By Bill Robinson
Senior News Writer
MADISON COUNTY —
Unappetizing accounts of a processed beef product labeled “pink slime” by some critics recently became a sensation on the Internet. However, you will not find any in the food served by the Madison County Schools, officials say.
What the critics call pink slime, the industry regards as “lean, finely textured beef” or LFTB.
When fat is trimmed from steaks and roasts to create leaner products, thin shavings of meat also are removed. After this “real beef” is separated from the fat, it may then be added back to ground beef products, according to a statement from the Kentucky Beef Council. The product is “a concentrated, lean source of protein,” it asserts.
Regardless of the beef council’s defense of LFTB, the county schools have no record of ever ordering any, said Erin Stewart, school district spokesperson. Even the prepackaged beef patties school cafeterias serve contain no LFTB, she said.
The schools obtain beef from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s commodity program, according to Emily Agee, the district’s food-service director.
After news accounts of “pink slime” prompted inquiries from parents, Agee said she asked the state agriculture department procurement specialist who serves Madison County about the product.
He has tracked the beef served in school cafeterias to its source and assured her it contains no LFTB, Agee said in a statement released by Stewart.
“This district has placed a very high level of importance on good nutritional standards, and we pride ourselves on using only high-quality products in our cafeterias,” Agee said.
“In fact, this year, the district entered into a partnership with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation to help our schools focus even more on health and wellness for our students and staff,” she said.
One benefit of the partnership is access to the alliance’s nutritional calculator, Agee said.
“This tool helps our cafeteria managers ensure they are providing good quality foods to our students and staff — foods that adhere to a strict nutritional guideline.”
Bill Robinson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 624-6622.