In a statement to Siouxland News, BPI says, "Since as early as April 2012, we have publicly supported the USDA's decision to allow companies to voluntarily include information on their packaging regarding LFTB. We support transparency and want all consumers to have confidence in their ground beef choices."

      The new labels will start appearing next spring.

      Hleigh@siouxlandnews.com

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