LFTB or “Pink Slime” Returning to Schools

SlimeMore than a year after it was banned from school menus, Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB) is making its way back into the lunchrooms of schools across the nation.  LFTB, which was given the nickname pink slime, was banned during an investigation to determine if the product posed a health risk to consumers.  USD 489 Food Services Director Jessica Calhoun told Hays Post that the phrase “pink slime” isn’t a good description for LFTB.

“The term pink slime is very negative and it does not really indicate what the product is.  It’s just a different form of beef, a finely textured form of beef.  Still 100% beef.  It goes through the same food safety processes at the plants. It’s very safe to feed to children; it’s safe to feed to everyone.  It has the same quality as regular beef.”

She said that the USDA determines what is and is not safe to serve to students, and though they put LFTB on a ban during the investigation, the USDA has ruled that it is safe.  All beef goes through a sanitation process, and LFTB specifically goes through what Calhoun called “an ammonia puff” to rid it of any bacteria.  While the district isn’t specifically requesting for the filler, it’s possible that beef served in area cafeterias could contain it.

Calhoun said that the district bids out for their meat supply every couple months (which is how the district can control their food costs), and it is possible that the winning vendor could have LFTB in their ground beef.  She added that because of the bid process, staff can be specific about what they expect in a product.  The district does not allow any vendors to supply beef with any extenders, binders, additives, water, or vegetable protein, all of which are added into beef to make it cheaper.  LFTB does not fall into those categories, and according to Calhoun is not a cause for concern as it poses no risk to the health or safety of students.

One step the district takes to ensure the nutritional needs of students is met: utilizing choice bars in the cafeterias.  All schools have fruits and vegetables available without portion restrictions (unlike some foods such as proteins and grains which do have portion restrictions based on calorie range).  Calhoun said her staff is good about knowing which fruits and vegetables students at different schools enjoy so they’re more likely to fill up on healthier options, which is something the district is trying to promote.  She believes the district has been and will continue to be successful in its efforts to balance nutrition and budget.

“Every day we strive to provide the kids with the high quality, nutritious, safe food that we can. And the managers do an excellent job of that at the school levels, as do the other staff. Keeping it within the budget is always a challenge, but with our bidding process it makes it so we can control all of those things to the best that we can.”

  • Chris

    This is a very lean type of beef. The process takes away much of the fat.

    • A_citizen_patriot

      Wow Chris, we agree on something.

      • Chris

        I bet if we sat down and talked, we would agree on quite a bit. Hard to get in depth on a message board.

  • Parent of 489 student

    Actually, there ARE portion restrictions. My grade school child told me there was a limit of 4 strawberries at one of the 489 schools. My kids have also told me on a few occasions in years past that they have found a hair in their food and were refused a replacement item. They should also stop this senseless policy of requiring students take items that they know are just going to be thrown away. If you hate green beans and are forced to have a vegetable on your plate, it’s just going to be wasted which makes no economic sense. For all the food waste they could cut out, you could maybe then afford to let the kids have an extra strawberry 😉

    • Parents always want complain

      First off if you knew how the program worked you would realize that the child has to take a fruit, vegetable and protein for it to be considered a reimbursable meal through the state. Yes the children may not like something and they are wasting the product but it is a state regulation that needs to be followed. As for the hair….all employees working in the kitchen at any school is required to wear a hair net for that purpose alone, so it could have been a child’s hair or a lunchroom monitors as well. I would love for a parent that complains about school food to work one day in one of those kitchens….those ladies work hard for little to no pay if they have insurance.

      • Parent of 489 student

        Ok…first off, when my child gets his meal and finds a hair in it, I would want it replaced as I PAID for it, NOT the school. I personally would not eat it if I found a hair in it and I don’t like that my kids have been forced to either pull the hair out and eat it anyway or go without. What are we going to start doing- DNA testing to see who’s hair it is??? Just replace the item for God’s sake. Second….I don’t care how the ‘program’ works. Making them take food they are going to dump in the trash is a waste of my money. And for the kids who get free or reduced meals, it’s a waste of taxpayer money. Some schools have removed themselves from the government food program for such stupid rules, including all these ridiculous calorie restrictions because kids are ‘too fat’ now a days. I’m still paying the same amount, but my kids are getting less to eat. Lastly, how much the ‘ladies’ get paid or if it includes insurance shouldn’t matter when it comes to my kids receiving a quality meal that I’m paying for. Your reasoning says since they don’t get paid well, my kids should put up with an occasional hair or two. I have every right to complain, just like someone would that goes out to eat at a restaurant, pays full price for the meal, has the waitress tell them they have to pick a fruit and vegetable to make it a healthy meal, only gives them half their chicken fried steak as the calorie count has been exceeded, and throws a hair on top to boot.

  • disqus_ODa0i2F348

    Its meat people……….not pink slime…..that’s stupid!

  • Be proactive

    I pack my kids’ lunch so I can dictate how healthy their food is. It’s shameful how unhealthy the school lunch is. It’s no wonder there’s so many kids with obesity,, ADD, ADHD, etc. The processed, genetically modified, chemical-laden foods that are being served to these children should be banned.

    • Chris

      *high-five!* =)

  • donsmokless

    when I was a kid my parents told me to eat what is on your plate or go hungary. school chiefs made liver and onions with mashed potatoes and gravy. best thing I ever had. problem is with parents today. to easy to blame someone else.. parents need to be held responsible for there kids …ps I am grandpaw so don’t judge me ..

    • smokin’ something

      Is Hungary where they use school chiefs instead of chefs? Problems may also lie with lack of proper education.

  • Fire Fox

    That beef is to lean to me. The best lunch I ever had in school was taking a sack lunch that was still better then eating in school.

  • helpmeout

    I know it’s slightly off the subject of the “pink slime”….but I don’t understand how/why lunches are the way they are in the schools here. They send home a menu showing what is for lunch, but then they have choice bars or something and they always have sunbutter as an option and I’m not really sure what else. So, your lunch could be nothing that was even listed. Wouldn’t it cut costs to have your meal, as sent home on the menu, and that is it? If you dislike it enough you bring your sack lunch from home. You don’t have a bunch of waste of other foods. It’s simple, isn’t it?
    If someone could explain why it’s like this, I would really appreciate it.
    I went to school in a smaller town, our lunch was what was on the menu. You could refuse one item. You ate your lunch. You had to check with the lunch monitor before you could leave to make sure you had eaten. And luckily, we had fantastic lunch ladies who made pretty good food.

  • Just Curious

    489 generally does a good job. But did anyone else’s kid come home puking after Wednesday’s cheeseburger pocket thing? Ours did, as did 3 others we know of.