Georgia Department of Agriculture

GMIS Fact Sheet: Lean Finely Textured Beef

Lean Finely Textured Beef, what is it?

  • The product is the result of a mechanical food process, which recovers small particles of lean muscle from fatty trim that would otherwise be unrecoverable without a highly labor-intensive manual process
  • The process used to recover this product was approved several years ago by USDA/FSIS; the finished product is used by many federal establishments at varying percentages of mixture
  • LFTB products prevent the waste of valuable, lean, nutritious and safe beef by using technology to do what hands cannot

How does Georgia oversee ground meat processing?

  • In order for Georgia to maintain a state meat inspection program, we must have a program that is deemed “equal to” the FSIS program
  • FSIS reviews nine different program components annually to assure our program compliance; Meat Inspection regulations are one of those nine components and must be “equal to” the federal regulations
  • Georgia Meat Inspection Section (GMIS) regulations pertaining to product standards of identity or composition was adopted from the Code of Federal Regulations and is identical to federal standards

True or False?

  • Beef products are currently labeled to denote the use of LFTB. FALSE - Because it is 100 percent beef, LFTB is not singled out as a separate ingredient on labels.
  • There is no data to support that the LFTB process makes our food safer. FALSE – The number of USDA ground beef samples testing positive for E. coli dropped 55 percent from 2000 and 2010; LFTB products have been part of that success.
  • LFTB benefits ground beef production by creating higher yields of product per carcass. TRUE – If LFTB were eliminated, it would require approximately 1.5 million additional head of cattle to fill the ground beef gap that would be created; this at a time when cattle numbers in the U.S. have declined 2 percent in the past year and are at the lowest level since 1952.
  • Ammonium hydroxide is used as a processing aid in LFTB products. TRUE - Food grade ammonium hydroxide (basically ammonia and water) is used in a number of products and can be used in the processing of beef, which helps control any harmful bacteria that may be present.

For a USDA Fact Sheet about LFTB, visit:
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