A coalition of governors is joining forces to support the U.S. beef industry and set the record straight about lean finely textured beef, they said in a joint statement. Govs. Terry Branstad (Iowa); Sam Brownback (Kansas); Lt. Gov. Matt Michels, standing in for South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard, who is on a trade mission in China; Dave Heineman (Nebraska); and Rick Perry (Texas) are conducting a tour at Beef Products, Inc. tomorrow, Thursday, March 29, at the South Sioux City, Neb. facility.
The governors issued the following joint statement:
"Our states proudly produce food for the country and the world – and we do so with the highest commitment toward product safety. Lean, finely textured beef is a safe, nutritious product that is backed by sound science. It is unfortunate when inaccurate information causes an unnecessary panic among consumers.
"By taking this safe product out of the market, grocery retailers and consumers are allowing media sensationalism to trump sound science. This is a disservice to the beef industry, hundreds of workers who make their livings producing this safe product and consumers as a whole.
"Ultimately, it will be the consumer who pays for taking this safe product out of the market. The price of ground beef will rise as ranchers work to raise as many as 1.5 million more head of cattle to replace safe beef no longer consumed because of the baseless media scare.
"We urge grocery retailers, consumers and members of the media to seek the facts behind lean finely textured beef. Science supports keeping the lean beef product on grocery store shelves for the benefit of American agriculture and consumers alike."
Gov. Branstad and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack will hold a joint press conference on the top of lean finely textured beef in Des Moines, Iowa, at 3 p.m., CT.