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Setting the Record Straight on Beef

Posted by Dr. Elisabeth Hagen, Under Secretary for Food Safety in Health and Safety
Feb 21, 2017

As the head of USDA’s public health agency, I am responsible for ensuring that the nation's commercial supply of meat, poultry, and egg products is safe for American families. I approach this role not only as a food safety expert and a physician, but also as a mother. And I want to address the national conversation over the last few weeks about the safety of Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB).

I believe it is important to distinguish people’s concerns about how their food is made from their concerns about food safety. The process used to produce LFTB is safe and has been used for a very long time.  And adding LFTB to ground beef does not make that ground beef any less safe to consume. 

We are lucky to live in a country with strong food safety standards. I certainly understand that there are processes and methods in food production that may be troublesome to some, regardless of their impacts on food safety.   Choosing what food to serve at your kitchen table is a very personal decision, and thankfully we have many choices at the grocery store that fit a variety of budgets.  We hope that we can continue to engage with the American consumer on the steps USDA takes every day to make sure the meat they buy is safe to eat.

Portrait of Dr. Elisabeth Hagen, Undersecretary for Food Safety and Inspection Service. USDA Photo by Ken Hammond.
Portrait of Dr. Elisabeth Hagen, Undersecretary for Food Safety and Inspection Service. USDA Photo by Ken Hammond.
Category/Topic: Health and Safety